Tag: Museum

Tag: Museum

Auschwitz Birkenau

Auschwitz Birkenau Tours & Experiences

Auschwitz Extermination Camp

Auschwitz Birkenau – updated 10 January 2023.

The Auschwitz Birkenau complex has left its inglorious mark on human history. A symbol of the Holocaust, during its five years of operation over a million Jews, along with Poles, Romani and other groups, were systematically killed by German Occupiers in WWII. Confronting and emotionally charged, a visit to the complex is an essential part of the human experience.

Extermination camp


Both sections of the camp, Auschwitz I and the much larger outlying Birkenau (Auschwitz II) have been preserved and are open to visitors. Everyone should visit Auschwitz at least once in their lives, it is a stern reminder of the horrors that human beings can inflict on each other and the only way to understand the extent and horror of the place and the atrocities that took place there.

Auschwitz Birkenau


The Auschwitz extermination camp was established in Polish army barracks on the outskirts of Oświęcim by the Germans in April 1940 and was originally intended for Polish political prisoners. It was then adapted for the wholesale extermination of the Jews of Europe in fulfilment of German Nazi ideology and pursuit of the ‘final solution of the Jewish question in Europe.’

For this purpose, the much larger camp at Birkenau was built 2km west of the original site in 1941/1942, followed by another one in Monowitz, several kilometres to the west.

Auschwitz Birkenau


Most of the killing took place in Birkenau and not Auschwitz. The 175 hectares camp was purpose-built for efficiency with 300 prison barracks housing 300 people each and four huge gas chambers, complete with crematoria. Each gas chamber could asphyxiate 2,000 people at one time and were fitted with electric lifts to raise the bodies to the ovens more quickly and conveniently.

Rudolf Höss

From spring 1942 until the fall of 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp’s gas chambers from all over Nazi-occupied Europe. The camp’s first commandant, Rudolf Höss, testified after the war at the Nuremberg Trials that up to three million people had died there (2.5 million exterminated, and 500,000 from disease and starvation), a figure since revised to 1.1 million. Of the 1.1 million people who were murdered in Birkenau, 90 percent of them were Jews.

Auschwitz Birkenau

Medical experiments

Others deported to Auschwitz Birkenau included 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities. Those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labour, lack of disease control, individual executions, and medical experiments.


By July 1942, the SS were conducting the infamous “selections,” in which incoming Jews were divided into those deemed able to work, who were sent to the right and admitted into the camp, and those who were sent to the left and immediately gassed.

Extermination camp

Daily convoys

Prisoners were transported from all over German-occupied Europe by rail, arriving in daily convoys. The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit. Auschwitz II-Birkenau claimed more victims than any other German extermination camp, despite coming into use after all the others.

Gas chamber

SS officers told the victims they were to take a shower and undergo delousing. The victims would undress in an outer chamber and walk into the gas chamber, which was disguised as a shower facility, complete with dummy shower heads. After the doors were shut, SS men would dump in the cyanide pellets via holes in the roof or windows on the side. In Auschwitz II-Birkenau, more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day.

Auschwitz Birkenau


Sonderkommandos removed gold teeth from the corpses of gas chamber victims; the gold was melted down and collected by the SS. The belongings of the arrivals were seized by the SS and sorted in an area of the camp called “Canada,” so-called because Canada was seen as a land of plenty. Many of the SS at the camp enriched themselves by pilfering the confiscated property.

Heinrich Himmler

The last selection took place on October 30, 1944. The next month, Heinrich Himmler ordered the crematoria destroyed before the Red Army reached the camp. The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in January 1945 in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. The SS command sent orders on January 17, 1945, calling for the execution of all prisoners remaining in the camp, but in the chaos of the Nazi retreat the order was never carried out. On January 17, 1945, Nazi personnel started to evacuate the facility.

Death March

Nearly 60,000 prisoners were forced on a death march toward a camp in Wodzisław Śląski (German: Loslau). Those too weak or sick to walk were left behind. These remaining 7,500 prisoners were liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army on January 27, 1945.


Approximately 20,000 Auschwitz Birkenau prisoners made it to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where they were liberated by the British in April 1945. Among the artefacts of automated murder found by the Russians were 348,820 men’s suits and 836,255 women’s garments.

On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops, a day commemorated around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Today, at Birkenau the entrance building and some of the southern brick-built barracks survive; but of the almost 300 wooden barracks, only 19 remain: 18 near the entrance building and one, on its own, farther away. All that survives of the others are chimneys, remnants of a largely ineffective means of heating. Many of these wooden buildings were constructed from prefabricated sections made by a company that intended them to be used as stables; inside, numerous metal rings for the tethering of horses can still be seen.


