Centrum Nauki i Sztuki Stara Kopalnia (en. “Former Mine” Science and Art Centre) in Wałbrzych is the biggest post-industrial tourist attraction in Poland, located in the former bituminous coal mine – Kopalnia Węgla Kamiennego “Julia” (“Thorez”). The 2014 revitalization of the biggest mine located in Wałbrzych which at the height of its activity employed several thousand workers allowed for the creation of an exceptional object among tourist attractions in Poland. Currently, it covers the area of 4.5 hectares of historic post-industrial objects with authentic equipment, such as a machine park which has been secured and made accessible for visitors. With the help of guides working in Stara Kopalnia (former miners who worked in KWK “Julia” in the past), all visitors can not only see the enormous scale of mine infrastructure, but also learn about the character of the dangerous and demanding work of a miner.
In 2015, Stara Kopalnia was awarded a prestigious title of “Zabytek zadbany” (en. a well-kept monument) granted by the National Heritage Board of Poland, which additionally emphasized the unique character and the scale of revitalization works conducted in the whole object.
This perfectly preserved post-industrial complex is a source of knowledge on the history and culture of coal mining, as well as about ceramic industry in Lower Silesia. The structures of Stara Kopalnia include:
THE MUSEUM OF INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY – This is where you can learn about the history of coal, mining, and miners working in extremely dangerous conditions. The museum collections include mining equipment and its elements, relics related to the activity of Wałbrzych mines, as well as audio-visual materials and archives. The museum also has an archaeological and geological departments with extensive collections from the Wałbrzych area.
GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART – Stara Kopalnia is a place featuring works of prominent artists, presented as a part of temporary and permanent exhibitions.
UNIQUE CERAMIC CENTER – Centrum Ceramiki Unikatowej (en. Unique Ceramic Centre) offers ceramic and pottery workshops (individual and group classes) during which the participants work on a selected clay modelling technique. The Centre also conducts classes for kindergartens and schools as well as for students of all education levels. In the Centre, we also offer a possibility to organize original, creative birthday parties.
GUEST ROOMS AND A CAFÉ – We have single and double rooms, including one double room with facilities for the disabled. Each room has its separate bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. All rooms are equipped with a TV and a telephone. In the former mine foreman room, we can now find a café and ticket offices.