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Top Attractions of Upper Silesia

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Silesia, a highly industrialized area, abounds in historical sights, where both tourists and locals can learn more on the history and culture of the region. There are also a lot of recreation areas which offer a lot of attractions. Top ones, worth paying a visit to, have been listed below. As these are both historic, cultural and sports related offers to cater for all ages and tastes.

    Eagle Nests Trail, Cracow - Czestochowa Jurassic Upland Chain

''Eagle Nests Trail'' is a series of 25 medieval castles, spread along the picturesque 163-kilometre-long route from Czestochowa to Cracow. Of all the ''Eagle Nests'' two most famous ones inlcude the Ogrodzieniec Castle, situated on the highest peak of the Cracow - Czestochowa Jurassic Upland, the Renaissance Castle of Pieskowa Skala in the Ojcowski National Park and the castles in Bedzin, Bobolice, Mirow and Olsztyn.Hiking along the marked paths and visiting the Jurassic castles and ruins are not the only activities one can engage in during their stay in the Polish Jura Chain. The unique terrain relief makes the area also attractive to rock climbers, quad riders and cyclists. As there are more things to do, approximately as many as 400,000 tourists visit the Cracow - Czestochowa Jurassic Upland Chain annually. For active leisure enthusiasts there are also15 hiking trails, 8 caves and 19 nature reserves. Those who do not feel fit enough for climbing, can take part in knight tournaments, concerts and other outdoor events which the Eagle Nests Trail castles frequently host. Come to admire the breathtaking beauty of the Jurassic landscape!

Black Trout Adit, Tarnowskie Góry

Tarnowskie Gory, in the northern part of the Upper Silesian Industrial Area, used to be famous for its lead and silver ores. In the 16th century it was the largest mining centre in Silesia. As the area was rich in the ore deposits, the mining industry developed till 1912. At the end of the 19th century, its 15-km-long adit was the longest in the area. Though no longer in operation, the Black Trout Adit is one of major tourist attractions in Silesia. The 600-metre-long part of an old mine, open to tourists since 1957, is only accessible by boats. The passage in the dark corridors of the drain adit, accompanied by colourful stories told by the guide, is an unforgettable experience!

Historical Mine of Silver, Lead and Zinc Ores, Tarnowskie Gory

Another site worth visiting is the Historical Mine of Silver, Lead and Zinc Ores is a unique monument of ore mines in Europe. It is an underground labyrinth of 150-km-long underground mining passageways, drifts and corridors. The Historical Mine of Silver, Lead and Zinc Ores is a precious relict of the rich mining traditions in the region of Tarnowskie Gory. Here one can learn about the hard work of the ore miners (called "gwarki") and see the partly flooded post-mine machines and drifts going along the 1700-metre-long tourist route, part of which is covered by boat. Going down in the pit-cage of the Aniol (Angel) shaft is also an exciting adventure.
Having visited the mine, one can enjoy a visit to the steam-driven machines in the open-air museum situated close to the Historical Mine of Silver, Lead and Zinc Ores. Definitely worth seeing!

Upper-Silesian Narrow-Gauge Railway, Bytom

If visiting Bytom and its environs, it is a good idea to take a ride on the Upper-Silesian Narrow-Gauge Railway train. This 755mm gauge railway is the oldest continuously-operating railway of this kind in the world. The historical route goes from Bytom to Tarnowskie Gory, Miasteczko Slaskie and Strzybnica. As the train runs through a lot of historic towns, including regional tourist attractions and picturesque landscapes, it is really a leisurely ride. Various routes are on offer. From May till September there is a tourist route from Bytom via Tarnowskie Gory to Miasteczko Slaskie. A must to all tourists in the area!

If you have more time to spare, see the other attractions of Bytom: the 75- year-old Old Town, the Classicistic Silesian Opera House, the historical cemetries (the Jewish Cemetery in Piekarska Street and the Mater Dolorosa - major necropolis of Bytom). If longing for active rest, visit all-year-round sports and recreation complex : Dolomites – Sports Valley (Dolomity – Sportowa Dolina) in Bytom – Sucha Gora.

Museum of Bread, Radzionków

The Museum of Bread is the only museum in Poland and in the eastern part of Europe which is devoted to bread-making traditions. The main attraction, apart from bread-making related exhibits, is an excellent opportunity given to the visitors to making and bake bread rolls while seeing the Museum of Bread. The museum plays an important education function. To teach, especially young people, the respect for bread and cultivate Polish bread-related traditions there are guided tours and special lessons for kids.One can also see thematic postcards, machines, devices, tools, bread and confectionery-related documents gathered by the museum owners for about 10 years. Come to bake your own bread!

Basilica of the Piekary God's Mother, Piekary Šl±skie

The major religious centre of Silesia is the Sanctuary of Mother of Justice and Social Love with the painting of Our Lady of Piekary in Piekary Slaskie. Since 1676 it has been one of the most significant pilgrimage destinations in Silesia. Most popular is the men\'s pilgrimage which takes place on the last Sunday of May. The picturesque location of the Piekary basilica, with its Calvary situated on a hill, makes it a perfect site for prayer, contemplation, meditation and rest. A perfect venue for a spiritual feast!