The Polish government decided to restore Auschwitz I and turn it into a museum honouring the victims of Nazism; Auschwitz II, where buildings (many of which were prefabricated wood structures) were prone to decay, was preserved but not restored. Today, the Auschwitz I museum site combines elements from several periods into a single complex: for example, the gas chamber at Auschwitz I (which had been converted into an air-raid shelter for the SS) was restored and the fence was moved (because of building work being done after the war but before the museum was established). However, in most cases the departure from the historical truth is minor and is clearly labelled.

The museum contains many men’s, women’s and children’s shoes taken from their victims; also, suitcases, which the deportees were encouraged to bring with them, and many household utensils. One display case, some 30 metres (98 ft) long, is wholly filled with human hair which the Nazis gathered from people before they were sent to labour or before and after they were killed.

Auschwitz II and the remains of the gas chambers there are open to the public. The camp is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The ashes of the victims were scattered between the huts, and the entire area is regarded as a grave site. Most of the buildings of Auschwitz I are still standing. The public entrance area is outside the perimeter fence in what was the camp admission building, where new prisoners were registered and given their uniforms. At the far end of Birkenau are memorial plaques in many languages, including Romani.


Auschwitz-Birkenau is a former Nazi concentration and extermination camp located in Poland. It is a site of great historical significance and is visited by millions of people each year. Here are some frequently asked questions about visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau:

Where is Auschwitz-Birkenau located?
Auschwitz-Birkenau is located in the city of Oswiecim, which is in southern Poland, near the border with the Czech Republic. The camp is located about 70 miles west of Krakow.

Is it possible to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Yes, it is possible to visit the camp, but visitors are required to take a guided tour. Guided tours are available in multiple languages and last around 3 hours.

How much does it cost to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Entrance to the camp is free, but tours are offered for a fee, as of 2021 it was 25 PLN (Polish zloty) for adult.

Are there any restrictions on visiting the camp?
Some areas of the camp may be inaccessible to visitors with mobility issues. Photography is not allowed inside the camp, but you can take some images of the exterior.

Is there a dress code for visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau?
It’s not officially a dress code, but it is respectful to wear an appropriate clothing when visiting, since it is a place of historic importance and a cemetery where many innocent people lost their lives.

What should I expect when I visit the camp?
Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau can be a deeply moving and emotional experience. Visitors will have the opportunity to see the former living quarters of prisoners, the gas chambers, and the crematoria. Visitors are also taken on a guided tour of the camp, during which the guide provides historical information about the camp and the events that occurred there.

Where can I find more information?
The official website of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum provides a wealth of information about visiting the camp, including tour schedules, visitor information, and educational resources.

Read about the Dentist of Auschwitz.

Tarnowskie Góry Mine

Tarnowskie Góry

Tarnowskie Góry – updated 10 January 2023.

Tarnowskie Góry is a historic mining town located in the Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland. It is well-known for its long history of mining, particularly for silver and lead. The Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Underground & surface tours

The mine is considered to be one of the most interesting and valuable monuments of the industrial heritage of the region. The mine is open for tourists to visit and there are several different tours available, including a guided tour of the underground mine, which takes visitors through the mine's various levels and chambers, and provides an insight into the life of the miners and the working conditions underground. There are also surface tours which allow visitors to explore the mine's buildings and see the equipment used in the mining process.

Tarnowskie Góry

15th and 16th centuries

A mining settlement and the first silver-bearing ore mines emerged in the region at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, today the mine and neighbouring Black Trout Adit are just remnants of a bygone silver mining industry.

During the mid-1930s, the idea to make part of Tarnowskie Góry suitable for tourists was first considered but was put on hold due to the outbreak of World War II.

Tarnowskie Góry

Black Trout Adit

The Tarnowskie Góry Land Lovers Association was founded in the 1950s to look at the feasibility of opening up a tourist route; which led to part of the drainage system called Black Trout Adit being opened to visitors in 1957. For a long time, this was the longest underground boat tour in Poland.

Tarnowskie Góry

Angel, God Bless and Viper

Due to safety concerns, it took a while for a tourist route to be opened within the corridors of the mine itself but eventually in September 1976, the route between shafts: Angel, God Bless and Viper were opened for tourists.

Historic Monument

The mine was declared a Historic Monument by the president of Poland in 2004 and has been a part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage since 2014. The mine and its Underground Management System were inscribed to the UNESCO Heritage List in July 2017.

