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Zabrze - a complex of historic hard coal mines - Zabytek.pl


woj. śląskie, pow. m. Zabrze, gm. Zabrze-gmina miejska

Historic mines in Zabrze are an important witness to the history of the key branch of the Upper Silesian industry.

Coal mining, rapidly developing from the late 18th century, made Upper Silesia the largest hard coal mining district in the country and became a milestone in the process of industrialisation and urbanisation of the region, recognised as one of the largest and most important industrial regions in Europe ever since. The current Zabrze region played a crucial role in this process, especially in the beginnings. 

The complex includes three historically connected complexes that illustrate the development of hard coal mining in the Upper Silesia, i.e. the Queen Luiza mine - one of the two pioneering mines (late 18th century) and at the same time the oldest preserved hard coal mine in the region and in the country; “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” (Hauptschlüssel-Erbstollen, Main Key Hereditary Adit) - the continent’s longest engineering structure related to hard coal mining, with a transporting and drainage function, drilled from the late 18th century; the Guido mine - an example of a private mine established in the 19th century. 

The underground parts of the “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit are of unique significance, as they show, among others, methods of transporting coal in the first half of the 19th century, before the era of road and railway transport. The adit is characterised by a very good state of preservation, including mostly authentic supports of galleries and entries, historical traces of drilling and exploitation as well as surviving transport boats. 

Underground complexes of both mines in Zabrze show outstanding values as the country’s only such completely preserved, vast and publicly available historic hard coal heading complexes. According to the current state of research, fragments of underground sections and gallery 510 forming the part of the Wilhelmina adit of the Queen Luiza mine represent the oldest preserved hard coal headings in Poland, while former deposits no. 170 and 320 made available in the Guido mine constitute one of the most deeply located historic routes of that type on the continent. Unique headings as well as preserved machines and process lines from the postwar period, when mines operated as research and training centres, form an integral part of the underground complexes of both mines. 

A well-preserved underground structure of headings, shaped throughout the 19th and 20th century and diverse in terms of space and size, constitutes a material reflection of changes in technology taking place throughout that period. Together with the equipment preserved to a great extent in situ as well as still operational machines, devices and process lines, plus the accompanying representational, authentic ground-level buildings, the entire complex represents an overview of historical methods of coal extraction and exploitation, methods of deposit disposal, draining the headings and transporting the output. What is more, the monuments document a functionally diverse structure of a typical mining plant from the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, as well as conditions of miners’ work organisation. 

The Museum of Coal Mining in Zabrze that manages the historic complexes is a bearer of intangible values of hard coal mining: it stores and documents knowledge about historical mining techniques and cultivates mining traditions.


