Katowice Travel Blog› entry 59 of 88 › view all entries
We finally arrived at around 3 in the afternoon, parked, wandered around a little, and finally found a hotel. This is industrial, coal mining Poland complete with sooty buildings, but also has some cool places to check out. Called Stalinograd during Stalin’s time, Katowice has particularly interesting buildings dating from the years between the wars and a wooden church from 1510 that was moved here from a Silesian village.
The Hotel we finally picked out (actually we only saw two), called “Hotel Katowice” is straight out of the 70s and will be just fine for the night. No problem finding a vacant room in Katowice. I think it would only be a problem if there was a big concert or event going on in the “Hala Spodek” which is one of the biggest concert venues in Poland.
After checking in at the hotel, we saws a pretty evangelical church and then went to check out the “Hala Spodek” which was one of the first places that drew my attention. It looks like an enormous flying saucer (Spodek, by the way, is saucer in Polish). Construction on this place started with an architectural contest in 1959. Building works started in 1964 and the immense structure which has capacity for over 11000 people, was finally completed in 1971. The final cost of this was about 800 million zlotys. It was one of a number of projects promoted by Edward Gierek who was the first secretary of the communist party “Polish United Workers’ Party” at the time and who brought a lot of western financing of investment to Poland. This eventually led to problems due to a large accumulation of debt.
Close by there is a monument to the Silesian Uprisings (Powstañ Slaskich). From there we headed down Aleja W. Korfantego to the Rynek (main square) and then up a pedestrian street looking for a place for dinner. This is an interesting city. It has some beautiful buildings mixed with some horrendous Soviet constructions • including one of the most enormous housing tenements that I have ever seen (see the picture)
I saw enormous mountains of coal and coal dust piled up in different places along the way, no wonder there’s a lot of soot and grime on the buildings.
We found a very good place for dinner called Pub Pod Szafranem. We tried some Silesian dishes and had a nice dinner before finally heading back to the hotel.