Underground attraction


One of the most interesting feature of the mine is the fact that it has been turned into a museum, and it is one of the most unique underground mines of the kind in Europe. it offers an exhibition of mining equipment, interactive galleries and a multimedia presentation on mining history. You will also have the opportunity to see how the miners used to live, with a special historical presentation of the underground housing areas, the history and culture of the Silesia region.

The mine is usually open for tourists with guided tours in several languages. The tour begins in a museum and then goes underground to visit corridors from the 18th and 19th centuries. The underground tourist route is 1,740m long, including 270m travelled in a boat through the flooded corridor. The route includes audio effects such as the sounds of miners working, running carts and blasting works.

Visitors can also learn about the history of the mine, from its origins to the modern period, as well as the geology of the area, the mining techniques used, and the environmental impact of mining. The mine also features a souvenir shop and a café.

Overall, the Tarnowskie Góry Mine is a fascinating and educational experience, that provide visitors with a unique glimpse into the history and culture of the Silesia region, and the lives of the miners who worked there.


Q: What is Tarnowskie Góry Mine?

A: The mine is a former coal mine that operated from the late 19th century until 1996. It is located in the town of Tarnowskie Góry in southern Poland and it is considered a valuable monument of the industrial heritage of the region. The mine has been turned into a museum open for visitors, offering tours and exhibitions on the history and culture of mining in the area.

Q: What are some of the things you can see on a tour of the mine?

A: Visitors can take an underground tour of the mine, which takes them through the mine's various levels and chambers and provides an insight into the life of the miners and the working conditions underground. There are also surface tours available, which allows visitors to explore the mine's buildings and see the equipment used in the mining process. Visitors can also learn about the history of the mine, from its origins to the modern period, as well as the geology of the area, the mining techniques used, and the environmental impact of mining. The mine also features a museum, with exhibitions about the history of mining and the lives of the miners, as well as a souvenir shop and a café.

Q: How long does a tour of Tarnowskie Góry Mine last?

A: The duration of the tour will depend on the type of tour you choose. The underground tour typically lasts about an hour and a half, while the surface tour will last about an hour.

Q: Is the Tarnowskie Góry Mine tour safe?

A: Safety is a top priority at the mine, and all tours are guided by experienced and trained guides. Visitors are provided with hard hats and lamps, and are required to follow the guide's instructions at all times. The underground tour is also suitable for children over 7 years old, but it's worth to check the information on the website before planning your visit.

Q: Are there any special requirements for visiting?

A: Some tours may have height or age restrictions, or may require visitors to be in good physical condition. You should check the information on the official website or contact the mine directly to see if there are any specific requirements for the tour you're interested in.

Q: Are there any nearby attractions to the mine?

A: Yes, the town of Tarnowskie Góry is home to several other notable attractions, including:

  • The Tarnowskie Góry Silver Mine, which was an important silver mining site in the region.
  • The Tarnowskie Góry City Hall, which is a beautiful Renaissance building.
  • The St. Ann's Church, which is a beautiful baroque church located in the town center.
  • The Tarnowska Gallery, which is home to a collection of modern and contemporary art.
  • The Silver Mountain, a hill overlooking the city, offering a beautiful view of the region and the opportunity for a hike.

Visit the official website


Guido Coal Mine

Guido Coal Mine & Museum

Guido Coal Mine – updated 13 January 2023.

The Guido Coal Mine, also known as the Guido Shaft or the Guido underground mine, was located in the city of Zabrze in southern Poland. It was one of the oldest and largest coal mines in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. The mine began operation in the mid-19th century and was in continuous operation until it closed in 2001.

During its operation, it was considered one of the most important industrial sites in the region and a major employer in Zabrze. The mine’s Guido shaft, which was built in the late 19th century, was one of the deepest in Europe and reached a depth of over 1,100 meters. The mine was a major contributor to the local economy and had a significant cultural and historical impact on the region.

Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck

The mine 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.

Guido Coal Mine

Berlin hoisting machine

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

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.

Guido Coal Mine

Steep & dark

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 – Updated 09 January 2023.

Bedzin Castle, also known as Będzin Castle, is a castle located in the town of Będzin, Silesia, Poland. It was built in the 13th century and served as a defensive structure for the Duchy of Silesia. The castle has undergone several renovations and reconstructions over the centuries, and today it serves as a museum and cultural center.

Originally the site was home to an early medieval wooden hill fort, which was then transformed into a stone castle.

Bedzin Castle


The castle is situated on a hill overlooking the town of Będzin and the surrounding region. It is made up of a number of buildings, including the main tower, a chapel, and various residential and service buildings. The castle is surrounded by a moat and is accessed by a drawbridge.

