Ignacy Historic Mine

The Ignacy Historic Mine in Rybnik is a unique renovation project on the site of a former coal mine, one of the oldest in Poland, which was founded in 1792 and was in operation for over 200 years. Thanks to the joint efforts of the former miners, the City of Rybnik, the Polish state and EU funds, the complex has been saved and adapted to new functions as a cultural and recreational centre.

Ignacy Historic Mine, Rybnik, POLAND

In 1999, facing the looming threat of neglect and decay, the miners acted to save the site. They formed an association with a clear mission: to persuade the mine’s management and local authorities of the importance of preserving this iconic facility. Their efforts bore fruit when, in 2005, the most valuable part of the mine was officially recognised on the Register of Cultural Property.

However, even these efforts could not halt the deterioration of the site. From 2006-2008, the site was finally closed when the Kosciuszko shaft was backfilled, the steam hoisting machines were shut down, and the hoisting ropes were removed. Responsibility for the heritage lay with the city of Rybnik, which took full ownership of most of the complex’s land.

Although the comprehensive renovation had been planned since 2014, renovation work began only in 2018. The restoration had three primary objectives. Firstly, the main complex and its unique equipment were preserved, transforming it into a beacon of European industrial heritage.

Ignacy Historic Mine, Rybnik, POLAND

The works carried out included a comprehensive restoration of the existing building fabric and works to update the sanitary and electrical wiring to adapt the site to new functions. A connecting building was constructed as an entrance to the complex with a reception and information desk. The most remarkable part was the renovation of the hundred-year-old steam engine, which is now working at full power.

The project also aimed to revitalise the area, once a symbol of economic hardship, into a space for community engagement and recreation. The former power plant building, repurposed as a meeting hall, now serves as a focal point for gatherings and events for the local community, including associations of retired miners. This development has had a significant social impact for the surrounding community.

Finally, the project has opened the Ignacy Historic Mine to tourism. Visitors can now explore the interactive exhibition housed within the Kosciuszko shaft buildings, delving into the roots of the Industrial Revolution and the significance of inventions like the steam engine in shaping Europe’s global influence.


The restoration project of the Ignacy Historic Mine in Rybnik exemplifies excellence in addressing common challenges for mining areas. The project showcases a holistic approach with meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to preserving mobile heritage, such as the steam engine. By investing in effective communication and community engagement, the project not only revitalised the physical landscape but also energised the local community, fostering social cohesion and even contributing to a reduction in crime rates. This bottom-up quality is what has ensured its status as a regional accelerator”, the Awards’ Jury stated.

Contact: Marek Golosz, Ignacy Historic Mine | addresskontakt@kopalniaignacy.pl | www.kopalniaignacy.pl