Silesia explorer

Blog about tourist places, travelling in Upper Silesia, Poland

Zabytkowa Kopalnia Srebra—Tarnowske Góry


SILVER MINE AND MUSEUM

One of the biggest attractions in Tarnowskie Góry.

Situated in 81 Szczęść Boże Street. Check the map here

  • Access by bus from Tarnowskie Góry Bus Station; lines 151, 734, 735; Kopalnia Zabytkowa bus stop.
  • Access by bus from Katowice Stawowa; line 820; Tarnowskie Góry dworzec PKP bus stop.
  • Normal ticket price: 27,00 zł/pers. It´s depend of age, group and guide tour. There is a possibility of foreign language touring (English, German, Russian, Czech).
  • Open: Every day from 9.00 a.m. till 3.00 p.m. In June, July and August on Saturdays and Sundays from 9.00 a.m. till 5 p.m.

Open to visitors since 1976.

The first part of this museum is on a building where through models show how it is the mine in reality and the different instruments that the miners used while working. You can use computer inside this building and get more information about this mine.You can find it in differents languages. It is also projected a funny documentary of this region.

After visiting the exhibition, tourists must put a helmet and go down into the mine by means of the original miner´s lift. The underground of the ancient ore mines dating back to 16th-19th century.  Inside there is a constant temperature of about 10ºC, provided with electric lighting, has been adapted to the visits of disabled persons. It is cold! So wear warm clothes and be ready. It takes about 1.5 hours to visit the mine with a guide. The underground tourist trail, at a depth of about 40 m, has the length of 1740 m and 270 m is to be crossed by boats. Each boats have the capacity for almost 30 people.

Outside on the surface in the area surrounding the mine, an outdoor Museum of Steam Machines has been organized. Among the 31 exhibits the most numerous group is formed by narrow-gauge railway engines from the beginning of 20 th century. Also presented are hoisting machines and other equipment once powered by steam.

If you are hungry or you want to buy some souvenirs you can find it as well.

More information: click this link

DON´T LOST THIS OPPORTUNITY… YOU WILL FEEL LIKE A MINER

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Nice short promotion movie of Silesia


Watch it!

Little naive and too much official, but still shows main directions, where local authorities want to develop the region.

This movie is made by Silesia Tourist Organization.

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Olsztyn – place to break from the city, but not far away


This small paradise is here.

Olsztyn is a small village near Częstochowa.

When you google Olsztyn, please, not get confused – Poland has another Olsztyn – the capital of Warmia-Mazury voivodeship – north-east region in Poland.

The biggest attraction of this place is the ruins of castle situated at picturesque cliffs. Polish people know this place because it is a part of Jura – Kraków -Częstochowa  Upland – beautiful hills, stretching from Kraców to Częstochowa with bicycle and foot roads, protected by the status of Landscape Park.

Here is a good combination of natural tourism and historical tourism. I found picture of this the castle in Olsztyn on brochure about Częstochowa region and fell in love with this place from first sight. In the lunch time my dream was born. In the evening I met guy from international hospitality web-site “www.couchsurfing.org” . He asked me how I want to spend time, and my answer was clear – Olsztyn. New mate drove me (around 20 minutes) to Olsztyn, so I avoided contact (expected difficulties in evening time) with public transport. Dreams come true.

So what is Olsztyn? Nothing special: three ruined towers, several ruined pieces of wall. These ruins are on the mount. From height you can observe 360° landscapes of neighbor villages, forest and cliffs. Ruins are mixed with huge natural rocks. As for me, it’s a beauty. Olsztyn castle is not a museum, here is no entrance tickets, no fence barriering the territory of historical sign. You can visit it 24 hours per day.

The castle in Olsztyn is a part of the Trail of the Eagle’s Nests – complex of more or less conserved castles (4 the most popular) of 14-18 centuries, all situated on hills with cliffs, looked in one style. Our article about another object of the Trail of the Eagle’s Nests – Bedzin you can read here.

The best way to come to Olsztyn is to go by car or bus from Czestochowa – just 15 kilometrs.

If you understand Polish language some information you can find on town’s web-site.

Castle itself also has web-site, which is not updated, but still you can read the history, legends.

