Spodek is an iconic landmark of Katowice and one of the most readily recognized architectural objects in Poland. It was built 45 years ago and still continues to amaze viewers with its design. It is hard to imagine the landscape of Katowice without it. What were its beginnings?
Design and location
Architects were selected in 1959 in a contest announced by the Polish Architects’ Society. The team of the Office of Typical Studies and Designs of Industrial Construction from Warsaw included: Maciej Gintowt and Maciej Krasiński. The construction was commissioned to Wacław Zalewski.
Design and location
Architects were selected in 1959 in a contest announced by the Polish Architects’ Society. The team of the Office of Typical Studies and Designs of Industrial Construction from Warsaw included: Maciej Gintowt and Maciej Krasiński. The construction was commissioned to Andrzej Żórawski.
The construction of a modern arena in the centre of Katowice was passionately championed by the Silesian Voivode, General Jerzy Ziętek, who wanted it to become a symbol of the city. It was initially meant to be located in the Culture and Leisure Park in Chorzów, but the design submitted by the architects, so very bold and avant-garde in the era of social realism, appealed to Jerzy Ziętek so much that he decided to change the location and place Spodek in the very heart of the city. The function of the structure was also changed to encompass sports and entertainment, and the project was expanded to include a gym, an ice rink, a hotel and a swimming pool. Construction lasted from 1964 to 1971.
The largest and most modern sports and event venue in Poland, the Spodek Arena had a gala opening on 9 May 1971 in the presence of more than 12,000 guests. The event was accompanied by performances by the “Śląsk” band, Anna German and Ewa Decówna.
Ever since, the Spodek arena has hosted great entertainment events, such as concerts by, for instance, Sting, Jean Michel Jarre, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Brian Adams, Elton John, Vanessa Mae, Deep Purple, Metallica, The Cure, Genesis, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Black Sabbath, Saxon, Mike Oldfield, The Kelly Family, Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Robbie Williams, Depeche Mode, Korn and Slipknot. For the past 34 years, it has hosted the Rawa Blues Festival; for 29 years the celebrated Metalmania Festival; and for 15 the Mayday techno music festival.
Sports emotions galore
Spodek is also the venue for unforgettable sports events. Fans have enjoyed participating in numerous world championships in men’s volleyball, ice hockey, women’s handball, bodybuilding, weight-lifting, acrobatic gymnastics, the finals of the World League of men’s volleyball, and the European championships in wrestling, athletics, men’s handball and women’s basketball. The Spodek also holds the record for the largest turnout. In 2001, during the preliminaries and finals of the World League of men’s volleyball, the arena hosted nearly 50 thousand fans.
The new face of Spodek
In 2016, the Spodek Arena housed the 4th edition of the largest e-sports event, Intel Extreme Masters. This event attracts several hundred thousand gaming fans every year. For the duration of the event, the arena turns into an exceptional platform, providing an excellent and magical setting that simply electrifies the young and demanding participants. In 2016, for the first time, the Spodek Arena will also serve as a venue for the large European Economic Congress. The hall of the Spodek will host the inauguration of the event, which attracts more than 7,000 business guests from Europe, Africa and Asia every year.
The Spodek Arena also serves as a venue for regular trade fairs and exhibitions, such as: the “KATOWICE” International Mining, Energy, and Metallurgy Trade Fair, the ProfiAuto Show, the Wedding Trade Fair, the “Treasures of the Earth” exhibition and the International Pedigree Dog Show.