Silesia explorer

Blog about tourist places, travelling in Upper Silesia, Poland

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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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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Szczyrk: 2 hours from Katowice – you are in mountains


Szczyrk is quite famous Silesia ski resort. All ski resorts in summer time transform to hiking resorts.

Szczyrk is situated in the Beskids (pol.Beskidy) mountains. Beskids are stretching through Poland, Slovakia, Czech and Ukraine.

The best way to come to Szczyrk is first to come to Bielsko-Biala (pol. Bielsko-Biała). Szczyrk is near at hand from Bielsko.

In village you can find thematical restaurants with Polish food, concerts of folk music, fair with traditional souvenirs. But we came here not for this. Mountains are waiting for us.

In Szczyrk take chair-lift to the mount Skrzyczne (price 12 PLN). Please, not forget to take warm clothes. Wind is blowing, and in the middle of July here was +14C.

Image

Riding a  lift you observe perfect view to neighbourhood and feel flying. Under your legs you find stumps, fallen trees, green grass, around you – high firtrees.

And breath! Air is fresh and clear here. Seems like you can drink the air.

Lift drives you out of civilization, far far away. Leave all your problems below, and go to pure nature closer to sky.

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Getting off the lift you find charming beautiful landscapes. Green, grey and blue colors.

From the top you start your way along one of several trails. You can choose wide road, which is used for bicycles and ski, or tiny snaky  track, where your legs will be scratched by blueberry bushes. Blueberries are everywhere! Try this healthy and tasty berry – your fingers will be blue.

Night comes here unexpectedly. Once you admire magnificent sunset, pick up healing herbals (lift stops work at 19:00), and next moment – darkness. So don’t forget to take with you to mountains a relaible  person, who will not panic and search for the path to village together with you.

Enjoy your trip. But I advice you to behave carefully and respectfully to nature here. This forest is a mystery forest. Here gnomes and leprechauns are living. If you disturb them – they will get angry, send rain and storm to you. But being calm and kind-hearted they could play funny games with you, invite you to their houses and show forest treasures.

Szczyrk is definitely a good choice for weekends. Before you can check web-site of Szczyrk – it looks useful.

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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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