Hard coal mining in the Upper Silesia has a long tradition and the first documented sources in this regard come from mid-17th century However, it was the opening of the Queen Luiza mine in 1791 (the Royal Mine until 1811) in Zabrze and of the currently defunct King (Król) mine in Chorzów - the first Prussian state coal extraction plants in the region - that became a milestone in the process of developing modern coal mining and a starting point of the industrial revolution in the Upper Silesia. Almost simultaneously, the drilling of an innovative “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit began in 1799. It provided a connection between the mines in Zabrze and Chorzów and the Kłodnica Canal, the Royal Ironworks in Gliwice and the Odra river. The purpose of the adit was to drain the headings and transport the material from the King and Queen Luiza mines as well as from headings of around twenty other private mines. Due to the length of the canal that was unprecedented in hard coal mining as well as the scale of difficulties, the structure was drilled until 1863, whereby the Zabrze section of the canal was put into operation already in 1812. On completion of the decades-long construction of the adit, the concept of its operation turned out unprofitable, which was triggered by the development of road and railway networks in the second and third quarters of the 19th century, and depletion of shallow coal deposits in the Queen Luiza mine, which entailed the need for draining mining fields located at ever greater depths. With the gradual loss in the adit’s significance, in the mid-19th century the process of systematic modernisation and extension of the plant structure began in the Queen Luiza mine, covering, among others, the construction of the Carnall and Prinz Schönaich shafts serving the purpose of draining deep headings. In the 3rd quarter of the 19th century construction of a new part of the mine began: the so-called Eastern Field. In 1885 a nearby, private Guido mine, established in 1855 by an Upper Silesian industrial tycoon, Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, was acquired by the Prussian Treasury and incorporated into the Southern Field of the Queen Luiza mine. The merger resulted in, among others, deepening of the shafts and underground headings of the Guido mine by including deposit 320, gradual modernisation of the plant and extension of ground-level infrastructure, which translated into considerable increase in the volume of extracted coal. At the turn of the 20th century, the Queen Luiza mine was extended by new shafts - Reinbeben I and II, based on which the Bielszowice mine was established, and Delbrück I and II, that gave rise to the Delbrück/Makoszowy mine. In 1912 the Guido mine was incorporated into the Delbrück mining plant. In the interwar period, as a result of depletion of coal deposits both in the Queen Luiza and Guido mines, coal ceased to be extracted, while the existing underground and ground infrastructure of both mines continued to be used for ventilation and transporting purposes. The underground parts of the Wilhelmina shaft in the Queen Luiza mine were adapted to serve as a training mine for mining adepts already in the interwar period. In 1965 the first tourist route, called the Mining Promotion Centre, was opened in historical headings of that mine. In 1985 it was extended by a newly established underground part imitating a mine, called Professional Training and Mining Promotion Centre of the Zabrze-Bielszowice hard coal mine. In the postwar period the underground part of the Guido mine started performing a similar function. In 1967 the plant was transformed into an Experimental Hard Coal Mine M-300, where in chambers drilled in the 1960s and 1970s prototypes of mining machines and devices were subject to tests. Pursuant to the agreement concluded in 1982 with the Museum of Coal Mining, these headings were incorporated into the Guido Mining Heritage Park - mining level no. 170 was made available to visitors in 1983, while mining level no. 320 in 1990 (currently, as part of the museum’s structure, the facility bears the name of the Guido Mine). In 1993 that Museum made the Queen Luiza Mining Heritage Park, established on the basis of headings of the Wilhelmina shaft, available to visitors. In 2009 the clearing of the “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit, unused from the second half of the 19th century, began (currently, the Museum organises tourism in both of these places under the contemporary, joint name: the Queen Luiza Adit). 


The monument of history consists of three complexes: the Queen Luiza Mine, including the complex of the Carnall shaft facilities at 387, 408 and 410 Wolności Street as well as underground headings of the Wilhelmina shaft at 43 Sienkiewicza Street; underground parts of the “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit - located under the surface of the city from the Carnall shaft to the outlet at Miarki Street; the Guido Mine at 93 3 Maja Street - comprising ground facilities and underground headings.

The most valuable part of the Queen Luiza Mine, located in the vicinity of the Wilhelmina shaft, consists of shallow (5-15 m in depth, 627 m in length) headings from the early 19th century, secondarily transformed in the 1930s and 1950s. Located on three levels of the underground, they include a pit of the Wilhelmina shaft, a complex of galleries of varied width, height and function (top gates, bottom gates, manways, pillar gates, runarounds, directional gates, crosscuts, etc., secured by means of different supports), connected via sloped headings and sloping shafts, plus chambers, examples of longwalls for exploitation by means of cutters and roadheaders (the 1950s), the Budryk winze as well as niches exposing the coal subdeposit 509 (Reden). In the neighbourhood of the abovementioned headings, there is a complex of underground sections imitating that of a mine, with a length of 950 m, established in 1985. The underground parts are supplemented by numerous operational machines, devices and process lines from the postwar period, mainly preserved in situ, illustrating the technological process of extracting coal and transporting the materials. The Wilhelmina shaft itself, i.e. a vertical heading with a depth of 42 m, drilled in 1815 for transportation and ventilation purposes, is an integral part of the mine. Since 1819 it has linked the mine with the “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit via a coal gallery 510 (Pochhammer) with a length of 195 m. 

