population: 175.402 (state on the 31.12.2009)
The capital of Podbeskidzie is located in the south of Upper Silesia province. Its geographical location is the greatest advantage of Podbeskidzie region. Situated along major transit routes connecting northern and southern Europe, it lies in an almost equal distance to Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Wien and Budapest. In Bielsko-Biała the major international routes cross with each other: Cracow-Cieszyn-Wien and Gdansk-Katowice-Cieszyn.
The town of Cieszyn, connecting Czech Republic and Poland remains one of the most important and most visited border-towns. Every year, estimated 25 million people and 3.6 million vehicles, most of which are cargo vehicles, crosses Polish border in Cieszyn.
Podbeskidzie along with the adjoining regions of Ziliny (Slovakia) and Frydek-Mistek district (Czech Republic) form the so called Beskidy Euro region. This enterprise is an important element in economic cooperation of the neighbouring countries.
It is easy to get here, because it is in Bielsko-Biała, where a minor airport, suitable for the landing of small airplanes is located, while international airports in Cracow, Katowice and Ostrava are within one and a half hour drive. Its geographic position, particularly beneficial economic conditions as well as politics of local authorities, favourable to region’s development, have attracted many foreign investors. Among the biggest are: FIAT, GENERAL MOTORS, GENERAL ELETTRIC, PHILIPS, TEKSID, KLINGSPORT.
Foundation of such considerable economic entities entails the influx of many potential customers, which favours the development of big shopping centres, such as AUCHAN, CARREFOUR, TESCO, CASTORAMA, REAL and LEROY MERLIN.
The most distinct sign of Bielsko-Biała’s thrive is the foundation and development of a new SFERA shopping centre, covering a total area of 132.000 sq. m, that includes 250 shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants, language school, bank offices, post office, fitness club and entertainment centres.