Saturday, 5 January 2019

Modern face of Katowice

Although we have already been in Katowice, we did not manage then to visit the modern city center. So this time I will show you the contemporary cultural area of the Upper Silesia capital.

When you ask anyone in Poland about the first idea that comes to their minds when they hear of Katowice they will tell you about coal mining. It is absolutely true, but due to climate influence part of the mines has been already closed and the main one, the Katowice Coal Mine, was changed into a museum.

The highest and the most important building of the Silesian Museum is the Warszawa mine shaft.

It has been converted into an observation deck. Unfortunately, it is closed in winter time. The surrounding buildings contain industrial history exhibition.

More modern buildings contain a huge art collection. On this map you can locate all the buildings of the Silesian Museum.

Just next to the museum there is another cultural temple - Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra itself was created in 1935 and revived just after Second World War. Its contemporary seat was founded in 2012 and completed in 2014. It contains a main concert hall with a seating capacity of 1800 and a smaller one for 300 guests. It is among the largest and most modern music venues in Poland and the world. The building was designed by Polish architect Tomasz Konior and his team, while the acoustics of the concert hall were designed by world-renowned Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota

Just a few hundred meter further one can find another architectural symbol of the city - Spodek. In Polish it means a saucer, which refers to a flying saucer since its iconic shape resembles a UFO. The architects of Spodek, designed it as one of the first major structures to employ the principle of tensegrity. The roof uses an inclined surface held in check by a system of cables holding up its circumference.

Spodek was built from 1964 till 1971, and as described above, was given to the Polish Nation in 50th anniversary of the Third Silesian Uprising. It can hold around 11,500 people and until 2014 was the biggest indoor venue in Poland . It hosted world championships in ice hockey, volleyball, handball, WTA tenis tournaments and many music concerts.

The last symbol of Katowice on our path is the Silesian Insurgents' Monument. It was built to commemorate those who took part in the three Silesian Uprisings of 1919, 1920 and 1921, which aimed to make the region of Upper Silesia part of the newly independent Polish state after First World War.

The monument was unveiled on 1 September 1967. The wings symbolize the three uprisings, and the names of places where battles were fought are etched on the vertical slopes.

I hope that you have enjoyed our cultural trip of contemporary Katowice.