Giszowiec and Nikiszowiec are two historic districts of Katowice created as a coal miners’ settlement for coal-miners at the beginning of the 20th century. Both district were established for the employees of the industrial plants, owned by the Georg von Giesche’s Erben company.
GISZOWIEC – Garden City
At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, leading town planners and architectural theoreticians developed the concept of the satellite towns, self-sufficient living quarters for the labor class As an example, the housing estate of Giszowiec was built from scratch at the beginning of the 20th century for the employees of the “Giesche” mine. It was designed by famous German architects – Emil and Georg Zillmann.
Unfortunately, the number of flats in Giszowiec was insufficient. Therefore it was decided to start the process of tearing down the old developments to make room for a large-panel housing estate. The mentioned issue became a background for Kazimierz Kutz’s movie ”Paciorki jednego różańca” (The Beads of One Rosary).
“American colony” is one of the curiosities It was erected in the 20th century for the new mines’ management. It consisted of impressive villas, very clearly alluding to Anglo-Saxon architecture.
NIKISZOWIEC – Red as a brick
Without any doubt Nikiszowiec is one of the most recognizable workers’ housing estates in Poland. Just after Giszowiec housing estate had been built, it occurred there is not enough places to live. Exploration of new coal reserves attracted more people to work. Therefore the Giesche Mine’s owners decided to construct another worker’s housing estate nearby a new shaft (Nikischschacht).
The architects designed a housing estate of three-storey blocks (all together more than 1,000 flats were set up). The central place of the estate is Wyzwolenia Square with a number of public buildings around. The most remarkable place is Neo-baroque St. Ann’s church. Thanks to the unique and authentic character of the settlement a lot of movies set in Upper Silesia have been shot on location of Nikiszowiec.
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