Silesia explorer

Blog about tourist places, travelling in Upper Silesia, Poland

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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