Silesia explorer

Blog about tourist places, travelling in Upper Silesia, Poland

2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Barborka 2012 – miner’s holiday in Nikiszowiec


I am sleeping so sweet, so calm. And what a … is going here? I am woken up at 08:00 am by music of orchestra. Some orchestra is playing close to my window. Barbórka!!

Barbórka or St.Barbara Day – it is the holiday of miners on 4 of December. Because St.Barbara is the patron of miners.

I get dressed, take camera and run outside. Make several circles around Nikiszowiec and I finally find object which woke me up near the administrative office of mine (pol. kopalnia “Wieczorek”).

Barburka 2012. Nikiszowiec

Barbórka. St.Barbara Day 2012 in Nikiszowiec, Katowice

Playing for 4 minutes, orchestra moves to another places in Nikiszowiec. Such a round-Nikiszowiec-orchestra- wake up-tour.

I follow them, but orchestra walks quicker than me. Musicians escaped.

Barburka. St.Barbara Day. Nikiszowiec. Katowice

But after 10 min musicians appeared at main square. And journalists appeared.

Nikiszowiec. Winter. 4 December. Barburka

Holiday winter December Nikiszowiec miners holiday St.Barbara

Orchestra in Nikiszowiec. Barbórka holiday 2012

And look at this Polish winter!

Let it snow, let it snow… Winter fairy tale.

Nikiszowiec winter snow Katowice December

Winter in Nikiszowiec. Heavy snow. Barburka

Nikiszowiec. St.Anna church in snow

Nikiszowiec. Barburka 2012. Beautiful winter

Woke up half an hour before alarm clock I have some time before ready for work. I go to local bakery to buy something sweet for breakfast.

Nikiszowiec cafe backery

Nikiszowiec backery. Cukiernia, Piekarnia

Nikiszowiec cafe window

Such a one morning story.

Nikiszowiec

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Autumn in Ustron


One Sunday we went to Ustron – small town in mountains, survives because of tourists. In summer – hiking. In winter – skiing.

Ustron is not far away from Bielsko-Biala.

The biggest pleasure for me in mountains is to take chair-lift to the top, observe landscapes, feeling fresh breeze and swing legs. And we were lucky to get to local holiday -anniversary of chair-lift – and etrance ticket was for 1 PLN (0,25 EUR).

A lot of families with children came.

And we found ourself in beautiful autumn when leaves start to change color from green to yellow.

In top of mountain we found sledding way – quite popular attraction of winter ski resorts, but working at all seasons.

We took trail and just walk enjoying good weather and diverse nature.

We walk, walk and walk in forest and found ourself in … Czech Republic!

I was first time in Czech Republic!

In the border we found sign between trees and Czech restaurant with unknown lables of products and food.

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BYTOM – SMALL CITY BUT WITH A BIG CHARM


Mistery City.

If you ask to Polish people some suggestions about Bytom, their faces change for a moment. It was perfect that I didn´t care about their comments; “It´s ugly city, don´t go”, ” It´s old, you will not like it”, “There is nothing to see there”……

But it´s not true. Each person has his/her likes, and me and my friend from Spain love BYTOM.

It´s not the most beautiful city that I have visited in Poland, but for sure one of the ” Seven Wonders of Architecture in the Silesian Province”.

I live in Katowice for 9 months and I haven´t been in  Bytom, maybe because it´s close to Katowice or maybe because I didn´t hear to much about this city, but after some opinions and searching some pictures I went there.

One of my best friends from Spain came to Poland for visit me for a few days and I chose Bytom for enjoy with her.

To go there from Katowice it´s really easy, you can take number 820 and 830 and in 20 minutes you are there. Timetables here.

The first objective for us was to find the Tourist Information Center. We  asked to the inhabitants of Bytom if they knew about this building but they didn´t have idea where it is situated. We were walking till the Main Market square and after long time taking  pictures with the Lion statue, checking some maps with all informations about the city, finally, we found the building.  It´s complicated to realized because on the wall you can´t see any signs. The best way it is to ask in the local business.

Probably they will know it.

Inside of the building, they have several duties, and one of these duties it´s inform to foreigners people the most interesting places for visit in Bytom.

