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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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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4 must-see in Katowice


Katowice is the capital of Silesia region. And we live here.

There is your plan what you must see here in order to come back home and be sure that you were in Katowice. So let’s start:

1. Working mine

Not from underground, but at least from outside (though miners earn a lot of money, are you searching for job?).

If you see huge triangular tower with wheel on the top – it is a mine. This is what construction you should look for (not working mine).

If the wheel is going round – it is a working mine.

Find a miner (attribute: dirty hands and face, overalls, helmet, long boots), made a picture with him and then show to your friends.

Though if you are not attracted of high salary of miners, but still you are interested, go to Tarnowskie Gory and visit real mine, which stopped work more than 50 years ago. Read our article.

2. UFO

In 20 century UFO was flying above Earth. And in 1971 it arrived to Poland, in Katowice. Petrol finished and UFO is still here. Locals start to call it Spodek, what means Saucer.

It is a not-football stadium – an example of communist period flight of imagination.

If you make photo here – this mean you were in Katowice.

Football championship EURO 2012 madness.

Spodek is easy to find.

3. Colorful fountain

Near UFO you will see not less freak monument. I saw in different time this fountain with yellow, with red (actually it is a blood, and Dracula is from here) and with normal transparent water.

Fountain is situated at square near Spodek.

4. Nikiszowiec

For sure we will write big and full article about Nikiszowiec. It is a place with combined magic fairlytale and getto athmosphere. It is heighborhood built for miners in beginning of 20 century.

Maria and I – we live in Nikiszowiec. Here is a view from our flat.

To come to Nikiszowiec you should take bus N 30 or N 12 from city center and go 20 min.

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