A favourite destination of both nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts, Opole is one of Poland’s warmest regions, especially in the Oder River valley. One of the smallest and least populated voivodeships, a quarter of its land area is covered by forests. Some of these forests are the country’s biggest: the Lubliniec forest, Niemodlin Woods, Racibórz Forest and Stobrawa Woods. The terrain is dominated by the Opawskie Mountains near the Czech border, the Oder River which runs through the middle of the land, and the massive lakes of Otmuchowskie, Nyskie and Turawskie. Hiking, biking, swimming and other water sports are some of the recreational pursuits popular in Opole.
The provincial economy thrives largely on agricultural and industrial activities. Its natural abundance is reflected in its high farming output, with two-thirds of its land devoted to agriculture. It is also rich in basalt, limestone and marble. Among its important industries are cement manufacturing, food processing, furniture making and car manufacturing. It enjoys a wide transportation network, with railway links to other major cities in Poland, as well as several major cities in Germany and Ukraine, and it operates two river ports.
One third of the current population is of German lineage, and the local culture, dialect and food are a fusion of Czech, German and Polish traditions.
The city of Opole is a vibrant cultural centre, the site of such events as the National Venue of Festival Song very year, the International Percussion Festival and the International Poet Invasion. It has its own orchestra, the Józef Elsner Opole Philharmonic, and its own theatre. The city also has the most number of schools in the province.
Opole has a zoo, an Art Nouveau bridge, and some museums.