Rzeszów is an economic, scientific and cultural centre of south-eastern Poland, the capital of the Podkarpackie Province and the seat of the Authorities of the Catholic Diocese. With an area of 115,80 Sq. km. and population of about 180,000 it is one of the largest cities in this region. The proximity to the southern and eastern frontiers makes Rzeszów an important communication centre. The following highways meet here: the E-40 interstate highway, running from the East to the West, which joins Medyka with Zgorzelec, and the North - South highway, which lays out the route from Gdansk via Warsaw and Rzeszów to Slovakia and Romania. The city is approximately 90 km from Slovakia, and not more than 90 km from the Ukraine. Through traffic is facilitated by a modern four lane bypass, contained within the city limits. Its back up facilities include petrol stations, fast food restaurants, twenty four hour shops and authorised car service and repair stations. The development of the city will be influenced to a large extent by the expansion of the communication network planned for the near future. The new, expressway No 9: Radom - Rzeszów - Barwinek - Bucharest, will constitute the shortest connection between the countries of south-eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The A-4 highway, which will run to the north from Rzeszów, will ensure the connection of the highway network of Western Europe with the Ukraine, Russia and the Balkans. Within close proximity of the planned highway, there is an airport, situated 3 km from Rzeszów, in Jasionka. Its runway is equipped with lights for night landings and includes a radio navigation system, which meets international standards.
The economic picture of the city was formed to a large extent by the strong aviation tradition and a program of constructing COP (the Central Industrial District), which gave rise to the present WSK-PZL (the Production Plant of Communication Equipment - the State Aviation Works), famous for its production of aircraft engines and a city leader with respect to employment. Household equipment produced by ZELMER is recognised by markets all over the world. Among firms with the participation of foreign capital, the most important are: ALIMA-GERBER, producing juices and foodstuffs for children, and ICN-POLFA, a producer of pharmaceuticals. Establishment of many other branches is also developing successfully: clothing - CONRES; catering - the Rzeszów Poultry Plant, the Noodle Production Plant; building - BUDIMEX, ELEKTROMONTAŻ, INSTAL, etc. The inhabitants of Rzeszów quickly found their own place in the new realities created by the political and economic transformations at the beginning of the 90s. Many small and medium sized firms were established, working their own way into the business world with surprising speed. As a consequence of the economic development of the city, numerous institutions were established, serving the business sphere, like banks, economic, financial and legal counselling offices, insurance agencies and broker's offices. Trade is also flourishing, which is manifested in the popularity and extent of fairs and exhibitions, as well as the establishment of shopping centres and modern supermarkets.
The city is an important academic centre. Almost 60,000 students are being educated at the local colleges. The Rzeszów Polytechnic is the only school in the country, which has a faculty for training civil pilots. The University of Rzeszow educates: scientists, teachers, lawyers, economists and future administrative workers. The full educational spectrum is completed by: the Higher Theological Seminary, the Higher School of Management and the Higher School of Computer Science and Management.
The documented history of the city dates back to the year 1345, when King Casmir the Great granted Rzeszów city rights. An unique complex of underground cellars and corridors, – The Underground Tourist Route “Rzeszow cellars” (length: 369 meters) is one of the greatest attractions of Rzeszow. Network of underground corridors was being built for years by the inhabitants of Rzeszow. It served them as shops, storages, production companies, and finally – during wars and cataclysms - as a shelter. Today these secret, beautifully restored and enriched by a historical exhibition cellars prove resourcefulness, creativity and initiative of the city’s dwellers.
Numerous cultural and sporting events take place in the city and its surrounding areas, and many of them are of an international character. Special fame was gained by the Music Festival in Lancut, organised by the Philharmonic of Rzeszów, and the World Festival of Polonia Folkloristic Ensembles, which takes place every three years and connects our region with people of Polish origin from all over the world. The Symphony Orchestra of the Rzeszów Philharmonic is proclaimed as one of the best in the country. The acoustics in Rzeszów's Philharmonic concert hall are considered to be among the best in the country. Visitors may take advantage of the wide accommodation and catering base in the city. They may spend their time pleasantly in numerous pizzerias, restaurants, coffee bars and discos. Also available in the city are numerous museums, galleries of painting and photography and other cultural institutions. The Franciszek Kotula Ethnographic Museum possesses one of the largest collections in the country. The media of Rzeszów, local television stations, numerous radio stations and the press, also work energetically to inform citizens of Rzeszów of all local affairs and events. Rzeszów also maintains close co-operation with 10 partner cities: Bielefeld (Germany), Buffalo (the USA), Ivano-Frankivsk (the Ukraine), Klagenfurt (Austria), Kosice (Slovakia), Lvov and Lutsk (the Ukraine), Nyíregyháza (Hungary), Lamia (Greece) and Satu Mare (Romania). Contacts among these partner cities encourages the exchange of information and the gaining of knowledge, the popularisation and propagation of culture. The social and economic co-operation facilitate the broadening of horizons and gaining of new friends. They inspire people and institutions to co-operate. They build a bridge between the rich historical past and positive perspectives for the future.