The early medieval hillfort in Bytom, dated at the 11th-early 14th century, is a highly valuable archaeological site. It was one of the several dozen hillforts which formed the basis of the organisation of the state of the first Piast rulers between the 11th and 13th century. The topography of the structure, indicative of its former grandness and importance, has been partially preserved. The historic cultural strata identified in the yard are 1.5 m thick on average (unfortunately, they were severely damaged by numerous burials which took place in the later centuries). The hillfort contained the seat of a castellan and the oldest Bytom church — the Romanesque stone Church of St Margaret from the beginning of the 2nd half of the 12th century. However, no traces of the buildings have been found yet. Location and description The hillfort used to be situated by the River Bytomka, on a small natural hill — the Hill of St Margaret, also called the Hill of “Little Margaret” (covering an area of approx. 1.4 ha). The hillfort was established on a route from Wrocław to Kraków. Its purpose was to strengthen the rule of the first Piast rulers in Upper Silesia. According to J. Szydłowski, archeological excavations (including rescue excavations and archaeological field surveys) were carried out in 1929, 1934 and in 1957, 1961. Despite their small scale, the excavations yielded many artefacts. Numerous fragments of ceramics, metal adornments, knives, a metal coin (probably a cross denarius from the 11th century), and a metal padlock from the 12th century (one of the oldest in Poland) were found. History According to the findings of J. Szydłowski, the early medieval hillfort in Bytom was established in the 11th century and operated until the end of the 13th century or even until the beginning of the 14th century. It was located on an important route from Wrocław to Kraków. Its purpose was to strengthen the rule of the Piast dynasty in the region. The first mention of the Bytom hillfort in written records comes from 1177, when Casimir II the Just (1138-1194), under a peace treaty, handed it over (together with the whole Bytom and Oświęcim castellanies) to Mieszko I Tanglefoot (born 1131-1146 - deceased 1211), Duke of Racibórz (from 1172), and later also Duke of Opole (from 1201) and Duke of Kraków (from 1210). Probably on the initiative of Mieszko Tanglefoot, the Bytom hillfort was modified and enlarged in c. 1200. It should be added that in the middle of the 12th century (in the 1150s, early 1160s?), Bolesław IV the Curly (1146-1173) founded a Romanesque stone Church of St Margaret within the hillfort. This information comes from the so-called Jaksa tympanum, dated at 1160-1163. Originally, it adorned the Church of St Michael in Wrocław-Ołbin; currently, it is part of the collection of the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław. The tympanum depicts, among others, Bolesław the Curly, who is offering a church located “in Bitom”, i.e. in Bytom, to Jesus Christ. It needs to be emphasised that the Jaksa tympanum is the oldest historic object of this type in Poland. As for the Romanesque church founded by Bolesław the Curly, according to the image on the tympanum, it was a simple, rectangular building with a rectangular chancel, with a tower at the front. Hence, it was not a rotunda, but rather a simple church similar to the small Church of John the Baptist (dated at the 2nd quarter of the 12th century), which can currently be seen at a cemetery in Siewierz, Gmina of Siewierz, Będzin District, Silesian Voivodeship. In 1254, Vladislaus II of Opole (c. 1225-1281 or 1282, Duke of Opole and Racibórz in the years 1246-1280 or 1281) founded the city of Bytom, which contributed to the gradual decline in importance of the settlement on the Hill of St Margaret. In 1430, Bytom was conquered by Hussites, and the hillfort was most probably destroyed and never inhabited again. It is worth mentioning that traces of settlement from the Stone Age were also identified at this site. Currently, the area where the hillfort used to be located is occupied by the Neo-Gothic, Roman Catholic Church of St Margaret (the fourth building, built in 1881) and a graveyard, still in use. Besides the church and the graveyard, there is also a seat of the Verbites on the Hill of “Little Margaret”. Condition and results of archaeological research The results of the archaeological research lead to the conclusion that the hillfort buildings were made of wood and rather widely spaced. The hillfort was surrounded by wood and earth ramparts, and the excavations enabled the identification of two stages of their existence. According to the findings of J. Szydłowski, the older rampart was made of earth and reinforced on the outside and at the top with a light wooden structure. The identified traces of a burnt structure suggest that the first fortifications most likely burnt down. After levelling was conducted, another wood and earth rampart was built, whose remains are visible in the southern and eastern parts of the site. The construction of the younger rampart was probably related to the activities of Mieszko Tanglefoot, who “built Bytom” in c. 1200. To sum up, the settlement of the hillfort area was not intense, however, the relatively small hillfort, being the seat of a castellan, performed important administrative and political functions. The site is accessible all year round. Artefacts recovered during the archeological excavations can be seen in the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom. compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 23.06.2014.
We have a great sunny spring. We are lockdown at homebut each day it gets better and bettet, Since 6th of May some day nurseries and kindergatens are opened. Since 11 th May museums and libraries are going to open.
This power station is located about 30 minutes from my apartment. It is a reaaly interesting place. Below you can read its history. Enjoy.
Szombierki Power Station is a coal-fired power station in Szombierki district of Bytom, Poland. Operational since 1920, since the 1990s it operates at a limited capacity, and is regarded as a monument due to its architectural values.
The power plant was completed after World War I, and started operations in 1920, providing electricity for Bytom region (then part of Germany). The structure, originally intended to be an explosives factory, covers approximately 36,000 square metres (390,000 sq ft). It was originally operated by Schaffgotsch Bergwerksgesellschaft GmbH (a German company of the Schaffgotsch family). The structure was designed by German architects Georg and Emil Zillmann, known in Silesia as architects of the Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec districts in nearby Katowice. Notable features of the design included a large hall (2,800 square metres (30,000 sq ft)), three 120-metre (390 ft) chimneys, and a clock tower with a clock, one of the largest turret clocks in Poland.
By World War II the plant had a capacity of 100 MW. Quickly rebuilt after the war, and operating at a similar capacity in the 1950s, the Szombierki Power Plant was one of the largest in the People's Republic of Poland and Europe.
In the 1970s, the power plant was converted from a thermal power station to a combined heat and power plant. It was modernised up until the mid 1990s, and from 1993 it was owned by Zespół Elektrociepłowni Bytom S.A. Since the late 1990s, the power plant has been operating at a significantly reduced capacity, used primarily as a reserve power plant. It is considered an industrial monument (a part of the Trail of Monuments of Engineering in the Silesian Voivodeship, Szlak Zabytków Techniki Województwa Śląskiego). Since the mid-1990s, it has been a host site to a number of cultural events (such as concerts or exhibitions) until 2011, when it was acquired by Finnish company Fortum and closed due to concerns over structure stability. Parts of the structure are still open for small guided tours.
There are plans to convert it into a museum or a similar type of a cultural institution.