|THE INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTATION AND RESEARCH CENTRE ON INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE FOR TOURISM|
The industrial development has accompanied the humanity since its beginnings – from the times of simple tools and appliances production, through craft, engine production, to contemporary computer controlled production – called “the third industrial revolution”. The monuments of industry and technology, often enchanting, have been for many years underestimated in terms of tourist use. Today they are the places of interest, as a part of civilization heritage, as the symbols of industrialization era, appreciated by UNESCO, TICCIH, UNWTO and other organizations. Beside historic manufactures, mills, old mines, steel-works, chemical plants, hydrotechnical objects, the world boasts about modern plane, car, mobile-phone factories, or nuclear power plants.
From the industrialization to the industry culture.
Famous German architect, Fritz Schupp, wrote in 1929: “we must recognize, that industry with its enormous buildings is no longer a disturbing link in our townscape and our landscape, but a symbol of work, a monument of the town, which every citizen should present to the foreigner with at least the same pride as his public buildings”
The use of this rich heritage, as a testimony to history and material culture, present or past, can be perceived as an attractive product, with an enormous development potential, in the shape of varied “industrial heritage tourism” offer, for present and future generations. The industrial-culture tourism is therefore a great free time service component, as well as a good way of saving industrial monuments from the risk of closure or liquidation. Industrial heritage has a big potential of authenticity, draw and diversity, awaiting discovery by the tourists from the entire world. As the famous writer Henry Miller wrote: “one's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things”, and as Martin Walser wrote in one of his novels: “in every ending is a new beginning”
On 4 September 2008 in Zabrze, THE INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTATION AND RESEARCH CENTRE ON INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE FOR TOURISM (IDRC-IHT) was established. It is located on the premises of the Historic Coal Mine „Guido”. The initiative to create the Centre came in 2005 from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) under whose auspices international conferences on industrial heritage and tourism have been held in Zabrze since 2004. Accordingly, UNWTO is one of the signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Centre. The other three partners, all from Poland, include the Municipality of Zabrze, the Śląskie Voivodeship, and the Katowice School of Economics (GWSH). The Centre will seek to provide services to the tourism sector and industrial heritage holders and will engage in collaboration and exchanging experiences with other international and national institutions holding stakes in industrial heritage for tourism, saving and enhancing industrial heritage, in particular its cultural value. The Centre’s services will include:
Every person, organisation or company interested in this area, is warmly invited to cooperate, put forward potential sites for the List or Centre's database, present own comments and ideas.