A few miles north of the center of Żory we can
encounter a brick tower of the steel plant
“Waleska”. It is located within the protected area
of the Landscape Park of the Cistercian
Landscape Compositions of Rudy Wielkie. This
brick tower was once used to pull manually a
significant amount of raw materials up to a
considerable height in order to charge the
adjacent blast furnace with them. The plant
operated here in the first half of the nineteenth
century, and its name derives from the daughter
of the owner - Franz Winckler.
The old Catholic cemetery in Żory is located in the vicinity of the parish church of Saints Philip and James. For centuries, the deceased were buried beneath the church walls, and only in the first half of the nineteenth century, the cemetery was moved – although not far away, but outside the town fortifications. On the cemetery, there are old gravestones with German and Polish inscriptions, as well as a stone conciliation cross, which was moved here from Rybnik Street.
The church of the Holy Apostles Philip and James in Żory is a special symbol of the spiritual life of the town. The building has a remarkable history of the building. It often fell victim to disasters and was rebuilt. The church was destroyed by fires and it was struck by lightning. Its ceiling and tower fell down. The church was also destroyed during the last war. In the shrine, which suffered so much from disasters, special veneration surrounds the benevolent image of Our Lady of Mercy, known as Our Lady of Żory.
Żory became a town thanks to the decision of Duke Ladislaus of Opole and Racibórz in 1272. Soon, the characteristic medieval urban layout was formed. It had spindle-shaped walls within which there was a rectangular square with a town hall and a nearby parish church. On opposite sides of the town, there were gateways leading to Kraków and Cieszyn. Traces of the traditional layout of the town have been preserved to this day.