Zabrze, known as ‘The Heart of Silesia’, is a town with over 190,000 inhabitants and can be found in the south-west of Poland in the Upper Silesian industrial area. It is an important, if for this area typical, industrial center in Poland, with a power station, food production plants and glass-works. Zabrze is also home to one of the country’s first mining settlements which date back to 1790. Zabrze was under German control during various stretches of its history and again in 1921, when this part of the country was partitioned between Poland and Germany. The city was heavily damaged in the Second World War and transferred back to Poland again in 1945. Today, expatriates in Zabrze will quickly come to see that the local economy is still dependent on coal and coke, but also on chemical plants and metalworks. If you are planning on living in Zabrze, check out the forums at InterNations and see if you can pick up any tips from other expats about what it’s like to live and work in Poland.
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Expats relocating to Zabrze are coming to a quieter part of Poland. It is certainly no tourist hot spot, however, the city has its own charming aspects, including numerous pubs and clubs, old redbrick houses and cobblestone streets. One attraction is the Queen Luiza (Krolowa Luiza) historic coal mine, first opened in 1791, which is near the center and now open to visitors as a coal mining museum. Special events are also held there and the site is home to the Automobile Club's Old Vehicle Museum. Traditional Silesian food, such as dumplings, blood sausage, potato salad and poppy seed cakes, is served in the restaurant inside the mine. Expatriates about to start moving to Zabrze will be glad to hear that it has good road connections to all parts of Poland and the nearest international airport is in Katowice, only about a 30 minutes’ drive away. InterNations Expat Magazine and our members may be able to offer some informed advice on moving to a new city.
Zabrze may be an industrial city, but expats coming to work here will not find it to be a grey place by any means and the abundance of parks, fields and forests in and around the city, means it is often referred to as the ‘city of green’. Although the presence of a large composting and waste-sorting development may have had something to do with Zabrze getting this nickname as well. The city itself has a good infrastructure and is well provided with modern facilities. Away from work, the main local interest in sport is football. The city’s team, Gornik Zabrze, however, while a dominant force in the 60s, has only enjoyed modest success in recent years. Nevertheless, any expatriate about to start working in Zabrze can join InterNations not only to share their experiences of life in this part of the world, but also to simply use the opportunity to socialize as well as network with fellow expats living in Zabrze, Poland and across the globe.