Month: March 2016

Where was the castle in Katowice?

Well, it was not actually a castle, but a large manor house - known locally as the castle or palace because it was the largest building at the time it was built. It used to stand on Wojciech Korfantego Street, just north of Hotel Katowice and west of the Pizza Hut. near Rondo. In fact, the grounds of the house still exist in the form of a small park -Park Powstańców Śląskich (Silesian Insurgents Park) - which has the monument commemorating  the Silesian Uprisings.

the castle 1930s
The "castle" in the 1930s
This mansion was built in 1841 as the seat of the Counts of Thiele-Winckler, by Franz Von Winckler on the site of earlier court buildings. It had a ground floor, one floor and attic.

Franz Wincker

Winckler was a local mining entrepreneur, who through marriage, acquired large areas of land in the Katowice and Myslowice areas that were developed for mining and smelting purposes. The entire estate management was transferred to this manor house and Winckler appointed his school friend Friedrich Wilhelm Grundmann.

Friedrich Wilhelm Grundmann
Friedrich Wilhelm Grundmann
At various times Wojciech Korfantego street was known as Castle Street or Schloßstrasse - German for The Castle. (source: Wikipedia)

Katowice centre to rondo map
Schloss = castle - the crossroads to the north of the "castle" is where Spodek is now.
layout of the manor house
Schloss = castle - also showing the layout of the ornamental gardens.
Castle aerial view - 1970s
An aerial view of the "castle" in the 1970s before it was knocked down. It's the building in the middle of the picture.

Although there had been plans to use the building for the Museum of the Silesian Uprisings, it was demolished by the authorities and the Secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Zdzislaw in December 1976.

Hotel Katowice and the manor house
The Manor house ("castle") is in the bottom left corner of the picture which was probably taken in the 1970s.

The first eating, drinking and sleeping place in Katowice

The first tavern or inn - an eating, drinking and sleeping place - in Katowice was established at the crossing point of the Rawa River in the centre of Katowice, in the now market place, where the Skarbek building is now.

tavern

The road from Gliwice came along the northern side of the river then turned south at the present day Rondo, went along the dam, along the line of the present day Korfantego street before turning east at Rynek (market place) going in the direction of Krakow along the line of Warszawska Street.

Katowice-ok.-1850-768x373
The Tavern appears on the right hand side this picture of about 1850. It is on the south-East side of the pond. Source: The Museum of Katowice History.
This was a natural resting place for travellers along this important trading route between Gliwice and Krakow. It appears to have been established before 1816 near the Bogucka blacksmith's Forge - which goes back to 1397 - so it is likely that the inn could go back hundreds of years, although perhaps not the same building. It would have had stables and there is evidence that it also had a brewery. An unknown visitor in writing a letter in 1832 reported that the tavern towered over the thatched houses as he approached it.

Unfortunately, the tavern, which appears to have been a wooden building, collapsed in 1864 - just before Katowice officially became a town. Six years earlier the more substantial Hotel Welt was opened in 1848. In 1850 Johann Strauss played there with his orchestra.

scarbeck 1975
Scarbek 1975 - just after it had been built
scarbeck 1997-99
Scarbek in the late 1990s
hotel welt 1872
Hotel Welt 1872

The hotel Welt was burned down in 1945 by invading the town Red Army.The Zenit department store now stands in its place.

Source: Wikipedia