Untouched by war, Gliwice (200,000 inhabitants) has largely managed to maintain its medieval urban arrangement. The town hall dating from mid-16th century is surrounded by numerous Baroque and neoclassical buildings. The castle of Piast Princes has been now turned into a Museum of Upper Silesia, including archaeological and ethnographical sections.

Gliwice was first mentioned as a town in 1276 and was ruled during the Middle Ages by the Silesian Piast dukes. It became a possession of the Bohemia crown in 1335, passing with that crown to the Austrian Habsburgs in 1526.

Early Modern Age
Because of the vast expenses incurred by the Habsburg Monarchy during their 16th century wars against the Ottoman Empire, Gliwice was leased to Friedrich Zettritz for the meager amount of 14,000 thalers. Although the original lease was for a duration of 18 years, it was renewed in 1580 for 10 years and in 1589 for an additional 18 years.

During the Silesian Wars fought from 1740- 1746 and then again from 1757-1763, Gliwice was taken from Austria by the Kingdom of Prussia along with the majority of Silesia. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Gleiwitz was administered in the Prussian Tost-Gleiwitz Landkreis (“district”) in 1816. The city was incorporated with Prussia into the German Empire in 1871. In 1897 Gleiwitz became its own Stadtkreis, or urban district.