Sometimes city organizes in castle festivals in Middle Age style. On 12 August 2012 here will be Knight Tournament with demonstration of medieval fights: guns, armor, horses, traditional food, men and ladies in beautiful old dresses.

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Częstochowa. Trip to north of Silesia


Czestochowa (Pol. Częstochowa) is sittuated here.

Image

If you are Polish you know what is Czestochowa. If you are Polish you are likely Catholic. If you are Catholic you know where is the sanctuary in your country situated – in Czestochowa.

RELIGION IN CZESTOCHOWA

Jasna Góra

Czestochowa is the center for pilgrims from Poland and outside of Poland (Germany, Spain).  Jasna Góra (The Bright Mountain) – is a hill in the very center of the city, where the churches, Pauline monastery buildings and all religion infrastructure are situated. Main temple has old (13 century) icon of Our Lady, also known as Black Madonna, where kings of Republic of Poland were praying, and only after this ceremony started war or any other state’s important events.  A lot of people come to this icon to worship. People believe that the icon has healing power.  As a proof the walls of church from floor to ceiling are full of hanging gifts of people to whom icon helped: golden chains, crosses, jewelry, medallions, and even crutches.   
In church the cultural shock happened to me when I noticed visitors going round the altar during mass. I also did it – on knees – people before me bended on knees, and not knowing traditions I repeated. Around 25 m on knees – it’s really hard. After I found people going freely on foot around alter. So it depends on your wish. In Ukraine in orthodox churches it is not allowed to be behind alter unless you are a priest.

         

Jasna Góra has tall bell-tower. You can visit it going upstairs. From balcony you will find good view to the city and neighborhood.

     

In the territory you can find 3 museums: small, mostly with exhibitions of treasury, arms.

Pleasant surprise: museums, entrance to bell-tower, toilets are free of charge. On me question in Tourist Information Center “Is it for free?” was the answer “No, we expect for donation.”

In general because of constant excursions (guides with microphone), crowds of people, Jasna Góra didn’t create for me impression as spiritual place. I’m sorry.

Churches 

Apart from Jasna Góra Czestochowa has a lot of churches. I was inside at least at 3, saw at least 5. If you are first time in Poland or first time you see Catholic church – it is worth to visit. But if not – no. Outside it is a beauty, as usual: large size, gothic architecture. But inside they look surprisingly poor: white walls, no special stained-glass windows, nothing remarkable.

NON-RELIGION IN CZESTOCHOWA

I determine my function as to show what is interesting in Częstochowa apart from religion.

Tourist infrastructure

           

Whole city center is marked with signs with names of street and sights. All signs made in one style; this grants a style to the city. Big stands with map of city center are easily to find on streets. Also system of navigation of public transport. Till now I didn’t met in Poland such high level of tourist infrastructure.  

Boxes with free Internet and Skype.

Can you imagine?! Boxes with free Internet and Skype on the street. Also with map of the city, history, weather forecast, photos. Look like boxes with telephone. Before I found free internet in Tourist information centers in different places, for sure I traveled little in my life, but nowhere I had found free internet on street – not only for tourists, but for locals also. It’s first stage of future’s fundamental human right – access to internet.

Lady in City Information center told that city has around 50 boxes.

People

Going to some place, meeting with local people is usually a part of trip which tourist skip. Not guides, waitresses, shop-assistants, but simple people on streets.

I cognized that Częstochowa city is territorially and mentally divided into 2 parts by railway. People in first (touristic) part don’t care about you – you are tourist, as thousands of others, with cameras, guides and so on. It’s modern, ordered part.

In second part architecture is the same, but people are different. Three times men (30-55 years) were talking to me without any visible interest from my side and even tried to touch. I was walking and people looked straightly at me. I didn’t understand why: I have European face, I wear average clothes. In shop in mirror I found the answer – I have photo camera on my belly.

I called this “Syndrome of touristic city”. Statement of locals:

“We, local people, know that our city has attraction for tourists. We aware that city earns money on this. You, tourists, have your touristic part of city where you can behave yourself whatever you want. But this is our part of city, and we are the masters here. We want to feel themselves like at home here, but not like in this touristic farce. So don’t go to my courtyard with your camera”.

