Michał Sierakowski

2013 - Ongoing

Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

For hundreds of years people have been digging in search of most precious materials that Sudetes Mts. could give them. Marbles, gold, coal, copper, brimstone, lead, pyrite, opals, nickel. Rich mining cities raised and fell: to the ground and sometimes literally under the ground. 

One of the last mining chapters in history of Sudetes and also the most tragic took place in 1950s, when Soviets discovered uranium ore deposits in old German shafts. Driven crazy by Stalin’s obsession to possess nuclear bomb they started to overexploit old mines, polish miners and whole region. Dozens of people lie down buried in shafts, murdered by soviet secret police, hundreds of miners died of cancer or mining accidents, villages seized to exist and even one city had been buried underground hence of extensive and improper mining operations underneath.

Nowadays, when the mining period has come to an end with shutting down coal industry in 1990s and spreading high unemployment and poverty in the region, thousands of shafts, pits and caves can be found in forests and fields, on the hills and in the valleys firing the imagination and being the source of hundreds of mystery stories, legends and rumors about both horrors and treasures lying deep underneath Sudetes Mountains.

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  • Przesieka, 2014

  • Bóbr river near Miedzianka, 2014

  • View from inside of evangelican church onto catholic church on Miedzianka market square. Both the evangelican church and market square were completely destroyed by uranium mining works in 1950s; Miedzianka, 2015

  • Former quartz quarry mine; Karkonosze Mts., 2014

  • Miner’s Culture House, Kowary, 2015
    Built in the 1950s as a culture and entertainment center for a new housing district accommodating uranium miners and workers

  • Adits 19 and 19a of former uranium mine; Kowary, 2015

  • Franciszek, 2015
    Director of former secret Industrial Works R-1, company for searching, mining and enriching uranium ore.

  • Little Boy bomb mock-up, adit 9 of former uranium mine; Kowary, 2015

  • Walim, 2015

  • Piranha’s aquarium, adit 9 of former uranium mine; Kowary, 2015

  • Former mining pit; Wieściszowice, 2014

  • Robert’s workroom, Nowa Ruda, 2015
    Robert is mineral collector and geologist highly interested in uranium minerals.

  • Industrial Works R-1, Kowary, 2014
    Uranium ore enriching plant of former top secret polish-soviet company “Zakłady Przemysłowe R-1”

  • Jugów, Owl Mts., 2015

  • Remains of uranium mine, Okrzeszyn, 2015

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