Tag: Museum

Tag: Museum

Guido Coal Mine

The Guido Coal Mine is a historic deep coal mine and museum in Zabrze, Silesia, Poland. It gets its name from the founder, Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck who opened the mine in 1855.

Today, the mine is a museum and has been designated as an object of cultural heritage and a cultural monument in Poland. Two levels of Guido Coal Mine are open to visitors with depths of 170m and 320m below ground level, which makes it the deepest visitor mine in Europe. The underground museum is located at the deepest level.

Visitors are transported down the shaft at a speed of 4m/s in an original Berlin hoisting machine dating from 1927. At the 170m level, there are chambers and galleries containing tools, rescue equipment and perfectly preserved horse stables, which are more than 100 years old.

At this level, visitors learn about the history of Silesian mining and the coal extraction methods which were used and also the role that horses played in the history of mining. On this level you will also find St. Barbara’s chapel.

At 320m below ground, attractions include; a ride in a suspended railway, operational mining machines and a pub.

On this level, you are able to see simulations of mining disasters and visit an exhibition dedicated to the politically repressed soldier-miners of the 1950s who were youngsters forced to work underground instead of doing military service.

The pub is the deepest drinking establishment in Europe and you are able to purchase Guido Beer, brewed locally in Gliwice and available as a lager or a stout.

At times, the route can be steep and dark and visitors must wear a protective helmet at all times, flat shoes are recommended. The route is 3.5km long and takes around 2 ½ hours. The temperature underground is between 13 and 16 degrees Celsius regardless of season.

Visit the Guido Coal Mine website.

Bedzin Castle

Bedzin Castle is located in Bedzin in southern Poland and dates back to the 14th century. Originally the site was home to an early medieval wooden hill fort; which was then transformed into a stone castle. Early documentation attributes the building of the stone fortification to King Casimir the Great and the construction of the stone castle was an important factor in securing the Polish-Czech border and trade routes into Poland.

Bedzin Castle was partially destroyed during the Swedish invasions of 1655 and was rebuilt in 1855 with the castle’s last major restoration taking place in 1956. The castle is now home to the Zagłębie Museum.

The castle was ordered to be demolished in 1825 when a piece of the stone structure fell off and crushed a person; however before demolition started, the castle was declared a monument and was saved.

The museum has several collections: one of armament, from medieval to World War II times; the second dedicated to the history of the Będzin Castle; the third to the castles of the other nearby castles founded by Casimir the Great (Eagle Nests Trail or Szlak Orlich Gniazd) and the final one, to the military history of the Będzin region.

The town of Bedzin has a dark history linked to WWII. It was once a vibrant Jewish community. According to the Polish census of 1921, the town’s Jewish population consisted of 17,298 people, or 62.1 percent of its total population however this was devastated in 1939 by the Nazi SS who destroyed the synagogue and sent 10,000 Jewish residents to Auschwitz to be exterminated.

On January 27, 1945, the town was captured by the Red Army. Subsequently, the castle was rebuilt.

Today, the renovated and partially rebuilt castle is one of the most impressive medieval structures in southern Poland.

Read reviews about Bedzin Castle.

Visit the official website for further information.

Lancut Castle

Lancut Castle is a grand fortress and residence with castle interiors considered to be the most beautiful in Poland. Now a museum, Lancut is accessible by guided tour or with personal audio guides.

Initially, the building was a 15th century fortified manor house. It was converted into its present form in 1641 by Prince Stanisław Lubomirski and over the years, the building has been remodelled with added neoclassical, rococo and neo-baroque elements.

The highlights of the tour include the 17th century Grand Hall, the Great Vestibule, the Zodiac Room, the rococo Corner Room and the Renaissance style Eastern Corridor. Also worth exploring is the English style garden; which surrounds the palace complex.

Some of the rooms in Lancut Castle date back to the 17th century and some were created in the 18th century. Many interiors were arranged later on at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century. Today, some of these interiors are used to showcase works of art from the Lancut collections and from other museums in addition to superb collections of furniture, porcelain, silver, glass, fabrics, musical instruments and books.

Lancut Castle was once owned by Alfred Potocki who was one of the richest men in pre-WWII Poland. During his tenancy, Alfred accumulated a very large collection of art works including paintings and horse-drawn carriages among many other items of worth. Shortly before the arrival of the Red Army in July 1944, he successfully moved the most valuable items within the castle to Liechtenstein to keep them from being destroyed or looted.

As part of the tour you will also be shown the Coach House; which is located 300m south of the castle. Among other interesting exhibits, the Coach House contains a priceless collection of horse-drawn carriages once owned by Alfred Potocki; which were built by some of the most famous carriage makers in Europe.

Tour – Eastern Castles and Przemyśl City.

Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Royal Castle and the limestone Wawel Hill are extremely important historical and cultural sites containing one of the most important collection of buildings in Poland. Wawel was once the seat of Polish rulers, the residence of kings and the focal point of many Polish historical events. The hill is a symbol of the Polish nation and has witnessed some of the greatest moments in Polish history. Many Polish kings have been laid to rest below Wawel Cathedral.

Located south of the old town and next to the Vistula River, Wawel Hill showcases an incredible assortment of architectural delights including Renaissance, Gothic and Romanesque designs. Wawel Royal Castle and the Cathedral are must-see attractions and a walk around the castle courtyards and open spaces are highly recommended.

Today, Wawel Royal Castle is home to a superb art museum; which is well-known throughout Europe and the World because of its collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, the Sigismund II Augustus tapestry collection, sculptures, ceramics, period furniture and textiles among others.

The museum consists of five individual and separate sections: Crown Treasury and Armoury, State Rooms, Royal Private Apartments, Lost Wawel and the Exhibition of Oriental Art.

Pre-COVID, Wawel Royal Castle’s National Art Collection was visited by over one million visitors every year with two million people visiting Wawel Hill.

Wawel Hill has a long history; which can be traced back to the year 1000 when the first cathedral on Wawel Hill was built. Since then, Wawel has experienced many different timelines ranging from its Golden era from the 14th to the 16th centuries to the start of its decline as a centre of importance in 1609; when the then King moved his court to Warsaw.

Wawel Royal Castle was the cultural and political heart of Poland during the 16th century and today, it stands as a potent symbol and reminder of the Polish national identity. Visitors to Wawel Royal Castle today will see a 16th century Renaissance palace; however before this, it was a formidable Gothic castle; which was burned down in 1499

Over the years, the castle has been repeatedly sacked and vandalised. Extensive restoration work has been carried out since and many of the castle’s external structures and interior decorations have been recovered.

One of the best ways to explore the treasures of Wawel Royal Hill is to take a guided tour. With your local guide providing a fascinating snapshot of its history, and that of the surrounding area, you'll admire Krakow's number one tourist attraction from the outside and get a glimpse of royal life in 14th-century Poland – see further information.