The Carnall shaft with a depth of 52 m, drilled in 1856 and secondarily deepened for the purpose of draining the headings and transporting coal from level 200, 250 and 521, is located around 400 m to the south-east of the Wilhelmina shaft. A pit at a depth of 38 m is connected with the “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit. Around the heading, there is a historical complex of ground facilities, shaped in stages due to the opening of the Carnall and Schönaich shafts in the 1850s and subsequent modernisations of the mine in the second half of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. The complex consists of the following buildings: a chain bathhouse and marker office; shaft-top building of the Carnall shaft with preserved process bridges and shaft devices and a steel hoist tower; machine building of the Carnall shaft with an authentic steam hoist machine from 1915; a compressor and 6 kV switchgear building from 1915; air condensation building; a warehouse; a machine building of the Prinz Schönaich shaft from 1858.

The “Główna Kluczowa Sztolnia Dziedziczna” adit, along the section from the Carnall shaft to the outlet at Miarki Street, is a 2190 metres long fragment of a historical transport and drainage canal, located at a depth between 38 m and 0 m, separated by a dam from the further section towards Chorzów (the remaining part of the adit, 12 km long, has remained obstructed and therefore is not protected through an entry into the register of historic monuments). The adit consists of, among others, the main gallery with passing loops for boats, and a diagonal gate, connected by eleven cuts drilled in coal deposits, plus short fragments of galleries in their extension (relics of hard coal headings formed gradually together with drilling of the adit), a reconstructed loading port and a fragment of a blind adit Amalia. Adit corridors are secured by authentic (in around 80%) stone supports with an arched cross-section, brick supports with a parabolic cross-section, only partially reinforced by brick pommels, or crafted only in solid rock. The adit outlet to the restored port basin is framed by a replica of a stone portal. 

The Guido mine consists of the complex of ground facilities and headings at levels of 150, 170 and 320 m. The ground complex includes two buildings functionally related to the operating Kolejowy (Railway) shaft: the top-shaft building from the years 1929-1931 with a steel hoist tower of a trestle type, with a height of 26 m, and a machine building from 1927 with an operational electric hoist machine from 1931, a generator, a control board, and a current converter (all from 1927). 

The underground parts of the mine are available through: the Kolejowy (Railway) shaft drilled in the third quarter of the 19th century to the depth of 342 m (initially a downcast shaft) and a blind Guido winze from the fourth quarter of the 19th century, connecting the levels at 170 and 320 m. The proper Guido shaft from the third quarter of the 19th century, located above (initially for transporting purposes, currently with a ventilation function), connects the ground level with the levels at 150 and 170 m. The oldest underground headings, with a total length of 4258 m - at levels of 150, 170 and 320 m - are located between the abovementioned shafts and to the south from the Guido shaft. The level 150, not available to visitors, consists of a group of chambers and ventilation slopes connected with the headings of the level 170. Headings at the level of 170 (from the 1870s-1880s) include authentic stables with a track bed of the horse rail, a complex of pits of the Guido shaft, and pits of the Kolejowy shaft with cart circuit - are grouped around the main crosscut running southwards from the vicinity of the pit of the Kolejowy shaft. The deepest underground parts, at the level of 320 m, consist of headings drilled in the late 19th century and in the postwar period. The former mainly consist of two parallel crosscuts and accompanying chambers located at the main crosscut of the pit of the Kolejowy shaft and the pit of the Guido winze - among others for pumps and compressors. The complex of postwar headings include: cross-galleries and chambers connecting the crosscuts, a group of research chambers at the main crosscut, as well as a group of experimental headings (i.e. various types of galleries, set-up entries, slopes) in the vicinity of two longwalls of the level 620. The underground structure of the mine is supplemented by, among others, former production equipment, such as a group of pumps, a two-cylinder compressor from 1914, and machines from process lines of material mining and transportation. 

Category: technical monument

Building material:  ceglane

Protection: Historical Monument

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_24_PH.15690