Pawel, the person who was talking with us it was really friendly and able to deal with foreigners. He gave us brochures, maps, he wrote in the maps the places where we should go and even he gave us postcard of Bytom for free . He proposed us some restaurants, museums, etc. We felt to much satisfied with him and excited to be in Bytom.

In this moment, our visit in Bytom it started.
One day it´s enough for see all city but if you stop in each places like us you will spend 2 days.

Our route began in the south part of the city.

  • Galeria Kronika ( Rynek 26)

The Kronika Gallery was established in 1991.  Is a centre for contemporary art located in the heart of the industrial city of Bytom, Upper Silesia.

Consists in two floors;

The first one is conected with Jews life in Upper Silesia and the second floor you can see some pictures which representing unemployed peoples working in the town.

Kronika does also  rental bikes and only one artistic bookstore in Upper Silesia.

It´s open:  Tuesday – Thursday  11.00 – 18.00 , Friday: 14.00 – 20.00 , Saturday:  11.00 – 15.00

Entrance for free.

More information about Kronika. 

  • Art Nouveau building of Upper Secondary School ( Sikorskiego Street 1)

Here we had unbelievable experience. We didn´t know that it was a Secondary School and just we wanted to visit the interior of this building. We meet with a English teacher and he invited us to participated in his lesson and talk with the students about something interesting for us. We were discussing about the History of Poland and about the relationship between Polish peoples and German /Ukraine and Russian.

In this school exists the clock more old of Bytom, and we had a pleasure to go up and visit it. From this panorama you can observe all city. It was amazing view. It was snowing, so perhaps could influence in our feeling.

  • Opera House ( Moniuszki Street)

The eclectic Silesian Opera House formetly City Theatre and Concer Hall from 1903.

We tried to watch some performance  but there weren´t any available.

In front of the building, from the Moniuszko street side we can see a statue of S.Moniuszko. Created by T.Sadowski.

  • School of Music ( Moniuszkin Street).

If your passion is a music or you want to listen a nice melody come to the neo-Gothic building near to Busy Sikorski Square.

Go inside and you will see:

Impressive staircase, old furnitures, young composers strolling the corridors with their instruments and pictures which you can see that this conservatory was working since 1984.

After that we spent all morning in this side of the city, it was time to walk and visit the North part of the city.

  • Holy Trinity Church ( Kwietniewskiego Street 1)

Try to find Kosciusko Square and Jainty Street and finally you will reach the parish. It was built in the years 1883-1886 to replace a former cementary chapel under the same name. We went inside but we couldn´t visit the basilican and the Main Altar. What mostly impress to me was the multi colored wall paintings, stone carvings, a windows decoration or spire´s capstone catching the eye too.

  • Holy Virgin Mary Church (Koziolka Street 3)

If you walk around Rynek, your eyes will catch the oldest building in the city. Actually is older than the town itself, because its origins date back to the first half of the 13th century. After the fire in 1515 temple was renovated and if you see carefully you can distinguish two parts. One of this part it´s old, damage because of fire and the other part it´s new and renovated. Good contrast. We couldn´t been inside because it was closed.

  • Chapel with the statue of the Holy Virgin Mary and Church of the Holy Spirit. ( Grunwald Square)

In this district of Bytom you can see the statue of the Holy Virgin Mary. The building behind of this statue belonged to once famous vodka producer-Vizent Pissarek and at bottom the Church of the Holy Spirit.

The history of the church of the Holy Spirit, which was then located outside the city walls is related to the centuries-long presence of the Order of the Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre in Bytom. Brought to Bytom from the neighboring Chorzów they opened a hospital for the ill, poor, and erected a chapel of the Holy Spirit next to it. The church is the only one in Bytom with completely Baroque decor

  • St. Jack´s Church ( Matejki Street 1)

For the end of our trip we visited as unique as impressive in size, Neo-Romanesque building. Was built in the years 1908-1911. The Church, built of stone slabs is impressive with two 57 meter hight towers. Walls and windows carvings catched our attention especially. Around this building there were some constructions. It was the most beautiful church for me and it was a pitty that we couldn´t go inside..

Do you remember the first picture with a Lion?

Do you know the meaning of this Lion in Bytom? I will explain you.

