Silesia explorer

Blog about tourist places, travelling in Upper Silesia, Poland

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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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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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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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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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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