The Voivodship Park of Culture and Recreation in Katowice
The Voivodship Park of Culture and Recreation is a recreation complex located in the center of the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia (cities of Chorzow and Katowice) in Silesia. It was founded in the 1960s from the initiative of a local politician Jerzy Zietek, to become a sports, arts, and recreation community center. It is the largest city park of this type in Europe. It covers 620 hectares of land. In addition to the extensive green area, there are many facilities located within the park: Silesian Amusement Park, ‘Fala’ swimming pool complex, Silesian Zoological Garden, Planetarium, Upper Silesia Ethnographic Park, Silesian Stadium, ‘Palenisko” Rope Park, Paintball Park, Kapelusz’ Exhibition Hall, Silesian Sculpture Gallery, Narrow – gauge Railroad, Yachting Port, bicycle paths, Rosarium, tennis courts and many more.
For almost 60 years the Voivodship Park of Culture and Recreation has been a place of meetings, entertainment and contact with nature that the citizens of the Silesian Agglomeration lack so much, being tired of the city noise, concrete and living in a hurry. It all has happened thanks to the then authorities who in the 40’s of the last century decided to create a leisure center for the citizens of the Upper Silesian Industrial Region. The task was given to general Jerzy Zietek who was able to put his pioneering vision into practice. And so, in 1951, the creation of the Park began. It was originally an attempt to bring the environment destroyed by the industry back to life. This has been achieved. A place often described as ‘moonscape’ turned into beautiful green areas in the middle of this industrial region. From students to office workers, everybody joined their efforts to help create the Voivodship Park of Culture and Recreation. This enormous enterprise gained great support of the whole society, mainly because of the environmental issues. At that time, there were 300 industrial plants in Silesia. Because of that the dustiness was enormous. In Chorzow it reached 763 tons per square kilometer. Since then, the level of dustiness has dropped, and the Park up till now is known as ‘the Green Lungs of Silesia’.