The sculputure of the Lion that you can find in the Main Square of Bytom representing the victims whose died in Prussian-French war in 1870-1871. Bytom belonged to the territory of Germany during the war. This Lion was created in 1873. After II world war, monument was destroyed and it appeared in Warsaw.

In 2006 the statue was found  in Warsaw zoo and  in 2008 Lion has returned to Bytom. Now it stands in the center of Main Market Square.

Look and find several of them !!

If you are interested in History, if you love to visit ruins, damaged buildings or old cities…go to Bytom.

Don´t hear what the peoples think about the city and just explore by yourself.

You will fall in love.
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In love with Nikiszowiec…


We love Nikiszowiec. We adore Nikiszowiec.

If you ask me the only place to visit in Katowice – My answer: Nikiszowiec.

If you ask me the only place to visit in Silesia – My answer: Nikiszowiec.

It is our 22 article on blog, but all the time we wanted to write about Nikiszowiec. Now I did it.

Nikiszowiec, Plac Wyzwolenia, Katowice

Nikiszowiec is district in Katowice. We, Tetiana and Maria, actually live here. Our flat is on the ground floor. Director of our organization bought flat here quite cheap as reasonable investment for future. Still Nikiszowiec has image of criminal and dangerous for life place. Miners were never intellectual people, sorry.

Now situation changes. Each weekend tourists are walking here and making photos in front of our window. Art people are buying accomodation here. More and more cultural events are organizing here. For example, Holiday of Sausage (pol. Krupniok) (pol. Święto Krupnioka):

Nikiszowiec, as historical settlement, erected in the beginning of 20 century. It was housing for miners and their families. Mine is located 5 min on foot.

Heighborhood has 2-floor houses built from characteristic red bricks. Each of 9 estates has square or triangle form, surrounding large inside courtyards.

Streets are narrow, strict, dark, without trees. Buildings connect by gateways, so here is a feeling that you are in encircled cozy fortress. To enter internal yard is possible through archs in houses. In courtyard you can see another picture: trees, grass, children playgrounds, benches.

I heart that the idea of design is like this. Yards are enclosed from all sides by building, because women were sitting in balconies and keeping an eye on their children playing in yard. Wives of miners didn’t work, because husbands earned enough money.

Design of all buildings has one style, but each building is little different.

Some people say that Nikiszowiec looks like getto or like Auschwitz, because of street lights and low red houses.

This area had worked as everyday self-autonomy. It has school, shops, post office, pharmacy, restaurant, laundry, church and even sport complex. Around here is forest, complex of small private gardens, mine, railway. Quite isolated.

Nowadays Nikiszowiec has good transport communication. To come to Nikiszowiec from Katowice center you should take bus N 30, 12. Check map.

Please, look at one effect of Nikiszowiec – sitting and staring at window dogs. Not only mothers)) In Ukraine I saw only cats in this positions:

All flats have white windows with red frame painting. I saw only one wooden brown window.

In 2011 Nikiszowiec was awarded the prestigious status of Monument of History of Poland – one of 48 objects in Poland. Now Nikiszowiec is third object in Silesia in in this list together with Silver mine in Tarnowskie Gory and the Bright Mountain monastery in Czestochowa. Monuments of History are city centers of Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Gdansk.

Not everything is perfect in Nikiszowiec. Absence of car parking forces people to park on pedestrian road. As I mentioned, streets are narrow here. Or cars are in courtyards under windows.

In our yard there is no asphalted road. And like in the beginning of 20 century we have mud when it’s raining.

I want to insert also several pictures of citizens of Nikiszowiec. These people create beauty of their home day by day. Local heroes

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Romance + luxury = Promnice


It is not a museum. It is ideal place for wedding party, romantic evening or banquette.

Photos should tell you more than my words.

It is historical hunting lodge of Duke of Pszczyna nowadays transforms into luxurious small hotel “Noma Residence****” and restaurant. Cozy athmosphere is created  by hiddenness of this place. It is situated really in the middle of forest. It doesn’t have any village or big road near. Only lake, birds and squirrels.

I suppose in all seasons here is beauty, but in the middle of autumn it was marvelous.

In this restaurant in 2003 was meeting of the Presidents of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic.

Restaurant has several rooms: main, bar, breakfast room with different splendid interiors.

First this object looks scary just to enter if you are kind of volunteer without heavy purse.

