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The Silesian Museum and a walking tour of downtown Katowice

Deep underground, in the adits and shafts of a former coal mine in the heart of Katowice, the extraordinary history of Upper Silesia is told. A visit to the modern building of the Silesian Museum will be the best start for you to explore the capital of a region whose history has been marked by the rise and fall of big industry – and the fresh energy of recent years.

The Silesian Museum’s main exhibition, with the help of numerous original exhibits and multimedia, tells the story of a megalopolis now inhabited by more than 3 million people.

The trail will lead you from the lost steam engine from Tarnowskie Góry – the first in Europe outside of Great Britain to symbolically launch industry in Upper Silesia, through the times of national animosity and Polish-German rivalry, the formation of own Silesian identity and the disappointing years of communism, to the contemporary fashion for everything that is Silesian.

The Silesian Museum is part of an acclaimed revitalization project undertaken by the Katowice authorities several years ago.

The 10-hectare degraded area of a former mine has become a Culture Zone. From the 40-meter-high former shaft, which can be accessed by elevator, you will see the green turf-covered International Congress Center building, inscribed into the terrain and covered with green turf, which hosts international fairs and events, and the brick block of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The hall, known for its excellent acoustics, regularly hosts the world’s best classical music performers. The architecture of the Culture Zone has scooped many awards in international competitions.

Right next to the Silesian Museum and the Culture Zone you will see another symbol of Katowice – the monumental “Spodek” performance hall. This gem of modernism in architecture by its shape and name refers to…. a spaceship. “Spodek” was built in the 1960s, on the site of a former mining heap, at a time when the communist authorities wanted to make Upper Silesia a showcase of the new Poland. And up close and from afar the hall does indeed look like a UFO. Close encounters with paranormal reality nearby not impossible!

The downtown area of Katowice extends south of the “Spodek”. Following Wojciech Korfanty Avenue you will reach the market square, around which you will find fashionable restaurants and souvenir stores. However, a visit to the capital of Upper Silesia would be incomplete without a visit to the historic working-class Nikiszowiec district. We write more about it here.


More about Silesian Museum

Website of Silesian Museum