Silesia explorer

Blog about tourist places, travelling in Upper Silesia, Poland

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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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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Galeria Szyb Wilson – NIKISZOWIEC


If you are going to Nikiszowiec and you find colourfull walls, wonderful drawing on the walls and caracteristics doors, you are lucky because you are in Galeria Szyb Wilson.

Go inside and enjoy!

Situated in Oswobodzenia street Nº 1 (Nikiszowiec).

Just north of the centre of Nikiszowiec (3km by official measure), this seemingly obscure and certainly underappreciated modern art gallery is arguably Katowice’s best art space and one of the primary highlights of a trip to Nikiszowiec.

How to arrive there??

  • Get on the bus number 30 in Aleja Korfantejo street and get off in Szopienicka street.
  • Get on the bus number 12 in Warszawska street ( Damrota bus stop) and get off in Lwowska street.

If you need more information or it´s not clear for you. Search here

The gallery itself comprises an impressive 2,500 square metres divided into three halls. Full of seriously bonkers, yet compellingly high quality sculpture, graphic and installation art by both local and international artists, exhibitions change regularly with permanent installations – some disturbing, some playful, some political – hidden throughout the dozens of small nooks spidering throughout the building. The closest thing to a contemporary art museum in Katowice, it’s an admirable and highly recommendable venue.

      

If you have trash at home, if you love pick up things on the street and you don´t know what to do it with them, go to the museum and give to them. They will make different furnitures, painting, etc without sense, but for your eyes can be amazing and it will give you new inspirations.

They were my favourite!!

   

About a 5 rooms are decorated in different styles, sometimes hard to find its meaning and inspired by different topics. Observed the different objects and perhaps you become to be an artist for a moment.

    

Walking around the museum and introducing yourself in the several rooms, you will find old objects, sculputers done in wood, with ceramic but most of them related with religion.

The pics situated in the middle show a violin made in in wood and by hand. Also is painted with different colours and in differents forms. Nice to see.

Almost there are about thousands painting or I think even more. They are showing different country, different personalities, forms, style, colors, etc and on them I observed a green point between the number. It´s mean that they had a competitions between them. The painting which have this point mean that it´s one of the best in all gallery.

For me it´s was interesting to find a Spanish painters. Not just one, maybe four. I felt identified. Most of them show sun, sea, green, the typical spanish food and different traditions about my country.

 

                                                                                                        This is my favourite !!! I love it

                                                                                I will make it for my future house for sure.

 

Outside you can spend some time as well enjoying their wonderful arts.

Sometimes they have events, concert.. In that day it was concentration of motorcycles.  SUPER !

For the end Remember that it´s for free

Open: 09:00 – 19:00 every day, including weekend.

Dive deeper

You will spend good time!

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Tattoo Museum in Gliwice – you don’t need to go to Amsterdam any more


One month ago Museum of Tattoo was opened in Gliwice – the first one in all eastern Europe.

It is not actually the museum how we get used to imagine a museum. Museum is situated in the same space with working tattoo salon. If the door to the room is not closed you can even observe some man laying in the couch and master making weird things with the skin.

Museum is small – two rooms with exponates according to history of tattoo: drawings, paintings, reproductions of old pictures, tattoo sticks and stuff from different parts of world. All this is a private collection of owner. He works here, so you can talk personally –  creator of a museum is the best guide.

It could be one of the most amusing museums in Silesia, especially if you are involved in topic.

And entrance is for free. Nice, I like it.

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Museum is simple to find, go from Gliwice main square Rynek in down town, follow the map, see sign on the wall, go upstairs and find the door of tattoo salon.

Facebook page of museum.

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HISTORICAL MUSEUM- KATOWICE


MEMORIES OF THIS CITY

This museum showcasing some of the more interesting aspects of the life and times of the city and their people.

It´s situated five minutes ride for the city center, in the street Szafranek St. 9, and inside there are few important things to see. Admission 8zl/4zł students, Saturday free. Guided tours 12zł per person.

Open 10:00 – 17:30, Tue, Thu 10:00 – 15:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 – 14:00. Closed Mon.

It is divided into three main sections.

First floor: 

Wearing a pair of silly slippers provided in the price of the ticket, wander for a wonderful carpet in all rooms and include as well a superb recreation of house interiors of the middle and upper classes of the city from 20, 50 and 100 years ago.

The conservation of furniture, smell older and high roofs introduce yourself to the past.

The walls have a very formal style keeping with the times and adapted to each type of rooms.

                

               

Second floor:

This exposition is complemented with an XVIII century map and ironworks tools.

Exhibits of tradition and cultural achievements of less-privileged classes in Katowice it focuses on peasant communities as well as plebeian townspeople, mainly working class and partly craftsmen. Is dedicated to cultural remnants of former rural life and illustrates the urbanised culture.

A few photographs help the visitors to know what the town looked like at that time.

If you don´t know Polish it will be a little bit complicated to understand.

Third floor:

Sport is the theme of the exhibition. Was inspired and to some extent dictated by sports events – Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, and the Olympic Games in London.

The exhibition objects were collected from various museums in Poland, with particular emphasis on the collection of the Olympic Center in Warsaw.

A separate part of the exhibition deal with the interwar period woodcuts depicting winter sports. Aptly fifties to the present day are represented in the graphic technique, taking up about the sport in different scenes and different forms of expression from realism to symbolism.

          

One of the best museums in southern Poland, and well worth visiting when you’re in the city…..

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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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Częstochowa. Trip to north of Silesia


Czestochowa (Pol. Częstochowa) is sittuated here.

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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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