The Charm of Nikiszowiec

As an industrial region, Upper Silesia has a lot of people involved in mining. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were no more residential places in Giszowiec which at that time was the residence of Katowice miners. Thus, there was a need to build another estate for the workers. In 1908, the government approved the construction of a residential area for the miners of the “Giesche” mine. They planned to build it in the eastern part of Katowice near the “Nickisch” shaft which is one of the fourteen “Giesche” mine shafts.

The construction of the state lasted 11 years (1908-1918). The designers were Georg and Emil Zillmann who were from Charlottenburg. Nikiszowiec was developed to fulfill all the basic needs of the inhabitants. Inside the estate, it had a church, school, hospital, shops, bathhouse, and other necessary institutions. It was designed to accommodate around 8000 people in 63 sq. m standard apartments. Each residential building had 165 flats. A standard flat had two rooms and a kitchen. Inhabitants had an attic, a basement, and one toilet for every two flats. There were municipal buildings for laundry and bathing. The designers also planned larger apartments of 90 sq. m with private bathrooms for the officials working in mines.

The residential red-brick buildings were very similar but they had different arches over windows, doors, and bay windows had different heights, depths, and shapes. The estate has nine buildings that are linked to each other and form large squares with internal yards. Those yards had farm buildings and ovens for baking bread and cakes. At the center, you can find the Wyzwolenia Square and the beautiful St Anne’s church in Neo-Baroque style. Nikiszowiec was built in an urban style. However, it still had rural characteristics, such as pigsties. The inhabitants could also use the fields near the estate for having an additional income.

Nikiszowiec officially became a district of Katowice in 1960, and in 2011 it was recognized as a historical monument in 2011. Now it is developing as a touristic attraction as it has a significant cultural heritage. Tourists can find many attractions Katowice History Museum, City Ethnology Department, Zimbardo Center, as well as attractive and unique architecture.

-Syuzanna

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