Kozubnik resort is in Porąbka village next to Żywiec (yes, the famous beer brewery). Its story started in the sixties. It was built for Steelworks Renovation Company (in Polish: Hutnicze Przedsiębiorstwo Remontowe, HPR) in Katowice. The company had about 18 000 workers at that time and the resort was meant for them to spend their holidays. However, because of its attractive location was in fact visited by the Polish communist party officials (Polish United’ Workers Party, Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza) and not by low-level workers of the company for which it was built. Its official name is Zespół Domów Wypoczynkowo-szkoleniowych Hutniczego Przedsiębiorstwa Remontowego Porąbka-Kozubnik, which means something like Complex of Leisure and Training Houses of the Steelworks Renovation Company Porąbka-Kozubnik. Try to remember that 🙂 Thus it was commonly referred to as Kozubnik.
The resort lies in the valley of Mała Puszcza (Little Wood) creek and hills surround it from three sides. There is a narrow road leading to the entrance. The resort consists of several buildings. The highest building was accessible only by the highest rank members of the party. Less important party officials got rooms in smaller buildings. Kozubnik was a small, fully self-sufficient town. It had an own water intake facility and power generator. The hotels had luxurious decor and housed swimming pools, sauna, solariums, hairdresser, bowling hall, several restaurants and cafes, disco and nightclub.
After Poland changed into democracy and capitalism, the resort was bought by a private company that could not manage to run it and announced bankruptcy in 1996. Since then, Kozubnik started to fall into ruin. When we visited it in 2012, it was in complete ruin. There are several videos showing pictures of the resort in its best years. Here is the video that combines pictures from the communist times with pictures of the same places in the 21st century.
We arrived at Kozubnik one summer afternoon. We left the car on a part of flat ground right before the sign forbidding entrance to the resort warning it is dangerous. A narrow asphalt road lead us up the valley. The road goes through the resort to another village so it is in relatively good condition. We were surprised to see many people walking around. Most of them were local families with children on their afternoon stroll – a picture you can see in any city park. First, we saw some smaller hotels. We had limited time before sunset so we didn’t explore these buildings.
We went directly deeper into the valley towards the highest hotel. But couldn’t resist checking few places on the way. It was still possible to see the regulated creek which in good times of the resort featured fountains. We saw the restaurants at ground floors of the hotels. Finally, we reached the highest building that could be accessed only by the high-rank party members. There were very few signs of the old time luxury. The ground floor was full of trash and the almost only thing left from the hotel were bare walls. There was a bit of original ceiling cover too, but that was all. We followed the staircase up carefully stepping over missing steps. We checked some of the rooms, but everything was stolen from here too. Here the only remaining things left were bathroom tiles. Even the elevator shafts seemed completely empty.
After a while, we reached the top floor. From there we went to the roof on a bit scary stairs. At least for Katalin, they were very scary. The stairs had no railing and were right on the edge of the building so that on one side you were exposed to a drop to the ground far below us. Climbing to the roof gave us chance to enjoy a great panoramic view of whole Kozubnik, the nearby village (some of the houses nowadays stand very close to the resort) and to the surrounding hills including the water power plant on Żar hill. The roof had still frame that used to hold a sign with the logo of the HPR, but now there is only the frame left.
It was a great experience to explore Kozubnik. It was our first big abandoned place with many buildings. We liked it so much that whenever we travel we try to visit forgotten places. For example, after Kozubnik we checked a similar resort in Croatia where we spent a night and a smaller one in Macedonia.
Shortly after our visit new owner came to Kozubnik and started renovating the buildings. The plan is to open the resort again in the end of 2017, so now the amazing abandoned town is no longer accessible, but for sure we wanna check it out when the renovation will finish!