Coming to Krakow and looking for something a little different? After you’ve seen the Old Town, Main Square and Kazimierz, think about making your way to the eastern edge of Krakow to the district of Nowa Huta, the socialist-realist dream of the communist planners. Here’s why you should make a visit to this unique place part of your stay.
Nowa Huta Tour – the historical context
The construction of this community, which was supposed to fulfill the ideals of socialist-realist urban planning, was begun in 1949. Just two years later, it found itself incorporated within the city limits of Krakow. The purpose of Nowa Huta was to serve as the residential area for the workers that supported an enormous steel works that was part of a larger plan to rebuild the country after the devastation of the war through heavy industry. Social and propagandistic considerations also factored heavily in the decision to build Nowa Huta as well. The populace failed, however, to satisfy the expectations of the Communist authorities and instead Nowa Huta became one of the centers of resistance to the regime. This was partly manifested in a long and ultimately successful fight to gain permission to build a new church in Nowa Huta and in 1977 the Arka Pana church was finally consecrated. The church is well worth a visit not just because of its historical and social significance but for its truly unique design as well.
Socialist-realist architecture in Nowa Huta
After the war, a team of architects and urban planners was given an unsual degree of creative freedom and a unique opportunity to create their own vision of the ideal planned city – as long as it conformed to the fundamental ideals of socialism, naturally. It would be a mistake to expect awkward and dull architecture just because it was produced under Eastern bloc Communism. We are sure you will be surprised and intrigued by the unique style that was created here, far behind the Iron Curtain. The designers managed to insert any number of elements taken from Rennaisance and Baroque influences into Nowa Huta along with interesting twists on scale, symetry and open urban spaces. Plac Centralny – the main square of Nowa Huta – and wide thoroughfares create a strong impression of first-time visitors. The foundry itself is also open to public tours and it’s hard to find the words to describe its massive scale and endless spaces. This kind of design – known as “Monumentalism” for good reason – was often used in socialist-realist architecture. Nowa Huta is the perfect setting to learn about the everyday lives of people who lived away from the fairy-tales-and-castles side of Krakow and in the very center of a planned socialist community in a People’s Republic. Learn more about Nowa Huta Tour at http://guide-krakow.com/nowa-huta/ .
Krakow Guide – The pre-War side of Nowa Huta
Remember that there was a community in what later became Nowa Huta long before its post-war construction. Interesting sites from this time include the Abbey in Mogila and its amazing multicolored stained glass. Also, the wooden 15th century Church of St. Bartholomew and the charming mansion in Krzeslawice await visitors looking for the other side of Nowa Huta Tour.