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Kraków/East

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Eastern part of Kraków consists of several districts, most known of which is Nowa Huta. It is situated east of the Old Town and north of Vistula River. Nowa Huta recently became one of tourist destinations in Kraków as a post-communist district with very typical Socialist Realism [1] (socrealistic) architecture.

Understand[edit]

Nowa Huta centre

The area of Nowa Huta was a fertile countryside landscape in the Middle Ages. In the 6th century a mound was erected there by the Vistula People, one of the Polish tribes. In the 12th century the monks erected a monastery in Mogiła. After Poland was liberated and occupied by the Soviet Union the communists built the biggest European steel mill called Nowa Huta (New Steel Mill) from 1949 to 1955. The new district was built around Plac Centralny (Central Square) and Aleja Róż (Alley of Roses).

Nowa Huta was a model city built to attract people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to the region as a counterweight to the middle class of Krakow who had decisively rejected Communism in the 1946 Polish People's Referendum. Nowa Huta became the largest steel mill in Poland but had little economic rationale: coal had to be imported from Silesia and iron ore from the Soviet Union, while most of the finished steel was shipped elsewhere as there was little local demand.

It is one of the best examples of Socrealist architecture in Europe. Nowa Huta became the first atheist district in Poland, and it was not until the 1970s when the first church was built there and sanctified by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II.

Andrzej Wajda's film Man of Marble [2] shows the life of bricklayers building Nowa Huta in the 50s and also the use of propaganda during the Stalinism period.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Wanda Mound (Kopiec Wandy). Considered a burial place of a legendary princess Wanda.
  • Krakow Historical Museum - The History of Nowa Huta Quarter (Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa - Dzieje Nowej Huty), os. Słoneczne 16, (12) 425-97-75, [3]. shows the history of Nowa Huta before and after 1949.  edit
  • PRL Museum (The People's Republic of Poland Museum), os. Centrum E 1 (the old Światowid cinema building), (12) 686-61-65, [4]. 9AM - 3PM. Museum is under construction so it's often closed, check the website before visiting.  edit
  • Museum of Armed Deed (Muzeum Czynu Zbrojnego), os. Górali 23, [5]. Mon - Fr: 10 - 15. WW2 tank IS-2 which stands in front of the museum is one of Nowa Huta landmarks. Free.  edit
  • Nowa Huta Cultural Centre (NCK - Nowohuckie Centrum Kultury), al. Jana Pawła II 232, [6].  edit
  • Jan Matejko Manor (Dworek Jana Matejki), ul. Wańkowicza 25, [7]. Fridays: 10 - 14. Summer residence of one of most well known Polish artists - Jan Matejko. Today a museum. 7 zł.  edit
  • Aviation Museum (Muzeum Lotnictwa), al. Jana Pawła II 39 (Czyżyny district), [8]. 9.00 - 17.00, Mondays closed. A museum consisting of a new pavilion (good contemporary architecture) and few hangars filled with over two hundred historic gliders, aircrafts, helicopters and more. Among them is a collection of 22 extremely rare antique planes that once belonged to Hermann Göring. The museum stands on the grounds of the Rakowice-Czyżyny airfield, one of the oldest military airfields in Europe. Tuesdays free.  edit

Churches[edit]

  • St. Venceslaus' Church and Cistercian Abbey [9] - built in 1266 by the bishop Prandota for the Cistercians who came to Mogila in 1220 invited by duke Leszek the White and bishop Iwo Odrowaz. The crossway was founded by Casimir the Great in the 14th century. The interior is painted by Stanislaw Samostrzelnik, considered to be the best Polish Renaissance painter, who himself was a Cysterian. It also has beautiful stained glass windows and a late gothic altar form 1514 by Szczodrowa. The stalls have fine baroque portraits. Inside the early baroque chapel of Stefan Żółkowski is the wonderful gothic Cross of Mogiła. The facade is late baroque.
  • St. Bartholomew's Church - stands opposite to the Cistercian Abbey. It is one of the oldest surviving examples of Polish wooden sacral architecture from the 15th century.
  • "Lord's Ark" Church - the church built during the 70s. Considered somewhat of a symbol of defiance against communist government.

Architecture of central part of Nowa Huta[edit]

The original complex of apartment buildings is built around axis which radiate out from the Central Square (Plac Centralny, recently dedicated to Ronald Reagan). Architects of the first apartments blocks mixed the Renaissance style with Soviet Realism. Buildings constructed after 1956 are Modernist while those built in the 1970s and 1980s are mainly 'plattenbau', a technique which used prefabricated concrete plates and was common in East Germany.

Do[edit][add listing]

If you looking for professional private tours of the former Communism District take Crazy Guides [10] or the Communism Guided Tour [11] of Nowa Huta in original cars from the communist times. With the reference of the Historical Museum of The City of Krakow and official Guides of Krakow.

  • Teatr Ludowy (People's Theater), Osiedle Teatralne 34, +48 12 68 02 100, [12].  edit
  • Teatr Łaźnia Nowa, os. Szkolne 25, [13].  edit
  • Kino Sfinks (Sphinx Cinema), os. Górali 5, +48 12 644 27 65 w.32, [14]. one of the smaller, quite forgotten cinemas in Krakow, films usually arrive here a month after their premiere, but it's definitely not a multiplex experience.  edit

Nowa Huta Lake - artificial water reservoir right next to Huta centre. Place for sports, rollerskating, a sunbath and swan feeding (don't do the last one, it's forbidden).

Nowa Huta Lake

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Stylowa, os. Centrum C 3. located close to the Central Square, the oldest still working in Nowa Huta (opened in 1956) and considered 'cult' by some. Remodeled in 2000s but still has some 'communist' flavours. Very cheap compared to restaurants in Old Town.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Klub Kombinator, os. Szkolne 25, 692 84 84 00, [15]. coffee, beer, vodka and board games. open till midnight.  edit
  • C-2 Południe Cafe, os. Górali 5, [16]. Mondays closed.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Dom Wycieczkowy PTTK, ul. Bulwarowa 37, +48 12 644 08 63 (), [17]. One of the cheapest accommodation options in the city (since so far from the centre), 50 places in 4 and 6 bed dorms. Shared bathrooms. Close to the Nowa Huta Lake and sport facilities. Real old-school. From 22 zł.  edit

Contact[edit]

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