Katowice

© Katowice City Council

'Grodek' Dolomite Quarry

As dutiful information purveyors regarding Katowice’s wealth of beguiling tourist destinations (ahem), we like to spread the wealth, making sure visitors to this modern metropolis have plenty of escapes from city life as well. In this installment, blindfolded as always, we pin the tail on the Silesian donkey (or ass as it were) in Jaworzno-Szczakowa, a city lying less than 20 miles east of Katowice.

Like so many of Silesia’s wonders, Jaworzno’s prime attraction is the result of yesterday’s drowning industry. Literally. In the mid-90s the financial viability of Jaworzno’s Grodek dolomite quarry seemed to hit rock bottom; the electric company cut the power, the mighty drills stopped drilling, the excavators stopped excavating and the lifts stopped lifting. The quarry was in the pits. What to do, what to do. In a stroke of entrepreneurial ingenuity, the crater was flooded with water and instantly became Poland’s premier scuba diving destination. Now rented by the Orka diving company (based out of Bielsko-Biała), the Grodek quarry offers a world class facility to fans of Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparati. The maximum depth of the chasm is 18 metres with visibility in its clear waters varying from 5 to 12 metres.

With a first aid station and decompression chamber at its centre, the grounds around the quarry include a campground, barbeque area and a bar (naturally), making it a popular destination for families as well as international diving fanatics, and is open year round for scuba certification courses, snorkelling, skin diving, dry diving and even under-ice diving.

What makes Grodek so popular (it even has its own fan club) is what awaits discovery beneath the surface of the water. Seems the quarry’s demise was so hasty that none of the equipment was removed when the floodgates were opened. As such, divers can see two enormous excavating cranes at the bottom of this abyss and explore the original workers’ barracks, in addition to  swimming among the prolific pike and perch that populate the waters. Two of Grodek’s main attractions are submerged automobiles – a Polonez and BMW – and as we’ve come to expect, one of them is the source of popular local legend. Seems a local diver bought the Beemer for his gal, who swiftly broke up with him, spurning the gift. Rather than sink into depression every time he saw the fine-tuned German vehicle, he sank the car. Love is indeed a bottomless pit, dear readers. Drown or be drowned.

For more information on scuba instruction contact:
Orka Group Sp. z o. o.
033 822 82 60
www.orkasa.pl
mirek@orkasa.pl

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