Introducing Zabrze

While it might sound like little more than a drunken scrabble entry, the town of Zabrze is actually a worthwhile detour from Katowice, particularly for those with an active interest in Upper Silesia's industrial heritage and architecture. As the train from Katowice chugs you past dilapidated maintenance yards, landfills and power plants with open flames torching the sky during the short trip west to Zabrze, it is indeed impossible to escape the industrial heritage of the region. Fortunately for you, however, the toxic clouds and heavy pollution which once saw the area christened ‘the Black Triangle’ (the other points being Chorzów and Bytom) disappeared along with communism.

Though the stains have largely been scrubbed, the legacy remains and there's not a whole heck of a lot to do in Zabrze today that doesn't include putting on a hard hat. The city's three primary attractions are two mineshafts (Luiza and Guido) and the above-ground museum dedicated to the industry of crawling around in them. It's genuinely fascinating stuff and if you don't think so, you better hope those ruby slippers get you back home to Kansas before they turn black.

To properly trace the history of Zabrze you need to track back to the 13th century when the ruling Piast dynasty actively encouraged German settlement in the region and little towns like Zabrze were the result.