Tourism in Poland

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KATOWICE - the most underrated city in Poland!

For years probably no one has considered Katowice as an interesting tourist destination and a perfect weekend getaway in Poland. Very often Katowice is considered as a dull and grey city where the industry took over and where nothing interesting could be found. Nothing more wrong to think:)!

Katowice is the capital and largest city of Silesian Voivodeship. The largest urban center in the Silesian Metropolis, Katowice stands with a population of over 300,000 in the city itself, and over 2.1 million in the surrounding metropolitan area.

What is worth seeing in Katowice?

Silesian Museum – one of the top Polish museums

A first stop in Katowice should be the Silesian Museum and probably it is one of the best starts a visitor can ask for. The museum was founded in 1929 but only last year it got its new location in the grounds of the former coal mine 'Katowice'. For the person who doesn’t know much about the region it’s a perfect introduction to the history of the city and Silesia.

Katowice was first mentioned at the end of the 16th century but the real boom came in the 19th century when the railway line connecting Myslowice with Wroclaw was led through Katowice. This brought the industry to the city, especially steal and mining.

For years Katowice and the whole Silesia region was the driving force of the Polish economy, with all the ups and downs. But that’s when the Silesian Museum comes in very handy as you can get into the details at the exhibition showing the history of the city and region over the years. This museum is considered one of the top ones, being interactive, interesting and educational and showing what a unique and complex region it is. To make things even better Silesian Museum can offer much more than just the amazing history lesson! A lot of beautiful paintings by some of the best Polish artists can be admired there, such as Matejko, Wyspianski, Malczewski. A grand final of the visit at the Silesian Museum is a viewing platform located on the top of the mineshaft, offering amazing views of the city. Already there you can notice that Katowice is so much more than the rumors say!

Culture Zone – probably the best place in Katowice

Silesian Museum is part of so called Culture Zone, spreading in the center of Katowice and being a perfect example of the revitalization of the urban grounds.

Other cities in Poland and beyond should learn from Katowice, they certainly did this project right! Besides the Museum grounds the Culture Zone consists of headquarters of NOSPR (Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra), the International Conference Center and Spodek – the spaceship. Only the last one, a beautiful, huge and just different than anything else, brutalism architecture, has been the part of Katowice cityscape for years – 45 to be exact – being the symbol of the city and the region, known all over the country. Remaining buildings are new, designed in the modern way, referring to the city’s best features such as Nikiszowiec. Altogether Culture Zone makes a perfect place to spend free time at and relax, either at one of numerous cultural events or just hanging out, sitting on the rooftop of ICC and enjoying the place.

Surprising, laid-back Katowice

Very often people think that cool places in Katowice are only in the Zone of Culture and they are so wrong. Not an old leisure spot was opened in the very center of the city, with palm trees, sun beds and a small pond. It looks beautiful! On hot days in the summer youngsters play in the water, other people can sunbathe, read, just spend time with friends and just enjoy the beautiful weather. After being here a person can realize that Katowice must be a great place to live. No one is in a hurry, everyone seems to be in a good mood, local people hang out in the very center and relaxed. Simply, a good, laid-back and creative vibe in the air can be sensed. So what is Katowice? A random neon sign, a pedestrian street with countless pubs and cafes, amazing street art here and there. You can explore the center of Katowice with the jaw dropped, not recognizing the city that used to be years ago.

Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec – real gems of Katowice

If you ask local people which place you cannot miss when you visit Katowice they will most likely point you to Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec, two workers’ quarters located at the eastern outskirts. They were both built at the beginning of the 20th century, for workers of the nearby mines and they couldn’t be any more different! While Nikiszowiec is all made of red brick and full of tenant houses, Giszowiec was created as a garden city with small, different houses, each designed for two families. Both settlements are beautiful and charming. Nikiszowiec feels like it’s a city on its own, like it has everything a resident might need: a church, a shop, numerous workshops, a tavern or a cafe. Even if all the houses look the same at first after a while you realize they are not. A tiny detail that differ houses from each other are front doors – they were designed like that on purpose so men, after a night at the tavern, would find their home easily:). Clever, huh?

Katowice – ‘the night life’

Katowice just needs to be seen at night (the nightlife must be checked out on famous Mariacka street or one of the cultural events/concerts that take place). As for the city that was supposed to have not much to offer it can surprise you by giving a really busy time exploring and discovering Katowice. And definitely one day is not enough to see and fully understand the place. More and more people tend to visit Katowice and rave about it awesomeness afterwards. We hope that you will happily join this trend and we are looking forward to the next chance to visit Katowice and get to know it even better!

