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The Carl Emanuel workers’ housing estate, Ruda Śląska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Carl Emanuel workers’ housing estate

Ruda Śląska


The workers’ colony in Ruda Śląska is a representative example of a company housing estate erected during the first quarter of the 20th century, in the vicinity of the now-defunct industrial plant. Designed as a compact, stylistically uniform complex, the colony stands out from its surroundings. It consists of two rows of two-storey free-standing brick multi-family houses designed in the historicist style, arranged around an inner yard which had once been the site of the now-vanished utility buildings.


The very first mentions of human settlement in Ruda were made in a register of the Wrocław bishopric known as the Registerum Vyasdense, dating back to 1305. Many researchers now accept that this settlement was medieval in origins and was already in existence in the first half of the 13th century. The presence of the Kronprinzen Strasse, formed in the 18th century and connecting the Upper Silesia Region with Germany, made a substantial impact on the surrounding area, leading to accelerated development thereof. It was at that point that the existing town was reoriented and that what is now known as Wolności street was formed. Ruda Śląska has become one of the typical industrial towns forming part of the Upper Silesian Industrial District (GOP), its growth being inextricably linked to the fortunes of the Ballestrem di Castellengo family, the rich underlying mineral deposits as well as the construction of the Cracow-Wrocław railway in the mid-19th century. One of the oldest mining facilities in Upper Silesia - the “Wawel” mine - was operating in Ruda Śląska back in the 1750s; on November 1, 1770, the mining facility was officially entrusted to Karol Franciszek von Stechow, who changed its name to “Brandenburg”. The colony on Wolności street, founded by the Ballestrem family, was established in the early 19th century, although it currently consists of residential buildings erected in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. The housing estate was designed for the workers of the nearby mining facility and was constructed in several stages, with the necessary funds provided by Franz von Ballestrem. The tight cluster of buildings between the Zabrzańska, Wolności and Raciborska streets is the most recent part of the complex, erected in years 1909-1911.


The Carl Emanuel colony, located in the Ruda Południowa district, is a tight and well-defined cluster of buildings which stands out from the surrounding landscape, with the Raciborska, Zabrzańska and Wolności streets serving as the boundaries thereof.

The colony was designed on an elongated rectangular plan, its longer side running alongside the north-south axis. The layout of the colony has seen very few alterations throughout the years. In recent years, the utility buildings which accompanied the residential structures were dismantled due to their poor technical condition. Originally, these buildings formed a row which led alongside the edge of the inner yard. One utility building was preserved and restored as a visible relic of the past. It is a simple, brick building designed on a rectangular floor plan and covered with a gable roof. The colony consists of 15 houses standing in rows along the Wolności, Raciborska and Zabrzańska streets, linked by distinctive connecting sections which serve various utility purposes, positioned alongside the northern and southern edges of the inner yard. The side-gabled buildings themselves are mostly two-storey brick houses with habitable attics, each designed on a rectangular floor plan. The individual houses differ in terms of detailing and façade divisions, although their compact silhouettes with steep-sided hip roofs are largely similar. The assortment of decorative detailing and architectural flourishes includes mostly simple cornices running between the storeys, dormer windows, avant-corps and ornate Baroque Revival gables with volute-shaped fractables. One of the most distinctive features of the entire colony is the pair of buildings in the south-western corner thereof, positioned at a right angle to one another and linked together by a semicircular avant-corps in the form of a turret. The inner yard, which had once been the site of utility buildings accompanying the houses, was later converted to serve as a car park and playground.

The site can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 26-10-2015.


  • Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warsaw 2008, p. 744
  • Historyczne Osiedla Robotnicze, G. Bożek (ed.), Katowice 2005, p. 17
  • Ruda Śląska - ekspertyza konserwatorska. Vol. II Ruda 1, Kuźnia Rudzka, Ruda Południowa, compiled by the Monuments Conservation Workshop (PKZ) Warsaw, Warsaw 1987, pp. 41-46 (available at the Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice, file no. 3005/VI)

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: 1909-1911
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wolności , Ruda Śląska
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Ruda Śląska, commune Ruda Śląska
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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