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Have you ever heard of Upper Silesia?

24 kwietnia 2014

Upper Silesia.

Maybe you have heard of it.

But when and what?

Upper Silesia is a region, of which quite recently it was difficult to hear one good word. Strong stereotype of industrial area, contaminated, black and sad persisted through the years of change.

Indeed, it used to be full of mines, and housewifes considered it almost a full-time job to clean windows, wash curtains, and many tenement houses still look more like burnt, with they creamy-colour disappeared under dust noone remembers when… But the dusty times have finished something like 20 years ago. The stereotype, unfortunatelly, still exists.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUpper Silesia – a huge mine in the south of Poland?

And in the meanwhile – Katowice, one of the main cities in this highly urbanized region is the second city in Poland in terms of afforestation. Just go a little outside the city centre to find out that Katowice is not just blocks and old mine shafts, but also greenness, lakes, and even rare species of wild plants!

In Mikołow – a city bordering Katowice, there is a huge, over 120 hectares (about 310 acres) large Silesian Botanical Garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Silesian Botanical Garden in Mikołów.

For several years in the region there has been a strong emphase on the culture. In September 2012 a modern library of the University of Silesia and the University of Economics in Katowice was opened. Renovated building of the Silesian Philharmonic was opened anew just at the end of March 2014. In the forthcoming days there are going to be opened new headquarters of the Silesian Museum – built on the site of a former „Katowice” coal mine, brand new building of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and complementing the whole area – the International Congress Center. All three objects on the so-called Axis of Culture, next to one of the icons of Katowice – Spodek sports and show arena.

Silesians were considered for many years (often also by themselves) as dupowaty. That not very nice concept can be translated as a combination of a lack of confidence, shyness, apathy. Today – like the whole Silesia, they are changing in, we can say – the opposite of dupowatość attribute of character. Exponentially grows number of publications on Silesia. There was created a primer in the Silesian godka, that is the Silesian etnolect, by some considered to be the dialect of the Polish, by others as a separate language. Numerous associations dealing with regional issues are formed. People say about the phenomenon called „Silesian awakening”, which can be apparently noticed in the recent years.

Silesians derive from their good attributes, such as diligence. Entrepreneurship flourishes in the region, and work with the Silesians is usually pure pleasure.

After years of negligence, there is discovered and appreciated what creates special richness of the land, such as post-industrial facilities. A few years ago there was created the Industrial Monuments Route of the Silesian Voivodeship. Many objects are modernised, and the route day called – Industriada – every year gains more deserved popularity.

The historic district Nikiszowiec in Katowice gets rid of an opinion, that you should not there appear without a bodyguard. It becomes almost a cultural centre of the city. Zimbardo’s Center, an affiliate of the Katowice Historical Museum, excellent cafes and a number of cultural events probably goes wildest expectations of those who were griping at that place. The neighbouring district – Giszowiec, partially saved form the demolition in the 70-ties of the 20th century finally starts to be considered again as a unique place, built according to the concept of the garden city.

Kaufhaus complex was renovated in Ruda Śląska. It is there (yes, there!) where the oldest department store in Europe is situated, older than London’s Harrods.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindergarten in Giszowiec (nowadays – one of the districts in Katowice.
Formerly – the site of the administrator of the whole colony.

In the region we have a radio tower in Gliwice – the tallest wooden building in the world. One of the biggest (ongoing discussion, if the largest) urban park in Europe. And a lot of other unique places, monuments, phenomena. Culinary tradition cultivated cultivated for many years. Silesian specific ethos. Importance of family.

Is Upper Silesia is a heaven on Earth? Of course, not. But if you have heard that it is dusty hell, do not believe it. Hard industry times have passed by. Entrepreneurship, music, and all kinds of culture blossom here beside large areas of forests.

The Three Ponds Valley (Dolina Trzech Stawów) in Katowice. About 3 km form the very centre of the city.
Maybe you woluld like to come and see what we have here?
you are welcome to write me for some tips.

From → English, Różne

One Comment
  1. Super blog!!! zapraszam do mnie podobna tematyka:) pozdrawiam:)


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