Dzisiaj mamy: Sobota 18.11.2017

History of Silesia Park

Until the early 1950-ties 75% of this huge wasteland was covered in mining slag heaps, mining wastes, bootleg mines, cave-ins, marshes and garbage dumps and a small section of agricultural areas. This lunar landscape quickly turned into 600 hectares of meadows, forests, gardens, flower beds, rare trees and bushes hospitable for growing wildlife. In order to restore a natural environment, approx. 3.5 million m3 of highly polluted soil was removed and replaced by 0.5 million m3 of fertile soil and turf. Such were the early beginnings of Poland's largest urban park. The decision for its construction was passed during a December 1950 session of the Provincial Council in Katowice.

The park is the brain-child of the former Silesia Region leader - general Jerzy Ziętek, who stood at the head of the park's building committee. The construction of the park began in July 1951. The mining wastes and slag heaps were to be converted into an oasis of green in the very centre of the most industrialized area in Poland. The park was situated within a triangle among three cities: Katowice, Chorzów and Siemianowice Śląskie. Until today it remains to be the largest achievements of this type in Poland and a perfect example of restoring the natural environment and wildlife destroyed by aggressive coal mining and steel industry.

From the very beginning the park's construction was a massive volunteer-driven project. Thousands of volunteers devoted their time and effort to support the birth and development of the park. Companies and businesses provided transportation of materials, citizens donated money, postal stamps were issued and many other fundraising events were held to support park's construction. The park's designer, prof. Władysław Niemirski – famous architect from Warsaw created an area friendly for a wide diversity of activities and typical public park functions expertly combined with the topography of the area. Niemirski's design included: two zones of greenery: a quiet area with dense vegetation intended for a passive recreation neighboring with mass culture and entertainment area intended for active recreation. He also divided the two zones into six sections including one dedicated to kids and teenagers, later converted into the still existing fun park. Step by step, the park acquired it's shape and functional diversity. Nine fountains were added, including the main fountain in the very heart of the park.

In the middle 50-ties a vast land of 13 hectares was converted into a festival area. One large dance circle, two smaller circles and an open-air stage were constructed and used for concerts, dance parties and other entertaining events. During it's first decade the park expanded and enriched the selection of various attractions. The legendary Silesia Stadium, ZOO, the Planetarium and the Amusement Park were opened. In 1957 a narrow-track train began to operate across the park linking the Fun Park, ZOO and the Planetarium. In 1962 the PTTK Tourist Centre was opened to host visitors (mostly school children) traveling to Silesia from other Polish regions. In the following year the Scout Centre was open and included a modest hotel, restaurant and a camping area. Another attractive novelty was the Water Sports Centre, the Regatta Channel where kayaks and water bicycles could be hired. The "Fala" (The Wave) swimming pools complex was located in the neighborhood in 1966. ELKA cable-railway was opened in 1967 and it's 3 routes linked the Fun Park, The Planetarium and The Silesia Stadium. By that time the park was furnished with 2400 benches, 850 garden chairs and offered a total of 70 km of paths and alleys. There were also 3 large and several smaller ponds linked with a system of streams flowing across the park. There were also areas dedicated to peace and silence searchers like the Rosarium - a vast rose garden, the alpinarium and the so called Swan Beauty Spot. On sunny, summer weekends or national holidays the park hosted as many as 150 thousand visitors.

Historic dates:

1950 – The Regional Council in Katowice approves the construction of the Voivodship Park of Culture and Recreation (WPKiW)

1951 – construction of the park begins

1954 – construction of the Silesia Zoological Garden begins

1955 – Silesia Planetarium opens

1956 – construction of the Silesia Stadium completed

1957 – construction of the Silesia Amusement Park begins

1957 – narrow-track railway opens

1962 – PTTK Tourist Centre opens

1963 – first annual open-air sculpture workshop – beginning of the future Silesian Sculpture Gallery

1963 – Scout Centre opens

1966 – „Fala" Swimming Complex opens

1967 – „Elka" cable railway opens

1968 – the Rosarium opens

1968 – „Kapelusz" (The Hat) Exhibition Hall opens

1975 – Silesia Ethnographic Park opens

2007 – Silesia Rope Park opens

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