an administrative unit in southern Poland, in the upper Oder basin. Area, 9,600 sq km. Population, 1.1 million (1973), of whom 45 percent are urban dwellers. The administrative center is Opole. Most of the województwo lies in the Silesian Lowland; in the southwest are the foothills of the Sudetes.
The województwo’s economy is primarily industrial. Of the 156,000 persons employed in industry in 1973, approximately one-third worked in the machine-building and metalworking industries. Chemical equipment and automobiles are manufactured at Nysa, steam boilers at Raciborz, machine tools at Kuźnia Raciborska, electric motors at Brzeg, agricultural machinery at Strzelce Opolskie and Brzeg, river boats at Koźle, castings at Ozimek, and hoisting cranes at Kluczbork. Other important industries include the organic synthesis and coke-oven industries (Blachownia) and the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizers (Kçdzierzyn), coke (Zdzieszowice), cement (Opole, Strzelce Opolskie), shoes (Krapkowice); and cotton fabrics (Prudnik). Food-processing, particularly sugar refining, and woodworking are also well developed.
Forests, chiefly of pine, cover about 26 percent of the województwo’s area, and arable land occupies about 52 percent of its territory. Agriculture is well developed. Sugar beets and wheat are grown on the fertile land along the left bank of the Oder, and rye and potatoes are the chief crops on the right bank. In 1973 the województwo had 452,000 head of cattle, 678,000 hogs, and 58,000 horses. The Oder River and the Gliwice Canal are used for shipping.