Mariacka Street

 

This is a street with a very lush, but not always glorious history. It was formely a field road between the loosely scattered peasant buildings. The situation began to change in 1852, when the Catholics of Katowice made efforts to build a large parish church, which had to replace a small church with half-timbered walls which was standing by the road.

 

The church was built in neo-Gothic style under the guidance of the architect Alexis Langer in the years 1862 - 1873, when the parish dedicated to the Virgin Mary was erected.

 

Street became important and very quickly was filled up with the new middle-class houses. Each house was ornated more than the other. In addition, there were various offices, government offices, restaurants or hotels in the dwellings. Until these days the hotel “Śląski' (literally means 'Silesian') exists under the number 15 and was built in 1906 as a hotel “Europejski' (in English 'European').

 

From 1876 to the end of World War I and during the occupation it was called Richard Holtzestraße, in honor of the President of the Katowice City Council at that time, who by the way, was together with his father - Friedrich Grundmann a co-founder of the city.

 

The bust of his effigy appears on the former building of the City Baths (now the branch of PZU is located there) on Mickiewicz Street. It is impossible not to mention the building on Mariacka Street 1, which was erected in 1895. On the ground floor an elegant patisserie was situated, which in 1905 was named Kaiser Cafe. After independence it was renamed to 'Astoria' and the place with that name lasted until the late 70th century.

 

There was then the fashion for the folk Słupska Inn and this restaurant still existed in the 90's. The history of the building no. 13, in which you have found your pied-a-terre, looks also interesting. In the interwar period it housed a branch of the National - Christian Labour unions. It was there too where its headquarters had the Non-Party Bloc for Support of the Government (BBWR). In contrast, in the 30s of the last century the Brazilian consulate and private consul’s apartments were located there. After World War the street was inhabited by tenants of the so-called underworld and has gained a very bad reputation. There was even created a kind of asylum for ladies of pleasure, because only on this street they were not punished for prostitution (sic!).

 

Decent women knew that you cannot walk Mariacka Street too sluggishly. Immediately the client was approaching, usually in the car, he was opening the window and asking: 'How much do you take?'. The working girls were in their forties or fifties or at least looked like this. Destroyed, neglected ... The situation changed dramatically when the decision to revitalize the street was taken, as if it was one of the streets nearby the downtown. A ban on the allocation of apartments in this street for social housing was imposed. Slowly getting rid of troublesome tenants, who made the street to have such a bad opinion. They began to renovate the houses, which gradually formed various types of entertainment premises. Renovated in the year 2008 at the expense of 12 million Polish zloty, the street turned into a pedestrian zone, which has been already for a few years full of vibrant cultural and social life. The cyclical concerts, outdoor events, interesting exhibitions are held there. Street is full of life and is the favorite meeting place of Katowice and showcase of our city. We should have mentioned about the St Mary's church, from which the street took its current name. But as the author of the famous 'Jungle Book' Rudyard Kipling says: 'But that is another story'.

Maciej MastalskiMaciej Mastalski, the tourism enthusiast and lecturer at University of the Third Age in Tychy.

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