Wieża szybu Krystyna
Szyb Krystyna w 2009 roku. Fot. Yarl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The tower of the Krystyna shaft in Bytom is waiting to be rescued. The BytoMy Collective is working to save it

For almost two years, the BytoMy collective has been campaigning as a social side to save from ruin and oblivion a monument – the tower of the Krystyna shaft of the former Szombierki coal mine in Bytom. Activists are appealing to the authorities of the city of Bytom, the voivodeship, the Marshal’s Office and the Voivodeship Conservator of Monuments to snatch this object from private hands. The condition of the unsecured object is deteriorating dramatically with, in their view, a passive attitude on the part of the city authorities. The collective has launched a petition to this effect, which has already been signed by almost 1,400 people – not only Bytomians, but also people from Silesia and from all over Poland, Europe and other continents. This shows how important it is to protect such witnesses of history.

In July last year, the shaft changed ownership and passed into new hands. At the time, it was loudly announced in the local media that the conservation work commissioned by the conservator had already begun. This was not true, as six months have passed since then and Christine is still deteriorating. In addition, the monument is not fenced off and outsiders have access to it all the time, resulting in further degradation of the building.

The tower of the Krystyna Shaft and a banner. Photo: BytoMy

Szyb Krystyna

The brick, steel-based hoist tower of the Krystyna Shaft is a relic of the decommissioned Szombierki Coal Mine. The Kaiser-Wilhelm Shaft was built between 1870 and 1873 for the then new Hohenzollern Coal Mine. Originally, the tower was an octagonal brick building and was about 17 metres high. In order to increase mining efficiency, the mine management decided to completely rebuild the shaft tower building and do away with the old steam engines, replacing them with electric ones. The architect was Ing. Becker from Gliwice. Construction was completed in 1929.

Shaft in 1938 Source: Schlesische Monatshefte

In 1945 the mine was nationalised and renamed KWK Szombierki. After its liquidation in 2000, some of the buildings were demolished, leaving the hoist tower of the Ewa shaft and the hoist tower building of the Krystyna shaft. It was entered in the register of immovable monuments of the Silesian Voivodeship in 2004. Next to the shafts is a large underground air raid shelter, which was entered in the municipal register of monuments of Bytom in 2020.

Although in a rather deplorable condition, Krystyna still presents a very majestic appearance and has many original finishes and fittings. Its rescue is a great and important step to commemorate the former industrial power of the area.

Part of the BytoMy collective’s appeal reads:

“The city can afford to buy the Christina Shaft out of irresponsible private hands. The city five years in a row has an annual budget of more than one billion euros. Many cities smaller and poorer than Bytom are taking over historic post-industrial heritage and successfully revitalising it.

We appeal to the Bytom city authorities: wake up! How many more post-industrial sites in Bytom will be ruined?

The demolition of EC Miechowice is currently underway, and there is no trace left of many mines and their buildings. The repair workshops of the Upper Silesian Narrow Gauge Railway have been deteriorating for years. In Bobrek, more century-old buildings are burning in strange circumstances, the unique tram depot on Witczaka Street was allowed to be demolished for a grocery store car park. The 19th century oldest railway station in Bytom, located in the Bobrek district, is also in disastrous condition. Bytom is not just about townhouses in the centre. You are depriving this city of its heritage and identity!

We appeal to you,

Residents of Bytom and beyond.”

Krystyna and Ewa shaft towers in 2020. Photo by Adrian Tync, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are links where you can find more information and sign, adding a small contribution to the great cause of saving the unique post-industrial heritage of the city of Bytom:





Source: BytoMy collective

Read also: Architecture in Poland | Monuments | History | Bytom | Interesting facts

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