|Location:||Opatow, Pl Obroncow Pokoju 18|
MAR to OCT Mon-Sat 9-18, Sun 11-17.
NOV to FEB daily 10-15.
Adults PLZ 8, reduced PLZ 5
|Dimension:||L=335m, 46 chambers on three levels.|
|Guided tours:||D=40min, L=400m.|
Owner: Opatow Town Council, 27-500 Opatow, Tel: +48-15-8682020.
Tourist Organiser: PTTK Section in Opatow - The Tourist Office in Opatow, 27-500 Opatow, Pl Obroncow Pokoju 18, Tel: +48-15-8682778.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|12th cty||first cellars dug.|
|1984||opened to the public.|
The Podziemia Opatowskie (Cellars of Opatow) are located below the town center, the entrance is located at the town square. The first cellars were built between the 12th and 14th century by merchants to store their wares. Opatow is located at the crossing of important merchant routes, the Silesia-Cracow route and the Pomerania-Ruthenia route. As a result it was an important market town.
The main reason for the construction of cellars was probably the restricted space inside the city walls. There was no ground left, so the only way to exted the storerooms was to dig deeper. The result was a second and a third underground level. Digging was easy, as the ground consists of a thick layer of Loess. Loess is rock dust, the crushed and rubbed rocks of the glaciers of the Ice Age, blown away by the cold winds and deposited in front of the glaciers. Loess is a material with rather strange features: one one side it is a very fine sand, and it is possible to easily scratch it and the sand is easy to transport. On the other hand it is very stable, almost like rock. Thats the reason why so many cellars and cave houses are built inside loess.
It seems the cellars were not in use for a very long time. During World War II they were a good hideout for the resistance because of this. But the increased traffic caused a collapse and a bus nose-dived into one cellar unexpectedly. As a result it was necessary to explore the cellars, renovate them and make sure they cause no thread. So the reason for the cracks in the historic buildings of the town became known. The renovation plan was developed by the experts of the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy in Kraków.
After they were renovated the cellars were opened to the public. The cellars contain art exhibitions, one is equipped like a Medieval merchants storeroom. Some are used by local artisans.