I spent part of my childhood and youth in Śląsk (Silesia), it’s a province in the south of Poland. As I wasn’t born there, there were some aspects which always attracted my interest: the regional history, the industrial character of the region and their regional dialect (gwara śląska). I left this part of Poland in my early twenties to go study in the Czech Republic and then in the UK. These days, every time I re-visit this region, I’m more and more fascinated by the changes that have been made, in terms of new cultural establishments, improvements in the urban landscape and the rich cuisine on offer. I think I feel like my uni professor from Prague who, after living her whole life in architectonically diverse Prague, came to work in Śląsk, found an architectural relief and was fascinated by the industrial character of the region. So who knows, maybe I’ll inspire you to travel to this part of Poland!
Let’s start with the oldest part of Katowice (Katowice being the capital of Śląsk). It’s a more than one hundred years old settlement built originally for coal miners. The houses called familoki (in German Familien-Block), with red windows, were built for workers and their families. Even though this part of Katowice seems so beautiful, quiet and overall unreal, people actually still reside there. The perfect place for a slow walk to discover its uniqueness and beauty.
If we’re in Nikiszowiec, we need to try some amazing food from Café Byfyj. I don’t go out so often and if I do, I try to visit places that respect our planet and choose sustainable, fresh and local products. The food here was delicious and what’s more, the service was amazing: kind and friendly.
Is there a better place to build a museum in industrial Śląsk than on the grounds of the former mine? Yes, in 2015 Muzeum Śląskie opened its new site which was built on the former Katowice mine. It’s now conveniently located in the centre of Katowice in Śląsk. It has art galleries, museum rooms, cafes and restaurants, and a library. I found the whole site beautifully rebuilt and was fascinated by the presentation of the history of Śląsk. I was impressed to see some paintings by well-known Polish artists.
That’s the story of my sentimental travel to Poland. Have you visited an important/inspiring place recently? Please let me know in the comments below.