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Places of interest on route from Katowice - Lodz - Gdansk

Morrisey 3 | 7
16 Feb 2014 #1

Last year i visited Katowice and the surrounding areas, Bytom, Rybnik, Chorzow, as i'm interested in all things industrial and the area of Silesia has a lot to offer. This year we intend once again to saddle up the motorcycles and head over to Poland again, this time entering from Ostrava in the Czech Republic before making our way to Katowice for a day or two, to see a couple of friends we made on our previous visit. From Katowice we were looking at calling at Lodz before possibly heading up to Gdansk. Can anyone suggest somewhere that maybe of interest to me ??

DominicB - | 2,709
16 Feb 2014 #2
Can anyone suggest somewhere that maybe of interest to me ??

If you're interested in old industrial towns, the best preserved 19th century industrial town in Poland is Żyrardów, about 90 km east of £ódź on the main £ódź-Warsaw train line. It was a progressive planned industrial city built as a linen production center. The center of the town is a historical monument, and is quite interesting. It would be a shame to miss it if you were in the area. It's a must-see.

Another must-see is Opatówek right outside Kalisz, which was a textile center. There is a very interesting History of Industry Museum in a former textile factory in the town.

But perhaps the most impressive industrial must-see in all of Poland is the salt mine in Wieliczka, right outside Kraków. It's simply amazing. It's worth paying for a longer personal full tour, rather than the group tour. If you get a great guide, they will show you lots of stuff that the regular tourists never see, and will have time to explain it in detail and answer your questions. In Kraków, also visit the Ethnological Museum in the Old Town Hall in the Main Square of the Kazimierz quarter. There were some good pre-industrial-revolution industrial exhibits, like oil-pressing and the like. I really enjoyed it. Then it's just a short walk to the old Jewish quarter, which is also worth seeing. Then go out to nearby Nowa Huta, a planned industrial city built by the communists. There is a small, but interesting, museum, and it's pleasant to walk around the center of the town, especially in the spring time.

Unfortunately, there isn't much emphasis on industry at Auschwitz, which was actually a complex of about industrial slave-labor camps throughout south-central Poland and the Czech Republic. As far as I know, all traces of the subcamps have been obliterated, except for the extermination camp at Birkenau, and they are barely mentioned at the museum st the main camp. It's a shame because I find this one of the most interesting aspects of the camp system.

However, you might find Osówka interesting, near the Czech border just north of Kudowa Zdrój. It is an underground city/industrial.command complex that the Germans were building toward the end off the war (look up "Project Riese" on Wikipedia). You can take a tour of the tunnels, which are amazing, though there are only a few traces of the industrial plants that were built inside. Nearby is the center of the second-biggest coal-mining region in Poland, Wałbrzych, which is just what you're looking for if what your looking for is grimy industrial towns. You could stop off in Wrocław on the way (shameless plug). Not industrial, but it has the most beautiful town square in Poland, and it's not cram-packed with tourists like the one in Kraków.
Nojas 4 | 110
16 Feb 2014 #3
The massive industrial area just outside Oswiecim/Monowice (Auschwitz-III) is still there to see (and still in part used).
DominicB - | 2,709
16 Feb 2014 #4
I know that the actual camp Auschwitz III no longer exists, but I see that small portions of the complex outside the camp survived and are still in use. Is this complex open to the public for tours?
Nojas 4 | 110
16 Feb 2014 #5
Don't know actually, but my guess is no. For sure there are still old abandoned buildings worth watching, but I don't think it's appreciated to be around the factories in use (nothing to see also I guess). I've been meaning to go there this year since I live reasonably close.
OP Morrisey 3 | 7
17 Feb 2014 #6
Thanks for the info guys. We stopped at Auschwitz last year- didn't know about the industrial labour camps, we must have ridden straight past them!

You have some mighty fine suggestions there Dominic which will tick all the boxes with my travelling companions, Osówka,Walbrzych, Książ Castle a definite, and maybe a stop off in Wroclaw as well on our way out of Poland.

I really appreciate the info, so if you think of any other (industrial / historical) please add them to this post.

Many thanks,
lunacy - | 73
17 Feb 2014 #7
I really appreciate the info, so if you think of any other (industrial / historical) please add them to this post.

This site pretty much covers most of the interesting places in Lower Silesia voivodeship:

To the must-see castles I'd add the one in Bolków:)

If you're interested in strongholds, take some time to visit Nysa, Kłodzko and Srebrna Góra (the last is said to be one of the largest strongholds of that type in Europe).

As it comes to the further travel to the north (on the way to Gdańsk), personally I'd visit places like Biskupin, old cities in Poznań, Gniezno, Bydgoszcz and Toruń, Malbork Castle(!)

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