Post-industrial Cultural Heritage Sites in the Katowice conurbation, Poland
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AbstractThe Katowice conurbation comprises of towns which have developed because of the mining of metal ores, coal and raw rock materials. The development of mining and industry which have lasted for centuries has resulted in the specific character of the landscape of the area with its typical indicators such as housing estates built for the working class, winding towers, chimneys of steelworks, coking plants, power stations, drifts, quarries, etc. The residents of mining communities, and local governments within the conurbation, which have developed owing to mining, are aware of the impending economic slowdown after liquidation of coal mines. Therefore, development of the service sector, including tourism, based on postindustrial facilities can become an important factor in restructuring the economy. This article presents a classification of post-industrial cultural heritage sites prepared for the purpose of geotourism. Several categories of such sites have been distinguished: 1) historic mining landscapes, 2) places adapted for recreation, 3) places documenting changes in the groundwater environment, 4) characteristic Silesian landscapes, places commemorating stages of development of the mining industry, 5) post-mining sites adapted for service, commercial or residential purposes, 6) mining museums and open-air museums. The described post-mining sites occur in different parts of the Katowice conurbation; therefore, linking them by a system of tourist trails and surrounding them by zones of protected landscape will be an important task for the future. Material remains of the industrial culture preserved within the Katowice conurbation, despite their diversity, form complexes of monuments complementary to those that can be found in the entire industrialized Europe. Therefore, the industrial heritage in the area of the Katowice conurbation is an important part of the European, supranational heritage.