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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Katowice

This time we’d like to invite you on a trip to explore fun facts about the city of Katowice. How many of these are new for you?
Check how well you know Katowice and discover the city with us.

1. Katowice is the youngest provincial capital in Poland

Although neighborhoods like Dąb or Bogucice date back to the 13th century, Katowice only officially became a town in the 19th century (exactly in 1865). That seems like nothing compared to the histories of Kraków, Gdańsk, or Wrocław, but the city is catching up with the change and growth. Looking at Katowice today, we have the impression that the 19th-century industrial development was nothing compared to the pace at which the city is developing today with respect to technology and financial services. Let’s keep it up, Katowice!

2. Our metropolitan area is inhabited by over 2 million people

Katowice is the center of the Silesian metropolitan area that since 2017 includes 41 local cities. That’s the biggest metropolitan area in Poland, with a population even bigger than the capital of Poland, Warsaw. What’s also important, even the most distant places located 50 km from Katowice have convenient road and public transport connections with Katowice. That provides a lot of possibilities for all residents of our metropolitan area.

3. The Tysiąclecie Estate was built over an almost 40 year period

The construction of the biggest estate in Katowice – the Tysiąclecie estate – started in 1961. The last building, one of the famous Corn Cobs, was only finished in 2000. At that time the Corn Cobs also used to be the tallest residential buildings in Poland.
If you’d like to learn more about the particular architecture of Katowice, head to this article.

4. There were more than 50 coal mines in Katowice

Not without reason, Katowice is still associated with heavy industry and coal. 

The major part, the mines, were developed in the 19th century and they prospered successfully until the 1980s. Due to the restructuring of the industry, most of the mines were closed (currently, there are only 3 still mining in the city).

Fortunately, many of the post-mining areas have been successfully redeveloped and their history is a nice background for new projects and initiatives. Specifically, for example, the Katowice Culture Zone and the Silesian Museum, founded in the area of a former “Katowice” coal mine.

5. The Spodek Arena was going to be located in… the Silesian Park

At the very first stage of designing Spodek, the idea was to build the arena next to the already existing Planetarium. But the design was too innovative and too bold to be hidden somewhere in the woods. Some of the most prominent architects of that time decided to move it to the city center so everybody could admire the building. And that was a good decision! Today, we couldn’t imagine the city panorama without the characteristic building on the horizon.

6. NOSPR is the biggest concert hall in Poland

1800 – this is the actual number of seats in the NOSPR main auditorium. The National Forum of Music in Wrocław has the same number of seats, but we find NOSPR exceptional not only because of the size, but also the acoustical quality. The acoustics of the place, said to be among the best in the world, were supervised by Japanese master Yasuhisa Toyota from Nagata Acoustics.

7. The biggest private art gallery in Poland is located in Katowice

Here we go back to the mining roots of the city. In the old shaft of the “Wieczorek” coal mine, there’s the Wilson Shaft Gallery.
​​Currently, the gallery hosts all types of exhibitions and expositions. Its owners seek to promote young artists and present independent art.
Wilson is also one of the must-see places on the Silesian Monuments Route that we recommended to you last autumn. Maybe this season will be a good time to visit the route? Here you have our guide.

8. Almost 50% of Katowice is green

Really? But Katowice is the capital of such a large metropolitan area, right? Sure! And still, 42% of the total area of the city is forests and the remainder is parks. You may probably already know from our previous posts that Katowice is the second greenest city in Poland. And that’s the news we’re really proud of and we want to keep on repeating. The season is still on, so enjoy it with our touristic guides. They are all available here.

9. Katowice has its own Five Ponds Valley

Almost every resident of Katowice knows the Three Ponds Valley. But have you ever heard about the Five Ponds Valley? It’s located in the neighborhoods of Szopienice and Burowiec and includes the 3 Hubertus Ponds, the Morawa Pond, and the Borki Pond. In the next few years, the area can be as popular as the well-known “Sztauwajery”. The city is already working on a large green project to make this place a recreational area. The work has begun in 2023.

10. Katowice is called the Polish Las Vegas

Well, at least it was 60 years ago. Why? If you read our article about Katowice’s neon signs you probably know what we mean. If not, let us explain it briefly: in the 50s and 60s, Katowice was the most neon illuminated city in Poland. And now the trend is coming back and the neon signs are back on the city streets. Perhaps Polish Las Vegas will no longer just apply to the past?

Which of these fun facts surprised you most? Is there anything you already knew before?

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