View on Złotoryja from Wilcza Góra
View on Złotoryja from Wilcza Góra
Flag of Złotoryja
Coat of arms of Złotoryja
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Stolica Polskiego Złota
Capital of Polish Gold
Złotoryja is located in Poland
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
County Złotoryja County
Gmina Złotoryja (urban gmina)
Established 12th century
Town rights 1211
 • Mayor Robert Pawłowski
 • Total 11.51 km2 (4.44 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Total 16,503
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 59-500 to 59-501
Area code(s) +48 76
Car plates DZL
Website http://www.zlotoryja.pl

Złotoryja (German: Goldberg, Latin: Aureus Mons, Aurum) is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship of southwestern Poland. It is located in the Kaczawa river valley, close to Legnica. It is the seat of Złotoryja County, and of the smaller district of Gmina Złotoryja (although it is not part of the territory of the latter, since the town is a gmina in its own right).

Since the Middle Ages the town was a centre of gold and copper mining. Currently it has approximately 16,000 inhabitants and is one of the important centres of basalt mining.


  • Town's name 1
  • Coat of arms and flag 2
  • History 3
  • Main sights 4
  • Famous people from Zlotoryja 5
  • International relations 6
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 6.1
  • External links 7

Town's name

During its long existence Złotoryja was referred to by various names. Since the Middle Ages it was referred to as either Aurum (Latin for "gold"), Aureus Mons ("Golden Mountain"), Goldberg (German for "Golden Mountain") or by its Polish name. Złotoryja in Polish literally means "gold-digging".

Town centre

Coat of arms and flag

The Coat of Arms features a black Silesian eagle of the Piast dynasty standing over three green hills, with the golden background. Its heraldic blazon is "Or, an eagle displayed sable on a base three-invected vert". It has been used since the 15th century.

The Flag features both of the heraldic colours of the Coat of Arms. It consists of two stripes: golden (yellow) above green.


In late 12th century and early 13th century a small settlement of gold miners was founded on the slopes of Mount St. Nicholas (Góra św. Mikołaja), at the shores of the Kaczawa river. The village grew rapidly and in 1211 it was named Aurum and located on the Magdeburg law by Duke Henry I the Bearded as the first city in Silesia. The local golden ore deposits were rich and the town attracted both miners and gold washers from all the nearby areas. In the 13th century a Hospitaller and Franciscan monasteries were founded in the town, which thus became one of the important cultural and religious centres of the region. In 1241 many of the miners took part in the Battle of Legnica, where most of them died, but the mining quickly recovered.

The town was attached to the Duchy of Legnica in 1248 and in 1290 was granted with a privilege to trade salt, one of the most expensive and valuable minerals in the Middle Ages. In 1329 the whole Duchy of Legnica became a fief of the Imperial Kingdom of Bohemia, yet it retained its local self-government. During the Hussite Wars the town was captured by the Hussite forces in 1427, 1428 and 1431. It was severely pillaged, but it quickly recovered and the local city council decided to build city walls in order to spare the city such troubles in the future. Much of the mediaeval fortifications is preserved until today.

Although by early 15th century most of the gold deposits were depleted, the town started to gain significant income from the nearby Via Regia road linking Breslau (Wrocław) with Leipzig. A brewery and several weavers shops were opened soon afterwards. In 1504 a school was opened by Hieronymus Aurimontanus. In 1522 the first Protestant priests arrived and soon afterwards the school was turned into a Latin, humanistic gymnasium, the first in Silesia. One of its rectors, Valentin Trozendorf, wanted to turn it into a university and these plans were approved by Duke Frederick II of Legnica; however the prince died soon afterwards and the town was struck by a severe fire in 1554, which made the plans obsolete.

In 1526 the town together with the rest of Bohemian Silesia was inherited by the Austrian House of Habsburg. Goldberg continued to prosper until 1608, when the prosperity was stopped by a major flood that killed approx. 50 of the inhabitants and damaged large part of the city. Five years later, in 1613 the town yet again was struck by great fire that destroyed 571 houses.

During the Thirty Years' War Goldberg changed hands several times and suffered especially in 1633, when Albrecht von Wallenstein, a former pupil of the gymnasium, beleaguered the city. After that Goldberg needed almost 100 years to recover. In 1742 it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia and in 1871 became part of the newly formed German Empire. During the Napoleonic Wars, on August 26, 1813, the armies of French marshal Macdonald was defeated near the town by the forces of Prussian general von Blücher.

At the end of 19th century the town started to recover after almost 200 years of crisis. In 1862 the town of Silberberg was connected with Berlin by a telegraph. In 1884 the town was connected to Liegnitz (Legnica) by a rail road and by 1906 two additional lines were opened: to Świerzawa and Chojnów. In 1900 the first telephone line was started. At the same time various companies tried to recover the gold mining in and around the city, but the plans were soon abandoned. Instead the copper ore mines were opened, but they faced serious financial difficulties by the end of the 1920s. During the 1933 Reichstag elections about 25% of the inhabitants backed the Nazi Party.

The town survived the World War II almost untouched. In 1945 it was captured by the forces of the Red Army 2nd Ukrainian Front under Ivan Konev. Following the decisions of the Potsdam conference it was transferred to Poland and renamed by Poles to Złotoryja. By 1949 most of local German inhabitants either fled or were expelled with their whole families and had to leave all their possession behind, forced by the military occupying power Russia and Poland. A large number of them were admeasured to refugee camps and settled later, mostly in the federal state Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany.

In the nearby villages of Wilków and Nowy Kościół two important copper mines were founded and a large number of local engineers also participated in the development of the industrial region of Legnica. However, in the early 1970s the mines were closed down because ore deposits of much higher quality were found around Lubin.

Many factories were founded, including a shoe factory, Christmas tree ornaments factory and a basalt mine. Since 1989 the town of Złotoryja started to look for its past. The historical old town was restored and the traditions of gold mining were started. In 1992 a local Polish Guild of Gold Prospectors was started, which ever since organises the Polish Gold Panning Championships. In 2000 World Championships were held there.

Currently the town is one of the main tourist centres of the area. The heavy industry is also playing an important part in the development of the area. The local quarries are ones of the most profitable in Poland and the Christmas tree ornaments factory is exporting millions of ornaments every year, mostly to Western Europe and the United States.

Main sights

  • 14th century city walls
    • Blacksmiths Tower (Baszta Kowalska)
  • St. Mary's Church
  • St. Hedwig's Church
  • Holy Cross Church (commonly referred to as St. Nicholas's Church)
  • Fountains
  • Gold Mining Museum, formerly the "Muzeum Złota w Złotoryi" ("Złotoryja's Gold Museum") now the "Muzeum Społeczne Ziemi Złotoryjskiej" ("Museum of the Złotoryja Land Society")
  • Wilcza Góra reserve

Famous people from Zlotoryja

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Złotoryja is twinned with:

External links

  • Silberberg on 1600 map of Germany
  • Silberberg in Duchy Monsterberg, Silesia on 1600 map
  • Official Website of Złotoryja
  • Polish Guild of Gold Prospectors
  • Virtual Złotoryja project
    • download