I feel this very well. I come from touristic city.

Museum of Częstochowa. Gallery of Art and Sculpture of the 19th and 20th century

I met very well English speaking, intelligent seller of tickets in elegant suit. Look of this worker doesn’t correlate with emptiness of museum. In fact it was my first museum in Silesia and I was surprised that in Poland men are working in museums. In Ukraine – only women (work of museum worker is paid badly).

Seller asked if I am a student, I shown him my European Youth Card, and he sold me ticket at student price – 4 PLN. He added that with this ticket today I can visit 2 more departments of Museum of Częstochowa.

I was the only visitor in museum. I heard creaking of parquet of each my step. The lady followed me everywhere, opened and closed doors, turn on and off light. I had mixed emotion of shame and feeling that I’m queen.

Lady gave me brochure in English about history of museum which I had to give back in the end of tour. On my question: “What this building was before?” lady frightened and answered “I don’t know”, after several seconds of puzzlement she shown me page in brochure, where I could read it. English scares people.

     

   

Summarizing, this museum is one of more, more the same museums in all cities. I’m not judge of art, I found nothing interesting in exhibition.

Polish language web-site of museum can offer you a lot of information, in particular about other departments, situatted in different places of city.

The way to museum.

Museum of matches

  

Museum of matches is a disaster!

    

If you need my advice about the only place in Częstochowa is worth to visit– please, visit this Museum of matches. You need to visit it to feel these unforgettable emotions:

  • To call to the door and wait 1 min to open it.
  • To meet old strange man with smell of cigarettes who looks at you with not hidden wonderment “Ah, museum!” as if here last visitor was person who hammered sign with Information about fellowship of museum in Industrial Route in Silesia.
  • To go through passage with smell of old production building and interior of Soviet room: posters, curtains, walls with fallen pieces of paint, clothes on hooks. Interior is not a museum exhibit – it’s real life. Welcome to USSR.
  • To see machines of production of matches. The plant stopped work only 2 years ago but here is impression that this place doesn’t operates at least 20 years. Also here is impression that one day some director told: “Now factory stops working”, and workers left the same minute, and nobody even cleaned all mess.
  • To follow a man being in rush, conducting miserable excursion in Polish. To think that he was so surprised of your appearance that forgot to take money from you for entrance ticket.
  • To be invited to the office room (with tables, computers, printers, cupboards, papers) with sign something like “Financial department” to sit on chair and watch on computer 2 short movies: white-and-black about fire at factory and one about production process.
  • To find great collection of matches boxes from all over the world.
  • Finally to pay 10 PLN for ticket.

Remember: It’s not a museum – it’s an industrial museum.
  

Museum of matches is the part of Industrial Monuments Route – network of industrial tourist sights- as for me, the biggest attraction of Silesia region – something really unique in Poland.

Not useful web-site of museum of matches. Useful page on web-site of Industrial Monuments Route.

How to get to museum.

The Avenue of Our Lady

The main street, which leads you from busy city center to Jasna Góra. For me this avenue is a notable urban solution: here road for pedestrians is wider than roads for cars. You can take pleasant walk under linden or sit at one of plenty benches.

   

Park Staszica

My favorite  place in Chestochowa. It’s situated in city center close to main street The Avenue of Our Lady and Jasna Góra. It’s a peaceful place for relaxation near ponds with fountains at the grass under sculptures, which are hanging in air. Sculptures hang in air. Once I saw one sculpture in Sopot, Poland hung in air. It was wow. Here I saw more than 10 sculptures.

Look of city

Gardener of city definitely knows how to work with scissors. I saw slim slender tall oaks. I saw waved curly acacia. To create an unexpected shape of expected trees is a talent.

 

I like graffiti in Poland. Katowice has huge graffiti in the height of houses or in the length of the passage under bridge. Częstochowa has smaller and more sophisticated graffiti. In unexpected places. I found complex of graffiti in passage over railway.

 

 

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Będzin castle


Bendzin (pol. Będzin) is small town in Katowice agglomeration.

Będzin Castle is the part of the Trail of Eagle’s Nest – trail of 25 Middle Ages castles, situated between Kraków and Częstochowa. Our article about another object of this trail Olsztyn you can find here.

