Nowa Huta District Tour
(approx. 4 hours)
The district of Nowa Huta (New Steelwork) is a unique place in Krakow and in Poland.
Designed and built as a completely new Communist City in opposition to old, traditional and conservative Krakow it offers a real atmosphere of Stalin-era times.
Huge steelworks and apartment buildings for workers built in 1950s show a coherent vision of socialist realism architecture imported from the Soviet Union and enriched with Polish national style by Polish architects: Tadeusz Ptaszycki, Janusz Ingarden, Boleslaw Skrzybalski, and others.
Athough very young, Nowa Huta is already rich with history - it's communist planners created it to bring communist style of life to Krakow and build a new, communist society. However, residents of Nowa Huta and workers of the steel-mill were among the first to rebel against the communist governmet and fight for human and workers' rights and became the stronghold of the Solidarity (Solidarnosc) movement in the 1980s. They defended the construction of the famous Our Lord's Ark Church and organized numerous patriotic demonstrations which usually ended in clashes with the communist police. So, it is the town that was built by the communist system, but eventually became very active in dismounting the communist government in Poland.
We will start our tour by the Steelworks Main Entrance Gate and its Administration Centre. It is a great example of socialist realism architecture. Two office buildings on both sides of the gate imitate Polish Renaissance architecture style. The steelworks used to bear Vladimir Ilich Lenin's name during the communist era and now are named after T. Sendzimir and operate as a private enterprise.
Our next stop will be in the Wanda and Willowe housing estates. You will see complete units with entire housing infrastructure: apartment buildings, schools, kindergartens, shops, parks and playgrounds, cultural centers, etc.. They are good examples of well thought architecture of its time.
We will direct our steps then to the centre of Nowa Huta - the former Central Square and its surroundings. The Central Square, now the Ronald Reagan Central Square is the meeting point of the 5 main streets connecting it with different parts of the district. The monumental buildings around the Square are another great example of the Stalin-era architecture.
We will direct our steps then to the Roses Alley (Aleja Roz) street. It starts with a broad promenade with a place where Lenin's monument was placed in 1973 making it one of the most recognized spots in Nowa Huta and Krakow for many years. As the monument is gone now, we will focus our attention on stylish great apartment buildings surrounding the promenade.
Next place to visit is the People's Theatre (Teatr Ludowy) of Nowa Huta. During our walk to the theatre we will have another chance to observe separate settlements and beautiful green areas around them. The theatre is famous for it's high quality of performances, actors and directors, and also for interesting social experiments with local subcultures.
Our tour of Nowa Huta will be completed with a visit to the Our Lord's Ark - a spiritual center for the district's residents since they had to defend its construction in 1960s and a starting point of pro-Solidarity demonstrations in 1980s. We will see a small monument commemorating the victims of communism, placed on the spot where Bogdan Wlosik, one of the protesting steelworkers was killed by the secret police. The church contains also an interesting set of Passion of Christ stations that are an allegory of modern Polish history.
During these 4 hours you will see 40 years of history of Nowa Huta - from where the communism started to where it was defeated...
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