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


“Katowice – city of gardens” – official slogan of the city. Garden could be also artificial

Flowers are blooming in Katowice.

Come to Rondo near Spodek and see around sometimes colorful foutain the gigantic air flowers. Or are they Palms? Or Echinacea?






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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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Częstochowa. Trip to north of Silesia

Czestochowa (Pol. Częstochowa) is sittuated here.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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