Katowice is a relatively young city, but with great potential. Not so long ago, the city stereotyped by many as a symbol of Silesia: the place of heavy industry, coal and steel. In recent decades, Katowice has changed from an industrial city to a modern capital of a metropolis with 2 million inhabitants.
- Dynamic Region Center
The city is a driving force of changes in the region, focusing its attention on innovation and new technologies, business and creating modern office space. The city center turned into a modern business and exhibition space, thanks to which the city began to attract prestigious national events but also business ones.
- Festivals and concerts
Music lovers, theater fans and fans of unusual experiences every year go to the capital of the agglomeration to learn about current trends, listen to world stars and sense the unique atmosphere.
The city is also at the fore in the field of eco-responsibility. It was one of the first cities in Poland to introduce the Plan of Low Emission Economy, which contributed to the improvement of air quality and increased energy security. Other examples of pro-ecological activities in the city are the intensive development of the city bike network, the creation of special educational programs on ecology or work on improving waste management. Many visitors are surprised by the fact that Katowice is one of the greenest cities in Poland. Over 40% of its area is covered by forests. During the UN Climate Summit COP24 in Katowice, the city created the wcopdrzewo.katowice.eu application through which residents can indicate where to plant new trees.
Recently, the city has also focus on the development of hotel facilities, an integral part of the development of the meeting industry. Venues of various standard are available across the city alongside with international chains. Just to name few:
- Courtyard by Marriott Katowice (city center) ****
- Diament Plaza **** (downtown)
- Hotel Diament Arsenal Palace ****
- Park Hotel Diament****
- Park Inn by Radisson ****
- Vienna Hause ****
- QHotel Plus ****
The symbol of the city remains the historic building of the Monopol hotel, over 100 years old, revitalized in recent decades, and today it is a symbol of luxury in the city. In Katowice and the entire agglomeration there are also economy hotels of 3,2 and 1* level.
Year by year, the meetings and conferences industry in Katowice grows. This is the result of a consistent policy of business tourism development. The International Congress Center, opened in 2015, plays a significant role in this case, and together with the Spodek Arena it creates the largest conference complex in Poland. Of the cyclical events, it is enough to mention the European Economic Congress, i.e. the largest business event in Central Europe, the European Congress of Small and Medium Enterprises, gathering representatives of the most important sector of the Polish economy. One should not forget about the annual Intel Extreme Masters event, which is visited by 170,000 people every year. A confirmation of the strong position of Katowice on the business meetings market was the COP 24 – UN Climate Summit organised in 2018 and the World Anti-Doping Conference held in 2019.
The Convention Bureau Katowice provides substantive support.
Kitchen and restaurants
For centuries, the influences of Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany have mixed in Silesia, and numerous influences have shaped the multinational character of the region both in culture and “on the plate”.
- Silesia on a plate
The flagship dishes of Upper Silesia cuisine are beef roulade, Silesian dumplings and blue cabbage – associated with the miners’ cuisine, prepared for centuries on Sundays for family dinner.
For centuries, the high-calorie kitchen of workers and miners has dominated local cuisine. In Silesia, the population speaks dialect, and many popular dishes, also known in other parts of Poland, can be found in Katowice and the region under local names. The inhabitants of Silesia remain traditionalists, therefore Katowice is dominated by restaurants with traditional cuisine.
- Modern Trends
In recent years, modern trends have emerged in the menu of Katowice restaurants. In the city center and in revitalized facilities serving as business or commercial centers, we can find a wide range of restaurants, from traditional to modern cuisine. There are also clubs and bars with good music.
- The oldest part of Katowice
Katowice is a relatively young city – it received city rights in 1865. From that period, there are impressive town houses, industrialists’ seats (e.g. Goldstein’s Villa) and the oldest Katowice churches: Evangelical from 1858 and Catholic from 1870.
- Culture Zone
The Culture Zone is a new part of the city, established in recent years on the site of the former “Katowice” coal mine. After the mine was closed, three facilities were built here: the International Congress Center, the new seat of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra ( NOSPR) and the Silesian Museum complex. The whole is complemented by Spodek Arena, a sports and entertainment hall, which has been an architectural icon of Katowice for almost 50 years. The Culture Zone is a space that encourages people to spend time among greenery and avant-garde architecture. Visiting a museum or a concert in the NOSPR hall can be combined with a so-called A green valley on the roof of the ICC, admiring the panorama of the city from the former mine shaft tower, with a meal in one of the excellent dining options, or a rest in the nearby Bogucki Park.
- Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec
Katowice is a city whose history is inextricably linked with mining. It is worth visiting Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec – historic, over a hundred-year-old mining housing estates, places where today you can feel the atmosphere of old, industrial Silesia.
Nikiszowiec was built in the years 1908 – 1927 according to the design of Emil and Georg Zillmann. Residential and service buildings, the Neo-Baroque church of St. Anna and the buildings of the now closed “Wieczorek” mine form a coherent whole.
Another attraction is the Wilson Shaft Gallery, which exhibits works of contemporary art. Since 2011, Nikiszowiec has been entered on the list of Historical Monuments.
Giszowiec – is the picturesque settlement-garden-set up in the years 1907-1910 and was mainly inhabited by workers of the “Giesche” Coal Mine. Workers’ houses, built on the model of an old Upper Silesian country cottage, present an interesting architecture. The impressive buildings of the district also include the Silesian inn (now the Szopieniece- Gizowiec House of Culture),Gawlikówka Silesian Chamber (gallery with an exhibition of Edward Gawlik’s paintings), as well as the buildings of the forest inspectorate, schools and shops.
- Zinc Milling Plant
The plant, built by the Giesche concern, was an inseparable with the nearby mine. Today, almost two decades after the cessation of production, you can see the entire process of zinc sheet production, thanks to the original (and still working!) Devices from the beginning of the 20th century.
- Green City
Katowice is one of the greenest cities in Poland. Over 42% of the area is covered by forests, including the remains of the ancient Silesian Forest with two nature reserves: Ochojec and Murcki Forest. Active recreation in Katowice’s forests is facilitated by a network of hiking and biking trails, specially prepared tourist shelters, camping sites, and educational boards. There are also many parks in the city, the largest and most popular of which are Kosciuszko’Park and Valley of Three Ponds -“Dolina Trzech Stawów”
- Route of Modernism
The tourist route, which includes sites that represent the Katowice architecture of the 1920s. and 1930s. It consists of 16 modernist buildings located on the trail with a total length of 5.5 km. The visitors may admire historic villas, residential houses and estates, such as the building of the Silesian Parliament, or the garrison church of St. Casimir the Prince. Throughout the route, you will find info kiosks, thanks to which you can learn about the history of places in an attractive, multimedia way.
- Museum of Katowice History
The Museum of the History of Katowice is one of the most important institutions on the cultural map of Katowice. In the main building, located in one of the historic downtown tenement houses, you can visit, among others permanent exhibition “From the history of Katowice”, as well as various temporary exhibitions. The Department of Ethnology of the Nikiszowiec Settlement presents, among others, the interior of a traditional mining flat and the equipment of a former mangle. It is also worth visiting the departments devoted to outstanding artists from Katowice – Pawel Steller and Barbara and Stanislaw Ptaki.
- Guido Mine
One of the greatest attractions of Silesia. The revitalized mine is open to visitors. You can learn about the work of a miner and the functioning of a mine on several levels. The facility is perfectly prepared for the organization of events. The Saint Barbara level is located in the oldest area of the Guido Mine that is currently open. It includes historic excavations, technological chambers and stables – most of these rooms still have traces of the work of former miners and an authentic, mining atmosphere. This part is the deepest tourist route in Europe. In turn, one of the most interesting attractions of level 320 is the ride on the electric suspension railway. It is the only mining railway of this type in the world made available to tourists!
Incentive travel idea in Katowice
- Industrial trial
Learn about the industrial history of the city – Katowice, inherently associated with industry and coal mining will be an ideal setting to organise all kinds of activities on industrial routes: former factories, districts like Giszowiec and Nikiszowiec Settlements, e.g. role play of fictional groups based on industrial traditions located at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Culinary inspirations – meeting with the local cuisine in the form of workshops of making Silesian filled dumplings or preparing traditional dishes conducted in the Silesian dialect ( not spoken nor understood in any other part of Poland , visiting breweries.
- Sport activity
One of the largest European city parks, located on the border of Chorzow, Katowice and Siemianowice Slaskie. As much as 620 ha of forest and recreational areas is an ideal place to organize all kinds of sports activities and competitions: bicycles, kayaks, sports Olympics.
There are many historic buildings, such as the Palace in Pszczyna, Guido Mine, Silver Mine nearby Katowice, which can be used as an interesting scenery for the organization of the event of any kind.
- Silesian Traditions
Silesian traditions, meeting with a miner, St Barbara celebrations(St Barbara is a saint patron of polish miners), facing the local dialect will be an interesting experience for every visitor from outside the region.