Ok, prices are high here, but not so high as we can imagine thinking about such place.

Soup: 15 PLN = 3,6 €

Coffee: 9 PLN = 2,2 €

Main dish: 50-60 PLN = 12-15 €

Lunch (3 dishes): 49 PLN = 12 €

Maybe sometimes it is worth to feel yourself far from real life with dinner in McDonald’s and plunge into (I suppose) excellent service inside of royal surrounding celebrating special occasion. I didn’t, but I advise))

Photos of apartments from web-site charms. You can sleep in room, where in 19 cenruty prince and his guests rested. Hotel is able to invite at the same time only 26 persons (13 rooms).

Not having auto I think it’s impossible to reach this place. Of course, I know that my reader is creative and could find the way even without car.

You should turn from highway (highway🙂 ) KatowiceBielsko-Biala after Tychy before Pszczyna to small road from right side. You will mention this turn near “girls”. Yepp… people with money turn here.

Any way check the map before. Web-site of complex.

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Coal mine in Zabrze. Mine – an attribute of Silesia


Coal is the product, which made Silesia rich one day. Now a lot of coal mines are closed, and visitors can go to guided trip down to see what it is about – production and output of coal.

Mine calls Guido in honor of the founder of the mine. It is situated in Zabrze – town in Silesian agglomeration, close to Gliwice. Web-site. Address.

8 persons stay in narrow elavator, feeling breath of neighbor person, in full darkness, hearing rumble of metal construction.

Welcome to hell!!

Horrible experience! As former volunteers told in their blog: “I don’t want to die here, please”.

We took this terrifying elevator several times. First part of excursion is on level 170 m below. Second – 320 m!

Remember these brave faces:

Guide talked to us not in Polish,but in Silesian language. He is former miner. All the time he told jokes, during tour jokes started to be more and more open and dirty.

First part of tour is quite safe and boring, connected to history of mine, technology of output of coal, working instruments and conditions.

We got to know that horses were working, living, eating and dying in mine. All life in darkness.

       

But the second part of tour – by your own eyes you can observe how enourmous mining machines work. Machine is 10 times larger than person. We saw long working conveyors.

We walked with bended back along short and narrow corridors.

Also we met Skarbnik. Skarbnik is the ghost, living in mine (actually in each mine). If miner behaves well, works silently and respects nature, Skarbnik shows to miner treasures. If not – it’s better not to behave bad.

Mystery is everywhere in dangerous conditions of work. St. Barbara is the patron of miners.

As for me 3-hours excursion was really tiring. After it I came back home and just sleep for several hours in day time. Maybe, the speed of elevator was very high, what causes pressure jump, or we were really deep, or it doesn’t have enough oxygen, but a lot of coal dust. Anyway, this museum is worth to visit, and take care about yourself.

It was our second mine with Maria, we were before in Silver mine in Tarnowskie Gory. First mine impressed us more – because it was simply the first. Mines are different. I can not advise where you had better visit. Both of them are life-long memories.

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St. Anna Church (Zabrze)


One of the most beauty Parafia that I have visited in Silesia region is in the small city call Zabre.

If you take the bus number 870 and 840 from Katowice Stawowa to Zabrze, around thirty minutes you will be there.

It´s easy to find  this place because  is situated close to bus station and railway, in the street 3 Maja. You must walk around 15 minutes and you will be surprise.

In the year 1897-1900 in neo-Romanesque style was building this church in the middle of Zabrze. Present neo-Gothis elements and up you can observe a white small clock, typical in most of churchs in Poland.

It´s surrounded by a green garden with many trees. In summer it´s really relaxing place.

If you have the opportunity to go inside,  there is a fine interior full of red brick arches with ornamental stone detailing and gold leaf wall highlights. Take a look at the numerous semicircular stained glass windows depicting saints.


I remain impressed about this church maybe for where it is situated or maybe for the color. Just I can say that if you are going to Zabrze it´s a pity to miss this place. It´s perfectly conserved and usually it´s the place where the peoples choose for pray.

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Tyskie brewery. 6 PLN: glass of beer + souvenir beer glass + 2 hours guided tour through facotry


That is time to write about my the most relaxing sightseeing in Silesia.

All visits to tourists objects I do in my working time as volunteer of NGO. I like my job. I work hard.

