The oldest district of Zabrze is Biskupice, a place first mentioned in 1242. Some small houses in what was a small village were along the street now known as Staromiejska, which runs towards Gliwice. The inhabitants farmed the land, especially hops. Zabrze started to develop towards the close of the 18th century thanks to the opening of the first coal mine in 1791, named after the late Prussian queen, Luiza, in 1811.
But the most important factors in the town’s development were yet to come. In 1823 the Gliwice Canal came to completion and in 1846 a railway opened. This rapid development resulted in Zabrze obtaining a town charter in 1922.
The history of Zabrze connects with the history of the mine. Mining in the area affected important spheres of people’s lives, from employment to cultural life to education. The mine was one of the most prosperous in Europe until the early 1990's, when the industry began to die a natural death.
The last coal came to the surface on 31st March 1998. With the closure of the mine, the town seems to have started falling into developmental stagnation.
In 1967, Charles de Gaulle visited Zabrze. He's now commemorated by a monument in front of the Dom Muzyki i Tanca theater and on a memorial tablet. On visiting Zabrze, de Gaulle claimed that the town was the most Silesian of all the Silesian towns and the most Polish of all the Polish towns. You may want to verify these words of this famous president of France during your visit to Zabrze.
Guido Mine in Zabrze
Founded in 1855, the mine is unique in Europe. After decommissioning, it served as a drainage point and an experimental mine. Through the shaft, tourists go down to the levels of 170 m and 320 m. The latter offers the deepest coal mine tourist route in Europe.
Apart from visiting opportunities, the mine provides artistic sensations as well. At the level of 320 m, below ground a K8 Zone provides a business, culture and entertainment zone. It consists of four breath-taking mining chambers which house a concert hall, a banquet hall and a conference room, as well as the world’s deepest pub.