King Casimir the Great

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.

Zagłębie Museum

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.

Bedzin Castle

Exhibits & displays

Inside the castle, visitors can explore a number of exhibits and displays that tell the story of the castle’s history and the people who lived there. There are also various cultural events and performances held at the castle throughout the year.

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.

Jewish community

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.

If you’re interested in history and architecture, Bedzin Castle is definitely worth a visit. It’s a fascinating and beautiful example of medieval castle design, and the exhibits and events held there offer a unique glimpse into the past.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Będzin Castle in Poland:

Where is Będzin Castle located?
Będzin Castle is located in the town of Będzin, which is in the Silesian Voivodeship (province) of southern Poland. It is situated about 30 km (19 miles) from the city of Katowice.

What is the history of Będzin Castle?
Będzin Castle was built in the 13th century as a wooden fortification. It was later rebuilt in brick and stone, and it served as a defensive structure and a residence for the local rulers. The castle was badly damaged during World War II, but it has since been partially restored.

Is Będzin Castle open to the public?
Yes, Będzin Castle is open to the public. It is currently used as a cultural and educational center, and it hosts a variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, and conferences.

Is there a cost to visit Będzin Castle?
There is a fee for visitors to enter Będzin Castle. The cost of admission varies depending on the time of year and the specific events or exhibitions taking place.

Are there guided tours of Będzin Castle?
Yes, guided tours of Będzin Castle are available for visitors. The tours are typically offered in Polish, but English-language tours may also be available upon request.

Is Będzin Castle wheelchair accessible?
Będzin Castle is partially wheelchair accessible. Some areas of the castle are only accessible by stairs, but there are also some areas that can be accessed by elevator. It is recommended to contact the castle in advance to inquire about specific accessibility details.

Visit the official website for further information.

Lancut Castle


Lancut Castle – updated 10 January 2023.

Lancut Castle is a beautiful and well-preserved castle located in the town of Lancut in southeastern Poland. The castle is considered to be one of the most important and well-preserved aristocratic residences in Poland, and is known for its beautiful interiors and elegant architecture.

Lancut Castle

Fairy tale castle

Łańcut is a town in south-eastern Poland situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. Also located within this region is the fairy tale Krasiczyn Castle

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 castle’s interiors are particularly impressive and boast a number of ornate rooms, including the Grand Hall, which features frescoes and stucco decoration, and the Library, which is home to a valuable collection of books and manuscripts. The castle also has a beautiful chapel, with a Rococo-style altar and frescoes.

17th century Grand Hall

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.

Lancut Castle

17th century

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.

Alfred Potocki

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.

The Coach House

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.

World War II

During World War II, the castle was occupied by the Germans and was used as a hospital. After the war, the castle was nationalized and served as a state-run institution and later as a museum. Today the castle serves as a cultural and historical center, hosting various exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year, and it is open to visitors.

Lancut Castle is a national monument and is considered to be one of Poland’s most important historical sites, it is also considered one of the most luxurious castle of Poland. It is a popular tourist destination, and attracts many visitors each year who are interested in the history, architecture and interiors of the castle.

Visit the official Lancut Castle website

Wawel Royal Castle

Historical & Cultural Sites – Wawel Royal Castle and Wawel Hill

Updated 11 January 2023.

Wawel Royal Castle is a historic castle located in Krakow, Poland. It is situated on Wawel Hill and overlooks the city. The castle has a long and complex history, with the original fortifications dating back to the late 9th century. The current architectural style of the castle is primarily Gothic and Renaissance, with some Baroque and Renaissance elements. The castle has been expanded and remodelled over the centuries, and it has served as a royal residence for Polish kings throughout history.

The 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 Royal Castle

Residence of Kings

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.

Wawel Royal Castle

Castle complex

The castle complex includes several buildings, such as the Royal Castle, the Cathedral, the Wawel Dragon’s Den, and the Royal Residence. The Royal Castle contains several museums and art collections, including the Crown Treasury and Armoury, the State Rooms, and the Royal Private Apartment. The Cathedral is the coronation site of Polish kings and the burial place of many Polish monarchs, national heroes, and poets.

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. The Royal Castle and the Cathedral are must-see attractions and a walk around the castle courtyards and open spaces are highly recommended.

Art Museum

Today, the 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.

Wawel Royal Castle


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.

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.

The 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.

The castle and its grounds are open to the public and are a popular tourist destination in Krakow, and a lot of visitors come to see the impressive architecture of the buildings and to learn about the castle’s rich history.

Wawel Royal Castle Tours & Experiences