Square in Katowice

The city's central market square is not lined with historical burghers' houses as you’d find elsewhere in Silesia, but is instead encircled by drab postwar blocks and newer retail developments. It’s a showpiece of the 'early Gierek style' – the term Poles sarcastically give to architecture spawned during the fleeting period of apparent prosperity in the early 1970s, when Edward Gierek's communist government took out hefty loans from the West with the fanciful aim of making Poland a 'second Japan'.