Square in Katowice

The city's central market square is not lined with historic burghers' houses as you’d find elsewhere in Silesia, but instead is encircled by drab postwar blocks. 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'.

At the time of research, however, the Rynek was undergoing a major makeover which should produce a more pleasant public space once completed – the colourful planter boxes and timber benches are a good start.