You can’t get any lower than this! The shafts in the old Guido colliery in Upper Silesia descend to a depth of 320 metres, making it the deepest visitor mine in Europe. A 250 ton rough coal container, conveyor belts, an Alpina tunnelling machine in full working action, hydraulic supporting pillars, a number of different transport constructions, a seismograph chamber and a simulated mining accident take visitors back into the midst of the underground world of the 20th century. One “storey” higher, at a depth of 170 metres, visitors can go even further back into the past, and experience working conditions around 1900 in such a realistic manner that they could be excused for thinking that time had stood still. Fragments of conversation can be heard, the low ceilings groan and creak, and somewhere in the dark you can hear horses whinnying and snorting. These and other skilfully placed audiovisual effects conjure up a gripping colliery atmosphere. A particular attraction are the underground concerts and theatre shows that have been offered by the Guido colliery since the end of 2008. Along with a permanent exhibition of miners’ portraits they make it clear that this visitor colliery also regards itself as an arts centre.
Prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1830-1916) was anything but a friend of false modesty. He was one of the richest German industrial magnates of his time, and lived in a castle modelled on the palace at Versailles. He also set up generous foundations for social purposes and preferred to name his many industrial plants after himself and the members of his family. Hence the name Guido, a colliery that was set up in 1855 south of Zabrze in the then emerging mining region of Upper Silesia. The mine was intended to provide the nearby Donnersmarck mill with coal. As was usual at the time pit ponies were employed to pull the wagons. The stables that were built for them underground still exist in their original state, and are now one of the high points of a visit down the mine.
Coal has not been mined here for many years now. After the seams had been exhausted the Guido colliery was used for a long time to draw water from the surrounding mines. But this function began to decline in importance in the 1930s and finally came to an end after the Second World War. In 1967 the colliery experienced a temporary renaissance as a test mine for colliery machines. 20 years later the site was listed. Shortly before, in 1982, an open-air museum was set up on the surface site with its historic pithead tower, but it had to close down in 1996. During the following years devoted efforts were made by many persons in and around Zabrze to preserve this important industrial monument for the region, and above all make it accessible to the general public. The fact that the visitor mine was able to reopen in June 2007 is not least due to the determined commitment of its supporters. In addition the mine was given the opportunity of taking visitors 170 metres below the surface via the Kolejowy shaft. Since the end of 2008, tourists have been able to descend to the 320 meter level. Both levels sharply illuminate mining activities in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||120 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
daily 8am–9pm (the surface area of the mine)
Underground guided tours – by prior arrangement:
Wednesday – Friday 09am–2.30 pm; Saturday, Sunday 12am–5.30 pm