Castle in Będzin didn’t amaze me much. My German mate told me that she has two castles like this in her home town.

The castle is small, cute and well-ordered. As all castles, this lays on the mount, so you have good view to the castle from different parts of the town. Castle is situated inside the town, so I didn’t feel myself separated from city’s noise and didn’t plunge into history fully.

For me the most beautiful thing was sitting on bench in small internal courtyard, surrounded from all sides by walls. You feel yourself as little person inside of circle of walls.

Castle building consists museum. Inside museum you go up old wooden square stairs. On each floor you have small room with exhibition mostly of old armors and weapons. Also the exhibition is presented on stairs corridor.

   

  

Another part of castle is a tower with stairs, going round long, long way in limited narrow space. Going up or down your head will also go round. From the roof of tower you can observe view of neighborhood: pretty fields, villages, church,  roads, and some strange object, which my French friend called nuclear plant (truly it is coal-fired thermal power station).

  

Funny situation happened with me when I went to toilet in restaurant, which is situated underground in courtyard. The restaurant has knight’s style: rock walls, dark room, arms on walls, lighting in old-torch style, one small window, Middle age style music. I went upstairs to go out the restaurant, and I realized that large Middle age’s door is closed that I’m alone here, underground, surrounding dark illumination, with scared weapons on walls, with music – nobody will hear me, with small window, with squeezing rock walls.

Finally after not long time I was freed by very sorry waiter with cup of coffee for free. Equivalent moral suffering, hm…

It is fully impossible not to find this castle if you are already in Bendzin. Town is small, caste is visible from all sides.

I don’t know how the web-site of castle can help to ordinary tourist, but it is.

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Silesia region


Silesia region on the map.

The Silesia Region belongs to the group of the most industrialised regions in Poland, bordering from the south with the Slovak Republic and Czech Republic, from the west with the Opolskie Voivodeship, from the north with the Łódzkie Voivodeship and from the east with the Małopolskie and Świętokrzyski. Within the area of 12,300 sq. km

This land  is unique. During long time it was German territory. Important event happened in 19-20 centuries – Industrialization. Having recources of coal and perspectives of production development, Silesia started to be rich land. Talking about industrial production, Katowice is one of the most rapidly developing Polish metropolises. The former capital of the Polish heavy industry has been transformed into a modern municipal organism throughout the last decade. No wonder Katowice is reputed to be one of the most attractive investment areas in Eastern Europe. The Population of Katowice is ~328. 404

St. Mary church; Mariacka Street, Katowice

 

 


                             Spodek; Katowice

   

  

  


  


      

Nikiszowiec; Katowice

 

 

 

In nowadays post industrial world Silesia starts to switch to development of small business and tourism – a lot of mines and factory were closed and people lost their jobs. Still Silesia is rich and powerful, but I think not so much as in the past. The minds of people change not so quickly, and still people want to have autonomy, don’t share money with Warsaw and poorer Polish regions.

Maybe, Silesia is not the most homogeneous part of Poland. The biggest ethnical group in Poland apart from Polish are Silesians – 2,1 % of population, and they live here. People from Silesia Region are proud of themselves: Silesians have their own language, their own cuisine, culture and so on; and they think about themselves as Silesians, not Polish. My opinion is that it is some kind of German-Polish mix.

In modern borders Silesia can be divided into three parts:

  • Central – Katowice and cities, towns, villages around – chain of historically connected places called Upper Silesia Industrial region
  • North – part of nothing. Ok, here also you can find Czenstochowa (pol. Częstochowa) – city with holy monastery and Jura – Krakow-Częstochowa upland – hills with beautiful cliffs and rocks.
  • South – Beskids mountain part of nice small towns and villages, ski and summer hiking resorts.

In Silesia Region there is also a Silesia Metropolis with 5.294.000 inhabitants : Association of 14 cities of Silesia Region. There are no borders between these cities and the areas of all these cities are difficult to recognize – all of them are so close to each other. I suppose that Silesia is similar with industrial regions in another countries – Ruhr region in Germany or Donbass in Ukraine. These places were lucky in specific time period had such advantage as natural recources.

