A journey through the history of mining belongs where? Exactly, right underground! The Queen Louise Mine in Zabrze, Poland, is a perfect example of this because actually most of the action takes place underground. The guided tour starts in the pithead baths of the Carnall mine shaft, which already has a lot to offer on the surface like the wide view from the still preserved headstock, the shiny black straight-twin hoisting steam engine from 1915 in the machine hall or the 6 kV switching station, today housing an exhibition on the electrification of the mining industry. Down in the mine, visitors will be witnessing, among other things, spacious passages with brick vaults, the reconstruction of an underground coal port, a gallery drilled entirely in a coal deposit, which is unique in Europe, and 20th century mining machinery in operation. Another highlight is the ride on the ‚Karlik‘ electric pit railway. And, as if that wasn't enough, boats take visitors most recently on a one kilometre tour, following an underground canal in a former drainage adit dating from the turn of the 19th century. The large children's playground right next to Wilhelmina ventilation shaft is perfect for families to end this exciting mining experience.
In 1791, Friedrich Wilhelm von Reden, head of the Higher Mining Authority in Wrocław, initiated the establishment of the Queen Louise Mine near Katowice. Historians consider this to have been the beginning of industrialization in Upper Silesia. The colliery has set records right from the start. As early as 1816 it was responsible for a quarter of Upper Silesian coal production, and in 1846 it was granted one of the region’s first railway sidings. By 1898, the sinking of further mine shafts increased the annual output to 3.3 million tons of coal. At that time the mine already included several mining fields and, within the course of the following century, developed into the Zabrze-Bielszowice colliery complex, hitting the 12,000 employee mark in the record year of 1987. A particularly outstanding feature of the Queen Louise mine is the Main Key Hereditary Adit with a length of more than 14 kilometres. It drained two national and about 20 private mines, is considered to be the longest adit in coal mining history and took 64 years to be completed - from 1799 to 1863. The adit comes to the surface right in the centre of Zabrze where it joins the Kłodnica canal, which allowed to ship the coal to Western Europe via the Oder River.
As early as 1965, the colliery administration invited visitors to tour the underground mining operation - as a promotion to recruit young miners. In the 1990s an open air museum was built, which outlived the closure of the colliery in 1998 - after 207 years! As of 2009, both the museum and the Main Key Hereditary Adit were renovated, the latter being cleared from 20,000 tons of sludge. Today this adit, illustrating the outstanding engineering achievements of the 19th century, is once again open to visitors and conveys a vivid picture of the mine‘s history. While walking and boating, visitors experience galleries with various linings, the remains of former ports, and traces of small mining shafts. The preserved surface buildings centered around Carnall shaft attract visitors with exciting exhibitions and a top-class cultural programme.
|Recommended duration of visit:||4 Hours|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|