Until recently, one could easily be forgiven for standing in the middle of Katowice's market square and trying to find the market square. The construction works finished and the snazzy new Rynek 2.0 is complete with a flowing river, deck chairs, benches, and a spattering of flowers beds and trees. Before the massive overhaul (and we mean massive!), Katowice’s ‘Rynek’ was basically a large traffic roundabout and tram stop surrounded by a faded collection of mismatched buildings in architectural styles that had mostly fallen out of favour, if they ever engendered any enthusiasm to begin with.
For years the city has known that turning its market square into, you know, an actual market square, would be a crucial step towards becoming a respectable Polish city. A plan to modernise and pedestrianise the Rynek was put in place as far back as 2008. The first step was modernising the Soviet-era monstrosity at ul. Młyńska that uglied up an entire block of the Rynek, before they elegantly transformed it into the new modern City Hall.