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Welcome to the blog about Silesia region, Poland


We are two voulunteers: Maria from Spain and Tetiana from Ukraine, who work in NGO “Bona Fides Association” in Katowice, Silesia region, Poland. Aim of our project is to promote Silesia region. We will write about all interesting places in Silesia, which are worth to visit.

We realize, that in internet you can find a lot of information about sightseeing in Silesia. And our idea of creation of this blog is to give you fresh look, personal attitude and fair assessment.

Also we thought that it could be interesting for you to read the opinion of foreigner about the country. Foreigners are not spoiled with local beauty, not bored of local landmarks, have different background and real interest.

About authors:

Tetiana  

Hi, I’m from Ukraine, Yevpatoriia – cute Black sea summer resort in the Crimea (Krym). I am 22 years now, and I work as volunteer in Poland, Katowice. And this is the best work ever – our job is to be a tourist. We travel to different cities in Silesia region and write in this blog our impressions. Hard work, isn’t it?! 🙂

I was studing Management in Kyiv – Ukrainian capital, big city, full of different people,  which changed my life greatly. I start my university when I was 16 years – it is not typical. You know, I was happy to be adult, live without parents – in 16 it is the best what life can propose you. I spent adveterous years living in student dormitory – 4 girls in one room – that is a challange definetly. I took part in events of touristic club: I was hiking in mountains, kayaking in rivers, visiting folk music festivals.

Journeys inspire me much. Sometimes I like sleeping in tent, hitchhiking and travel in crazy way. Another time I like visit museums, buy postcads, eat traditional food in restaurants and listen to street musicians. All the time I am curious in new places, try to meet local people and find in the city something what is original, new and hidden.

Last 3 years I start to  interest in work of non-governmental organizations – work of people, who try to change lifes of other people, make society more liberal and fair. I chose this volunteering, because my employer is a watch-dog organization, which by their monitoring activities pushes local goverment to work better. So I moved to Katowice, here I am, and part of my work is to write this blog.

Before my volunteering I was in Poland 2 times for trainings. Country is quite similar to Ukraine, but still I see differences. And Silesia is the great place in Poland for exploring because it has mix of cultures, you can find here and mountains and flatland, industrial districts and small authentic villages, sanctuarities and modern street art.

Maria

Hola!!!


Did you hear to speak about Spain? Red bleed run for our veins and yellow color shine with intensity in our territory.
Did you hear to speak about ” Pen of Andalucía”? It is the place more warm situated in the south of Spain. It is compose for seven provinces and one of them has a special color “SEVILLA”.  Here you have a Sevillian girl, fall in love with her earth and “flamenco” it her inspiration.

I am Maria José and I live in small village “Casariche”. We are leaders in olive, wine and jam. The “siesta” (sleep after lunch an hour; 15.30-4:30) it our tradition and “tapas” our delirium. I have been studying Environmental Science during four years in Granada. This city it is really meaningful for me and I invite you to visit it.

Being in Granada I decided to have a change in my life. I had the opportunity to study abroad and I didn´t lose it. After long time thinking about which country, my departure, family, etc, etc I had the best experience in my life and It was in a Baltic Country …Estonia!!. I was living in a medieval city, with freeze sea and with hard winter… Can you guess?? It was TALLIN. Love with their costumes, fighting with their language and travelling in the north of Europe, I can said that I will never forget this amazing year. After a year my Erasmus life finished and I had to go back to Spain. It wasn´t easy for me to get used again to my life in Spain, but I had to finish my studies.  I finished and then it was time to find some job…. but  I got??? Unfortunately not. I was teaching different subjects for kids, I was au pair.. but I didn´t want this future.

Through of my friend, I listened to talk about EVS.. what it is? European Volunteer Service! …umm interesting… my next goal. It wasn´t easy to find the country, the project which I wanted but I was completely sure that I could. After two months fill in different agreements, sending CV.. my luck came!!… Bona Fides Association accepted me and right now I am living in Katowice, Poland.  I will be volunteer for 8 months and monitoring different places in Silesia region it´s my aim. I will try to improve all possible places for foreign tourist and in this blog I will put part of my experiences.
If can help you in something… It will be a pleasure !!
Thanks

                             

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