RZESZÓW is the largest city of south-eastern Poland, the capital of Podkarpackie Province and the center of the Rzeszów Metropolitan Area. The city is a seat of local government and province authorities, governmental and judicial institutions. It constitutes the economic, academic, cultural and recreational center of south-eastern Poland. It serves as an important center for aerospace, IT, chemical, commercial, construction and service industries.
The history of the city dates back to the year 1354, when Casmir III the Great granted Rzeszów city rights. An unique complex of underground cellars and corridors, – The Underground Tourist Route “Rzeszów cellars” (length: 369 meters) is one of the greatest attractions of Rzeszów. Network of underground corridors was being built for years by the inhabitants of Rzeszów. It served them as shops, storages, and finally – during wars and cataclysms – as a shelter. You can find there the relics of medieval walls, signs of fire, remains of iron bars and hinges, few hundred’s years old hand shaped bricks, hidden passages. The City Hall -the most prominent building in the Market Square complements historical attractions of the city.
Rzeszów is a city of an innovative and perfectly prepared social space, corresponding to the work of modern and entrepreneurial community. We are one of the most dynamically developing urban agglomerations in Poland. The city is systematically expanding its administrative boundaries and attracts new inhabitants – mainly young people. Currently, over 200,000 people live in Rzeszów. The intellectual potential of the inhabitants, strong links with the aviation and IT industry, make Rzeszów dynamically develop high technologies. Rzeszów is a place highly valued by the inhabitants in terms of the quality of life. They openly admit that it is a clean, safe, comfortable city, ensuring life stability and satisfaction with the possibility of personal development and comfortable. Cycling sports enthusiasts can enjoy over 120 km of cycling routes run along major city thoroughfares and in parks and nearby forests. In the city there are electric bikes and scooters available for the citizens. It is an offer of fast and ecological transport which works well in crowded cities. It is also a great option for visitors to explore the city. Concept of bike and scooter sharing has a number of benefits. At residents disposal are modern, electric vehicles.
The aesthetics of Rzeszów additionally emphasize modern and original objects, such as the Round Footbridge for Pedestrians, the Multimedia Fountain and the Bernardine Gardens with an underground parking space, what makes both of them functional and recreational.
Rzeszów is easily accessible, thanks to the A4 highway (east-west) and S19 express-way (north-south). These routes enables to reach Western Europe as well as the Ukrainian border (border crossing in Korczowa) and Slovakia (border crossing in Barwinek) – both in vicinity a 100 km from Rzeszów.
The city of Rzeszów encourages entrepreneurs to invest in the capital of Podkarpacie, offering attractive investment areas located in the north-western part of Rzeszów, covered by the Rzeszów-Dworzysko Economic Activity Zone. The attractiveness of the discussed areas results primarily from the excellent location as well as the use of modern communication solutions.
KEY ACTIVITIES OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF RZESZÓW DURING THE REFUGEE SITUATION
- Organising and managing the first response center at the railway station which is open 24/7. So far over 1.5 million refugees went through this point.
The station has been the most important part of the whole operation since Feb 24th. All the people who rode on trains or buses stopped in Rzeszów. At the beginning most of them got off here and were taken care of by the volunteers. The main points at the station include:
- Mother and baby room where mothers can breastfeed their babies, have a nap, change diapers etc.;
- First aid point where doctors and student doctors, nurses and midwives provide first aid to the refugees;
- Kids corner where children can play and draw;
- Canteen where hot food and beverages are distributed (2300 sandwiches and 1000 litres of soup were served daily during the first three weeks)
- Basic hygenic products and food distribution point – where the refugees are supplied with most necessary items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, water, pads etc.
- Temporary dormitory, esp. for mothers and children where they can sleep for several hours and also get some clean clothes and shoes;
- Free Polish SIM cards distribution point
- The railway station is equipped with displays showing the timetable in both Polish and Ukrainian, there are also Ukrainian announcements.
- As per the disease prevention there are two large air purifiers at the station.
Since its establishment on 24th Feb the railway station refugee center has been managed and manned by the volunteers recruiting from the municipality of Rzeszów and the residents of the city.
Refugees who decided to get off in Rzeszów are relocated to the destinations in the north and west of Poland, including Wieliczka, Tarnów, Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań and Szczecin. These relocations were also managed by the municipality.
- Humanitarian aid distribution hub – established in the sports hall in the center of the city. It has been a place where the donations from residents and cities from all around the world came and then were sent further. Since the beginning, over 150 18-wheelers with humanitarian aid were sent to Ukraine from there. The international donations included the ones from: US, UK, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and many others. The hub is open 24/7 and is managed and manned by volunteers from the municipality and the residents. Among the Ukrainian cities which received relief are: Lviv, Truskavets, Lutsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chmielnitskyi, Rivne, Harkiv, Kiev, Mikoyaliv.
They got food, medical supplies, tactical gear, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, power generators etc.
- Rzeszów Cultural Centers – located in 17 locations all around the city, they were the collection points for humanitarian donations from the residents. They collected over 240 tons of goods which were later either sent to Ukraine or used on the spot to help the refugees.
- Temporary refugee center located in a converted shopping mall (Full Market) – managed by the Foundation Medyk dla Zdrowia with the help of the municipality. The capacity of the center is 500 people, there are ca. 350 refugees there on a daily basis. They stay up to two nights and then move on. So far over 100 thousand refugees were provided with temporary accommodation in this center.
- Regsitration point (PESEL numbers issuing) – established by the city, managed by the city with the help of volunteers and volunteer translators. So far ca.7 500 refugees registered there.
- Rzeszów municipal schools – over 1 500 Ukrainian children enrolled so far.
- Number of municipality employees engaged in the management of the refugee situation: 380
- Number of volunteers at all relief points: ca. 1000
- Number of volunteers at all relief points on a daily basis: ca. 300