If you have ever been in Poland – you know this picture:

Museum is the part of Silesian Industrial Monuments Route, as Silver Mine in Tarnowskie Gory, Gallery Szyb Wilson in Katowice, Museum of matches in Czestochowa.

So, what does my recent job include?

First we called 1,5 week in advance to brewery to book suitable time for guided tour. On web-site there is information that the trip could be in Polish, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Russian and in the Silesian dialect. We chose English.

I went by bus to Tychy – avarage-size city between Katowice and Bielsko-Biala, famous because of beer brand “Tyskie”, which translates from Polish “from Tychy”. Buses of KZK GOP public transport N 688, 788, Tychy public transport system bus N 1, 4. Check address.

Even if you go with closed eyes, you have no chance to miss this object – stong smell of mix of bread and … how to say … will show you the way to brewery and will not leave you all 2,5 hours)))

This brewery in Tychy is the biggest in Europe (not taking into consideration one in Russia). Big thing!

Sightseeing tour starts in museum part, which is situated just in the territory of factory. Museum is one room, tightly packed with multimedia devices.

Entrance to the museum:

First guide told us about what is beer itself: about 3 main components of beer:

I saw old bottles and glasses, historical logos of brands. As person with business management education I was interested in watching commercials of Tyskie brand.

3-D movie (not perfect quality, but OK) is also included. Promotion, promotion, promotion…

The biggest accent here is made on long history of brewery. It was established in 1629.

Attractions (I want to say “like for children”, but not – people under 18 are not allowed to visit museum) are provided, like taking of photo of you with Tyskie logo in huge barrel roll and send it immediatelly to e-mail. Funny))

This museum will entertain you as much as possible, guide will smile. And for sure you will mention the difference between state-owned museums and private business (actually the second largest beer corporation in the world) museum. Definitely fruitfull comparing experience.

Tour in part of real factory starts from old architectural buildings.

… where inside the first stage of brewing process is making. Here I got the answer to my old question: how does beer could be alcohol-free?

Later we were walking outside through territory of factory.

Also we were in production department, where it is prohibited to make photos – corporate secret. We saw real production lines, were bottles are running one by one, making big noise. Visitors walk in balcony and look down at production process and workers. Kind of zoo. I enjoy it.

And finally, tired of making pictures and asking questions, you come back to museum building, where in underground pub the glass of cold beer is waiting for you.

My presents:

What is marvelous in drinking 0,5 l of ordinary beer in ordinary pub? Nothing. But only not when you understand that this beer was produces by intellectual work of hundreds of people, and physical work of thousands of people. It is like to open Kinder Surprise – something is inside. And now you know what it is. Small beery magic.

So if one day you will be worker of corporation, who makes decision – establish such tours in your production. People are interested how do products appear in shelves of supermarket. To touch the history of ordinary stuff – it’s going to be modern fairly tale.

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Cable way in mountains – Bielsko-Biała


For all mountains lovers and those who don’t have acrophobia Bielsko-Biala opens opportunity to go up the peak Szyndzielnia (958 m above sea) by cable car the difference in height 450 m.

As you understand the way to mount can not situated in city center. Check on map where is the station of cable road.

Ticket for cable way you can buy in small building where the way starts. Normal price for both sides: 20 PLN, reduced: 14 PLN. Check also on web-site of cable road.

Small cable car has places for 6 persons – privacy and fun.

The speed of movement is 5 m/sec.

These 6 minutes in cable car were very long for me.

Going by cable car you can observe trees under you, and close to the peak the view to the city Bielsko-Biala opens. Of course, only if you are lucky, and you are not inside of cloud))

On the peak Szyndzielnia (958 m) got off the cable car you find yourself in pure mountain forest.

From cable car station several hiking trails start.

Choose your road and walk! Trails are not dangerous and don’t need special sport preparation.

Breathing fresh air after not-ecologically-perfect life in Katowice, don’t forget about last cable down in the evening.

Though if you enjoy this place too much, and feel sad to come back to civilization, on the trail in 15 min walking from cable car station there is shelter (hostel), where are can rent room for night.

Don’t get confused by the name of this transport – cable car way. In polish language it calles ”kolej linowa”. Silesia tourist organization translates it to English “gondola railway”.

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