Capital of the Silesian Voivodeship region, Katowice is made up of modern European style buildings interspersed with older buildings constructed in the now unpopular ‘communist’ style. The city was founded upon heavy industry, and especially coal mining and steel works. These industries flourished right up to the inter-war period. However, they were exploited and mismanaged during the Second World War and went on to become the site for strikes that contributed to the fall of communism. Today the city is very forward-looking, and is making endeavours to expand its economy away from a dependency on heavy industry. The inhabitants do their best to welcome anyone from the West with free-flowing vodka!


The Spodek (meaning saucer, with reference to its unusual shape), completed in 1971, is a multi-purpose venue including ‘The Sports-Show Hall’, an 11,000 capacity music venue, a gym and an ice rink. It is an important centre of culture for Katowice, hosting music, sporting, and business events. Right next to The Spodek, the imposing Silesian Insurgents Monument is worth a look. It was erected in 1967 to commemorate the Silesian Uprisings (1919-21).

The city’s has many museums that are well worth a visit, including The Silesian Museum, which contains a great deal of information and artefacts relating to the local region’s history. There are also some rather more obscure locations, such as the Museum of the Fire-Protection that are also entertaining.

The city hosts numerous galleries that display a wide range of art. The Art Exhibition Office is home to the surprisingly named 'Black Hole' which showcases the work of the best young Poles.

If you’re more of an outdoors person, the city encompasses a number of parks. The Jerzy Zietek Park of Culture and Recreation includes a zoo, amusement park, rose garden and outdoor pursuits centre (with its own accommodation complex). The majority of the city congregate here at weekends.

Będzin Castle, (a bus ride from the city centre) is certainly worthy of a visit. The town of Będzin was the scene of major unrest during the Second World War, when the Nazis destroyed the town’s Synagogue, and sent many Jewish inhabitants to Auschwitz.


Unless you wish to purchase some everyday genuine Polish home ware, shopping opportunities can be limited. However, there are four large shopping centres housing large department stores and smaller service outlets. A collection of smaller shops in the centre trade in modern and pre-war art.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Polish cuisine can be interesting and varied, and those with a yen for soups and beetroot will do well! However, few meals are geared towards vegetarians. Each course is traditionally washed down with vodka. It is sometimes hard to escape the wainscot panelling, but a few of the more upmarket hotels have a classy atmosphere.

Nightlife in Katowice can be fairly restrained. There are some nice bars attached to the modern train station and some of the initially gloomy looking basement bars can be good fun.

Tourist Information

40-098 Katowice, ul. Młyńska 2. May to October: Monday-Friday 10a.m –6p.m, November to April: Monday-Friday 9a.m-5p.mTelephone +48 (0)322 593 808ciom@um.katowice.plwww.um.katowice.pl


There are regular flights to major cities in Greece, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and Ireland. The airport is 34km from the centre and linked by a regular shuttle bus service. There are also a few lounges, one restaurant and a chapel. See: www.gtl.com for more information