Katowice. I’m not gonna lie to you. I never liked this city. When I used to travel through Poland because of my job, Katowice was one of the places that I liked the least. I loved charming Torun, Trojmiasto with a magical old town, and Wroclaw, full of students. Cosy Olsztyn and Poznan’s colorful main square, but Katowice??? There’s nothing there! There’s no place to go in the evening, and even as soon as you leave the train station, you feel this kind of overwhelming misery.
A year ago, I realized that I was mistaken for the first time. I was on my way to Chorzow. I left the train in Katowice and saw a new train station. This time around, we went to get to know Katowice a little bit better… and now I know that Katowice can be amazing! It’s full of magic, good atmosphere and flavors. If you never appreciated it, just like we never did, it’s a perfect moment to change it! To spend a weekend in Silesia and see that it’s really not that grey and dark. You ready? 🙂
I’ll tell you one thing – there are way more places to see in Katowice and its neighborhood, but if you don’t have much time, check out the ones we’re about to tell you about! 🙂 We will be back for more!
Find a map and go!
A good start for exploring. Start your day off in Nikoszowiec, and I’m sure your weekend will be alright. Nikiszowiec is full of amazing old houses made of red brick, cosy streets, backyards where time has stopped, and that red brick looks beautiful mixed with green trees and blue skies.
Nikiszowiec used to be a neighborhood for the working class, built for colliers from Gieshe maine between 1908 and 1918. The name was inspired by the nearby ‘Nikischschacht’ mineshaft neighborhood. Nikiszowiec has been listed as an object of cultural heritage since 1978, and president Bronislaw Komorowski named it a Historic Monument in 2011.
You could walk and walk its streets all day, and still discover new places. You should go see the church’s surroundings, or leave Nikiszowiec and walk to the nearby Muzeum Szyb Wilson in an old maine. It’s quiet, empty and cosy. Nikiszowiec is so magical, it’s strange that there are no groups of foreign tourists there.
Plan your second breakfast or early lunch in the legendary Cafe Byfyj. There are lots of cakes to choose from, great strawberry sweet rolls and Silesian dumplings or bacon with apple and potatoes for lunch. If you sit outside and appreciate the sun and see beautiful views of Nikisz, you’ll have a perfect time.
Silesian Museum and Culture Zone surrounding it can be seen as a symbol of changes that have been happening in Katowice for the past few years. The museum looks very modern and is located in a place of an old Kopalnia Wegla Kamiennego Katowice, which had functioned for 170 years, up until 1999.
Its architecture is impressive on its own. Museum buildings with an almost see-through elevation, and on the other side, an old mineshaft – right now it’s an observation tower. There are also old buildings made of red brick. There are a lot of exhibitions in the museum, but we focused on watching the views from the observation tower with Jagoda. You can see a few key Katowice buildings: NOSPR (Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra), International Congress Center, Superjednostka and Spodek. In NOSPR, there’s a concert hall for about 2 thousand people, and our friends told us that it has perfect acoustics. Superjednostka is a gigantic building with 762 apartments in it! Build in the 70’s, it used to be almost like a small city – you could find everything in there! And I guess Spodek doesn’t need introduction 🙂
What’s interesting, Silesian Museum harks back to its past – coal maine – exhibitions can be watched up to 14 meters underground. You will find both modern and traditional art there. Educational rooms, a corner for kids – we’ll come back for more. The maine area, where the museum is now, NOSPR and Congress Center are the Culture Zone.
Culture Zone is where you’ll find another reason to go to Katowice, and to do it between July 6th and 9th. During that period of time, there’s an electronic music festival called Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice happening near Silesian Museum. It’s a perfect date because this is when summer starts, and it should always start in a cool way!
TNMK festival has been happening for 11 years! It focuses on modern music between jazz and electronic music. You can check out the line-up HERE.
We’d love to see Roisin Murphy and Fisz, but such events are attractions on their own for us! Yes – we’d always go to festivals; yes – we’ll be at TNMK. The opening and the closing concerts will take place in NOSPR – we’ll see how good its acoustics really is!
Good news is, you can go to the festival with your kids – there will be a Kid Zone. Kids under 10 years old can enter the festival for free. The Zone will be open on Friday (July 7th) and Saturday (July 8th) from 5 to 10 PM. Kids older than 4 can be left with kindergarteners 🙂 I don’t know about your kids, but our Maks loves such attractions – he could not be comforted when his time of playing in a corner for kids in IKEA was up lately 😉 Of course, there will be food trucks and other festival attractions there.
I would always hear about Nikiszowiec and I wanted to go there, but never in my life have I heard about Giszowiec. It’s another district of Katowice, not that far from Nikiszowiec. You don’t expect it to be the way it is! Small houses, old villas and green surroundings. A perfect place for walking!
5) LOCAL TREATS
While going to Silesia, we knew we had to eat lots of local treats. I finally got to express my love for Silesian dumplings! You definitely should eat Silesian dumplings and red cabbage roll-up – sometimes it’s available in Cafe Byfyj in Nikiszowiec. You have to go to Żurownia! It’s a small bar where not only typical Silesian dishes are served, but everything connected with żur (sour flour-based soup). Aside from soup, order braty, which means fried potatoes with onion and bacon. Delicious! Try Grubiorz and Kulebele. Kulebele is about variations of the most important Silesian dish – huge Silesian dumplings with roll-ups inside. It’s served with red cabbage and zasmażana kapusta. Warn you: you might be full till night! 🙂
We’ll see other places next time: Moodro (right next to Silesian Museum) and KAFEJ cafe, where you can eat the best maszkiets, or so we’re told! Do you know what maszkiets are? I do now 🙂
Go to Katowice to find out! 🙂
*this post was co-created with Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice
** pictures of Tauron Nowa Muzyka are official festival press photos