Parks in Katowice

A unique historical site can be seen on the territory of Kosciuszko Park. The Church of St. Michael the Archangel is located here. It is the oldest building in the city. The church was transferred to the park in 1938. It was built in 1510 and served for more than 400 years, as a parish church in the village of Syrynia. This location today is one of Katowice's most visited parks, greatly influenced by English garden layouts. Within the park is the Katowice Parachute Tower, built in 1937 and originally used as a training ground for parachutists.

Silesian Park on the borderline of Katowice and Chorzow. This beautifu; park is almost 2x bigger than New York's Central Park. In the park there are several restaurants and cafes, a zoo, a planetarium, an ethnographic museum, and a gondola "Elka." In 1989 when the communist regime crumbled, the park began a period of stagnation. However, WPKiK has been on the rebound since it became a public enterprise subsidised by the state budget in 2003, and today is on the way to re-establishing itself as one of southern Poland’s biggest tourist attractions. The last several years have seen an official name change to the much more parsable ‘Silesia Park,’ world-class rides added to the Legendia amusement park, as well as the opening of parks for more popular modern pursuits including the rope park and dirt bike course. Silesian Stadium (Stadion Slaski) – one of the first attractions to open in WPKiK in the 50s – has been totally modernised, and numerous new restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels continue to open in and around the park.

Today the attractions of Silesia Park stand in a state of transition between faded communist funpark and modern wonderland, making a visit all the more unique. The contrast is most evident in the Legendia amusement park, where original rides and games from its opening days are still in use. There can be no doubt that Silesia Park has the potential to develop into one of the greatest parks in all of Europe; and in the heart of Upper Silesia, no less. Enjoy it.

Not far away from Katowice, but definitely worth seeing.

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Devoted to the memory of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum displays arguably the most devastating concentration camp in world history. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the camp, which served as the major site of the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish question." More than a million people died here between 1942 and 1944, most in the camp's gas chambers. Finish your visit at the train ramp where thousands of prisoners from all over Europe disembarked for the final time.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Best known as the site of one of the world's oldest salt mines, Wieliczka receives nearly a million visitors each year. Located just a short drive from Krakow's city center, the World Heritage-listed mine remained in operation for over seven centuries, finally shutting down in 2007. Today, the mine serves as a museum, allowing visitors to explore a ghostly underground world of elaborate salt chambers and deep pits hand-carved by generations of miners. Wieliczka itself remains a compact town within Krakow's metropolitan area, featuring several architecturally significant wooden churches designated as national historic monuments. Wieliczka is in Lesser Poland Province.

Jasna Gora (Czestochowa)

Make a pilgrimage to one of the spiritual capitals of the Polish people, Jasna Gora. The church is home to the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, said to have special powers and thought to perform miracles. The monastery's spires and romantic architecture make an impressive sight on the open land where it stands. Thousands of pilgrims travel to the site in groups every year to honor the sacred objects, some crossing 350 km (217 mi) in 11 days to reach the monastery; you may catch a view of the procession. Even when visitors are in the thousands, the interior of the complex remains quiet. Pilgrims often fall on their knees in reverence as part of the tradition of honoring the Madonna.

Cracow - Slavic Rome

One of Poland's oldest cities, Krakow sits at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, its historical town center nestled on the left bank of the Vistula River. Home to over a million people, the city features 18 distinct boroughs, each claiming considerable autonomy and boasting its own particular character. Krakow's old town, a World Heritage Site, represents the historical heart of the city and contains its most significant architectural treasures. Evolved from a small Stone Age settlement, this booming city now serves as one of central Europe's major hubs of culture, education, and commerce. A growing favorite with foreign foodies, Krakow offers a diverse restaurant scene, its old town alone featuring hundreds of pubs and restaurants.

Zakopane - Winter Capital of Poland

Home to Poland's indigenous Goral people, Zakopane sits at the foothill of the Tatra Mountains, an area serving as one of the country's most fashionable year-round vacation getaways. The town became a major health resort in the 19th century. Known for its unspoiled natural scenery, and serving as a huge draw for ardent hikers and skiers, Zakopane also features some of Europe's finest wooden mountain villas, many of them masterpieces by architect Stanislaw Witkiewicz. Although it experienced a major construction boom in the second half of the 20th century, Zakopane retains much of its small-town feel, resembling more an expanding village than a major city. Zakopane is in Lesser Poland Province. Plan the details of your Zakopane holiday and any onward adventuring with our easy-to-use.



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