Voivodship Culture and Leisure Park, Chorzów

The Voivodship Culture and Leisure Park, spread along the area of over 600 ha, is the largest urban park in Europe. It is also one of the most popular parks in Upper Silesia. There are the following attractions to choose from:

- the Planetarium - the oldest and the largest one in Poland
- Fala (Wave) – a complex of seven outdoor swimming-pools (open in summer only)
- the Silesian Zoological Garden – spread over the area of 50 ha, with approximately 3,000 animals of 300 species of world fauna, is visited yearly by about 400,000 people
- the 19th century Heritage Park (Skansen) with the historical buildings typical of rural areas from the area of Upper Silesia and Dabrowskie Basin
-the Internet Meadow – a spacious green area with free internet access
- Kapelusz (Hat) Exhibition Hall, with the exposition area of 2,200 square meters, is a landmark of the Voivodship Culture and Leisure Park. It is most famous for such events as housing fairs, zoological fairs, flower shows, concerts, etc.
- the Silesian Amusement Park (Wesole Miasteczko)- with a heap of rollercoasters, merry-go-rounds, etc.
- the"Siđesian Stadium – the largest in Poland, visited by the football king Pele in 1960the Rosarium, occupying the area of 7 ha, is the pride of the Park. With its 30,000 roses, the Roasrium ranks amongst the most beautiful rose gardens in the world.
Another attraction is the Park Railway (from spring till late autumn) whose 4.2 km-long- route goes along the top attractions of the Culture and Leisure Park: the Silesian Amusement Park, the Zoo, the Planetarium, the Lania and Przystan Restaurants.
If too tired to walk along the Park, there is a a bird\'s eye view of the park on offer while going on ELKA- the only and the longest lowland cable railway in Europe. Unforgettable impressions and unique experience. Three routes to choose from:
  1. Silesian Stadium – Silesian Amusement Park (22 minutes\' ride)
  2. Silesian Amusement Park – Planetarium (17 minutes\' ride)
  3. Planetarium – Silesian Stadium (16 minutes\' ride).
For active rest fans there are also tennis courts, jogging routes, sleigh and skateboard tracks, etc.
Ideal recreation spot!

Bledow Desert, Chechlo

The only desert in Poland, often referred to as the Polish Sahara, is situated within the \'\'Eagle\'s Nest Trail\'\' between the towns of Chechlo, Klucze and Bledow (hence, its name). As the Bledow Desert is a sort of byproduct of the heavy development of mining and metallurgical industries and the deforestation of the area, it is not a desert in a strictly geographic sense. However, the unique landscape is worth seeing. In the early 19th century the Bledow Desert was over 80 square kilometres in size, whereas nowadays the area has shrunk to only 32 square kilometres, one third of which is only covered with sand. Nowadays the Bledow Desert is used as a military testing ground. See the only Polish desert!

Castle Museum, Pszczyna

The Castle of Pszczyna with its adjacent parks is one of the architectural pearls of Silesia. Its design changed over the centuries. The castle, once a 15th-century Gothic fortified structure, was turned into a Renaissance residence to become a three-wing Baroque palace in the 18th century. The final reconstruction works, based on the late 18th century French designs, included the erection of a vestibule with a three-flight stairway and a monumental dining room. Of all the castle proprietors the most prominent ones are the notable Hochbergs and Maria Theresa von Pless, also known as Daisy.
Since 1946 the castle houses a Museum, which is one of the most popular museum-residences in Poland. The Castle Musem is also one of the few museums which boasts the interiors with historical furnishings. For its meticulous recontruction, based on thorough historical research, the Castle has been awarded the Europa Nostra honourable diploma. Since 2001, on the 55th anniversary of the Museum establishment, new two exhibitions has been open to visitors, presenting the new acqusitions of the Castle Museum.
Not only the castle, but the English-styled landscape park, one of the most beautiful ones in Silesia, is a top tourist attraction as well.

Toszek Castle, Toszek

Toszek Castle, one of major cultural heritage pearls of Silesia, is situated in the western part of the Silesian Voivodship in the land province of Gliwice. Its history is closely connected with the history of the region. The castle is a unique Gothic monument. Once owned by the Piasts of Opole and notable families, the castle was visited by such prominent guests as German poets: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Joseph von Eichendorf. In the 1960s it was partly reconstructed. Nowadays the Toszek Castle houses the Municipal Culture Centre which is famous for its wide selection of tourist attractions. Regularly knight tournaments, concerts and other outdoor events are held in the Toszek Castle. This year's Middle Ages Day in the Toszek Castle attracted as many as over 5 thousand people. Other events include Celtic music and Irish dance workshops during the Midsummer Day and Oktoberfest. From May 1st till September 30th there are guided tours of the castle tower. There is also a Castle Cafe, Cafe Library with a free internet access. Come here to entertain yourself and learn about the history of Silesia!


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