Silesia Park

10 Nov 2017

Aside from perhaps Warsaw, Upper Silesia, and particularly its ‘capital’ city, Katowice, always felt like the region of Poland most buggered by the communists. The scars were sadly everywhere, from the once brutal, artless architecture of Katowice’s downtown to the highway overpass that passes for Chorzów’s market square, not to mention the gigantic smokestacks, abandoned pit heads and dilapidated mining complexes strewn about. However, Poland’s communist regime was not completely without forward vision and only a few years after 'inheriting' the stripped industrial wastes of Upper Silesia after World War II, party leaders earmarked a vast 620 hectare plot on the borderlands of Katowice and Chorzów with the intention of creating the largest urban park in Europe. Like many PRL development projects, the party vision didn’t simply call for setting aside some open space for public use, but building a communist super park that would deliver entertainment, art, education, culture and sports to the masses. Nor was the land in question an untouched patch of wilderness. On the contrary, the designated area was 75 percent devastated by mining and industrial waste, with the rest being undesirable marshland and dead trees. Under the direction of local hero Jerzy Ziętek, an important Silesian Insurrectionist turned politician, work began as early as 1950 on what was to become known (until recently) as the Provincial Park of Culture and Recreation (Wojewódzki Park Kultury i Wypoczynku or WPKiW): one of the most ambitious and pioneering environmental renewal projects ever undertaken in Europe.

Associated Venues

Kapelusz Exhibition Hall

 Promenada Gen. Jerzego Ziętka (Park of Culture & Recreation), Chorzów


 Promenade Gen. Jerzego Ziętka 7 (Park of Culture & Recreation, Chorzów)


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