Wałbrzych, Wałbrzych County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, South-Western Poland
“Julia” Coal mine was one of the oldest mines in Poland.
After 226 years of operation in 1999 the mine has set up a Museum of Industry and Technology which along with the former mine entered in 2015 on the list of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
As early as in the 16th century there were small communal mines owned by the peasant and their heir. The court report from 1561 mentioned of coal mining in the area of Biały Kamień for the first time.
Only in 1604 mining ordinance was issued confirming the existence of the mine in Biały Kamień. Later in 1769, the new mining law was announced, and all the coal deposits became the property of the Prussian kingdom.
“Julia’s” shaft final depth reaches 611 m. The second shaft “Sobótka” was build 55 meters away from the first shaft and in 1946 reached its final depth of 443 m making 5 mining levels available (10 coal seams). In 1999, the shaft was covered with stone for about 400 meters deep. Only 50 meters section was left from the surface in order to be able to go down the stairs to the “Fox adit”.
The first mine was called “Fox adit” due to the local legend, where a boy while grazing sheep saw a little fox and started following him to a fox adit. He then noticed some black stones and took them home to show his parents. Parents were not impressed as the stones makes the boy clothes dirty. The boy thrown the stones into the fireplace and after a while the house became warmer. The father asked the boy to show him where the stones came from and then he collected the stones to bring them home. The neighbours followed him, and this is how the first coal mine in Wałbrzych area was discovered.
Sustainable tourism insights
The mine is well known for their revitalised complex including the Museum of Industry and Technology, Contemporary Art gallery, Unique Ceramics Centre and for their hospitality complex with accommodation, conference rooms and gastronomy. The venue provides numbers of workshops and educational tours for children and adults.
The history of mine changes from industrial production plant to regional tourist destination. In 2015, the Old Mine was awarded the prestigious title of “Well-kept Monument” by the National Heritage Institute, emphasising the uniqueness and scale of the revitalisation works.