Recently Katowice transformed from the dreary industrial city into a thriving metropolis and tourist destination. The old mines and factory buildings were adapted as the cultural center and the working-class quarters attract tourists seeking some of the industrial history of Upper Silesia. One of it is called Nikiszowiec and it is a good place to start Katowice sightseeing. Housing estate, which was founded for families of workers employed in the coal shaft Nickischschacht is now part of the Industrial Monuments Route and attracts many tourists.
In the three-storey houses there were flats of 63 sq. m - two rooms with kitchens. Buildings were connected by little bridges thrown over the street. At courtyards there were pigsties and ovens for baking bread. The center of this area is Plac Wyzwolenia (Liberation Square), where you can have a walk among well-preserved brick buildings.
Katowice are the heart of urban area located in south Poland. With 310,000 inhabitants it is the tenth biggest city in the country. At first sight it seems that the city has nothing interesting to offer. City, despite the fact that over the last several years there have been made big investment in the development of numerous tourist attractions, it is still associated with the industry. And not without reason - there are very well developed several branches as mechanical engineering, electrical and food. There is also 7 operating mines in the city. But the capital of Upper Silesia is more than just mine shafts and smog.
Cathedral of Christ the King is the largest cathedral in Poland, yet the project assumed even greater dimensions of the building. The Cathedral was built under strong pressure from the authorities between 1927-1955 year. You should see one of the concerts organized inside the cathedral, and hear for yourself its incredible acoustics. The “Spodek” Arena (“Saucer”) is the most famous entertainment and sports hall in Poland. The object name refers to its original shape, which resembles a UFO. In addition to the amazing architecture it is one of the first buildings in the world built in the tensegrity system. The hall can hold up to 11.5 thousand viewers. Events organized in this building are the largest in the country.
Downtown of Katowice
The central district of the city - Downtown, at the end of the nineteenth century was called "Little Paris".
You will find here Market Square, around which there are many historical buildings (mostly Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque decor). They were built in mid-nineteenth century. In the communist era unfortunately some of them were demolished in order to replace them with modern commercial buildings.
Scientific Information Centre and Academic Library are the perfect example of contemporary architecture of Katowice. The library is a must see object to see during your stay in Katowice. The building was a winner of Life in Architecture, and the Grand Prix for Best Architecture Object of twenty-first century given by one of presidents of Poland - Bronislaw Komorowski. Direct flights to Katowice offered by LOT Polish airlines make this city really easy to reach. If you still think that there is nothing interesting in this industrial city, you should buy your ticket immediately and see for yourself, that it has a lot to offer.
Katowice airport [KAT]
Whether you are going to capital of Upper Silesia for a business trip or just for fun it is worth to buy cheap tickets to Katowice by LOT Polish Airlines. Direct flights to Katowice airport are very comfortable. It is a great opportunity to use it as an interchange and fly further to one of many local or international destinations.
The full name of the airport is Katowice International Airport in Pyrzowice. Pyrzowice is a little town located 30 km north from the center of Katowice. At first it was constructed as a field airport for the German army in 1940. At the end of the War World II they were testing there Messerschmitt 163 rocket planes. After that for a brief time the airport was handed to the Soviet army. It was not until the early fifty when airport was transferred to the Polish army. The first passenger plane took off In 1966. Recently the airport is under constant development due to rapid grow of passengers traffic. The speedway S1 was opened in 2006 and a year later the second Terminal B was launched.
How to get to the airport
The cheapest way to get to the airport from Katowice is to take a public bus. Unfortunately cheapest in this case is not the best one. This journey takes almost 2 hours and you have to actually change the bus in a way. A little bit more expensive but definitely faster and more comfortable is to take a direct shuttle bus.
There are few companies to choose from and you can get directly to the center of Katowice and few other smaller cities. There is a good highway connecting airport with lots of different directions, so it is really easy to get there by car. Due to open in 2006 S1 expressway that connects the airport with national road no. 1 the airport can be reached efficiently and safely. There is also quite recently opened stretch of the A1 highway, which connects airport with the A4 highway. There are three parking lots at the airport. Parking 1 is located in front of terminals and the other two are near the cargo building.
The airport has three passenger terminals: Terminal A, B and C with a total capacity of 5.5 million passengers annually. At the airport there is the longest in Poland 180-meter observation deck fee (admission 1 PLN). There are all the facilities needed to spend comfortable time at the airport. You can use few currency exchange offices in Terminal A, as well as several cash machines. It is possible to use post office service here and if you are facing a long journey you can also take a shower. Like on many airports there is also a chapel and kid’s zone.
Of course you can do some shopping in duty free zone and eat in one of several cafes and restaurants. Interesting place to relax at the airport is Sky Gallery created by students from Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. The airport is being constantly developed so it is getting more comfortable and bigger every year. Cheap air tickets to Katowice make travelling easier and a lot of destinations closer than ever.
Although Katowice is not a tourist destination, the city authorities make every effort to change the image of this city and to promote its values, such as original examples of modern architecture. There are cheap air tickets to Katowice offer by LOT, which attracts many guests for business matters, as well as sightseeing or to attend a cultural events in the “Spodek” arena. This is an industrial area (mainly mining) - in the opinion of some even more than the British Midlands, the Ruhr ot the area of Lille in France. Coal production has been significantly reduced in recent years, however Katowice continue to be the main center for trade and academic in Silesia. This is why there is no problem to find a suitable accommodation for everyone.
Where to stay in Katowice
The capital of Upper Silesia is a popular destination amongst businessmen. A lot of conferences and events is organized here, so there some places to choose from. Katowice hotels vary between each other in standard and quality. There are many cheap guest rooms, you can find them all over the city. They are usually located in old houses and standard is rather poor, but it corresponds to the price.
If you are a backpack traveller or just want to save the money on accommodation a good option are also hostels. There are many of them in Katowice. They are in usual standard for such facilities, private or shared rooms with bathroom in the hallway, and access to the kitchen annex.
Hotels in Katowice
If you have higher expectations in quality and service in your accommodation choice will be much smaller. Katowice, as an industrial city does not have too many hotels. There are in fact only a few dozen of them. In this group you can find one of a five star property located in the city center in a historical building. It has rich tradition since 1903 and has always been associated with luxury. It was always a place for well-known and distinguished guests, thus, you may want also to spend at least one night in this luxurious interiors.
There are also several hotels marked with four stars, mostly belonging to the world-famous chains offering their accommodation in many cities in the world. The prices are quite low and encouraging. Even in the best facilities they do not exceed 500 PLN per night for two people.
Which location choose
Of course the best choice is the city center. This is where most of the city attractions are located. Katowice center offers the largest selection of hotels in each category. The city center is most convenient for people traveling on business, as many hotels are located near major institutions such as the Silesian Philharmonic and the “Spodek” arena. Katowice is quite a big city this is why it is also worth to look for a hotel a little bit further from a strict city center. The connection to the center is very convenient and they may be a little bit cheaper.
Hotels outside the center (often situated near major roads or motorways A4) are visited mostly by people for whom Katowice is just one of the stops during their trip. They also attract those who would like to stay here only in business matters. There is also a hotel very close to the airport, which is convenient for travellers with shortage of time.
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