Walk the miner's shoes throughout a few hours of a guided visit to 1855-established "Guido Coal Mine", where both humans and horses would once work in the dark to earn their hard-worked bread. Discover the history of Silesian coal mining. Learn how to extract "black gold" with 19th-century equipment. Be exposed to the cult of St. Barbara, the saint patron of mining. Visit the previously inexplorable space where the cultural life of Silesia is thriving now and send a letter from the lowest-operating post office box in Europe there is.
"Guido Coal Mine
" is a complex of mining chambers and corridors that had incessantly been in operation for over 100 years, with occasional intervals involved. Located beneath "Kolejowy" shaft in the center of Zabrze
, the museum represents the category of industrial and cultural monuments of Katowice
– the capital of Upper Silesia voivodeship, situated an hour of a ride from Krakow
via A4 motorway. A visitor needs about 3 hours to experience everything the programme of this unique museum offers.
Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck
– an influential industrial magnate of Prussia (back in the 19th century: the administrator of Silesian land), a millionaire and confidant to the king who established the mine to supply his mills of Donnersmarck with coal – also gave his name to the newly set-up excavation plant. Soon after it started being exploited, quite experimental in its structure
, the mine turned out not constituting the strongest link in the chain of Silesian coal mines. Used mainly as a drainage point for its adjacent mines and despite its lost (or: never achieved) industrial primary efficiency, "Guido" still managed to maintain the exceptional shape of its excavations
. Nowadays, they are open to the public at the length of over 3,000 metres. Throughout the trip to the underground world of "Guido", you will feel quite a different air to the one filling the more famous Wieliczka Salt Mine
. More focused on the industrial and machinery-related aspects of mining
, it will welcome you to more obscure interiors than the brighter saline ones of Wieliczka. Advised for visiting by the Polish edition of "National Geographic"
, the museum opened in 2007 is still do be discovered by many unaware of the fascinating trip to be taken there.
There are three levels available to visitors
in "Guido". The 170-metre one
has been dubbed into "St. Barbara level"
and it encompasses the earliest-operating space of the mine. The 1-kilometre route is devoted to the harsh reality of 19th-century mining
, the industrialisation of the excavation process and the cult of the saint patron herself. The part of the museum was officially opened on the name day of the saint, and so for a reason. Three of the four thematic parts of the exhibition held at the level are devoted to the status of St. Barbara among the hard-working miners
, with 3-D mapping installations and informative multimedia stands harnessed to serve the purpose. The last part concentrates on the daily duties of miners
, incorporating the exhibits that let us experience how dangerous and unpredictable the drudge of a miner was, with some disturbing views and sounds included. We may also see "Guido's" original underground stables
for workhorses that constitute one of the saddest parts of the museum's level.
is where the best-preserved excavations of "Guido"
may be traversed. The 2,5-kilometre-long route exposes us to the 20th-century reality of mining
, with more modern equipment put on display (including belt conveyors and massive machinery). It may surprise you to find out that there are also culture-related attractions offered at such an impressive depth of this industrial complex: a theatre
(where two event categories: "Teatr na poziomie" and "Muzyka na poziomie" are held), chapel – where it is possible to tie the knot for virtually everyone – and the deepest-situated pub of Europe
. Level 355
is the latest-opened part of "Guido" where you may descend. It is the darkest and most silent set of corridors and chambers
of the mine, with no source of light
other than the mining lamp you will receive. There are two modes of visiting available, each of them including the action of moving through a narrow passage across a 100-metre-thick wall
. The chatty guides of "Guido" will make even such thrilling moments weathered thanks to vivid anecdotes related to the mine. For example, you will learn of Abdul Achmed – the great-grandson of a Persian Emperor
sent to Silesia to learn appreciating hard work by becoming a miner. Apparently, the lesson was taught to him well, as he would be praised for the effort made by his superiors.
Interested in visiting "Guido Coal Mine"? Contact us for assistance in making this wish true!