Visiting the Nowa Huta district is now becoming a must on the list of what to do for visitors to Krakow.
This place is also becoming popular with Polish sightseers for whom Socialist Realist architecture is not really something that should really interest them. But for some reason it does, for a few at least. This is an area of Poland forgotten for many years and even laughed at by citizens of Old Krakow, yet it grows in popularity.
The planning and building of Nowa Huta (The New Steel Works District) was ordered as far back as 1949. It was to be an independent city, a socialist utopia and completely self sufficient. It was built in times when the cost was not the most important factor.
The effect was important, the message it sent to the rest of the nation, to the world, was the major concern. Many parks, cinemas, theatres, shops, service points, kindergartens, hospitals were planned with splendid avenues and squares. Apart from the general popularity of Socialist Realist architecture in this part of Europe, Nowa Huta was a spectacular architectural event on a world scale!
The scale and splendour of the project here is surprising. First projected as a town then included as a district of Krakow it was planned in the pure form of Socialist Realist with Baroque and Renaissance elements.
The ideas were bright and brave for those times in the 40's and 50's and are still recognized nowadays by architects coming to see this monument to Socialist Realist architecture. But architecture is not all. You will find an atmosphere of the PRL - the Peoples Republic of Poland in Nowa Huta which is the special attraction especially for young tourists coming here from Western Europe.
The enthusiasm that accompanied workers and builders of the district and one of the largest steel works in the world (of that time) was accompanied by communist propaganda. For many it was a brilliant occasion to start a new life after the shortages and destruction of the war.
This concept, forced on the population by communist propaganda, kept people together and motivated them to exceed planned quotas by as much as 300% above the daily norms (often those who exceeded their quotas and were exalted by the communist authorities were aided in their task by groups of people who supported the hero in his work).
They created a particular environment of challenge, love of socialism, cooperation and the not to be forgotten comradeship among the workers. Remember that it looked different just 4 years after the terrible war
had ended and the plans for Nowa Huta were revealed to the country - many who had suffered in the war saw this as their brightest future, the only one possible.
Today the generations who built Nowa Huta are fading away, but when you are in Nowa Huta and you use a little imagination you can still feel the spirit and hear the songs, the cheering of the crowds, that special atmosphere of Nowa Huta. We suggest you take a stroll with The Visitor through some parts of Nowa Huta to enjoy the architecture and visit some important places in its history.
The map of the districts allows you to wander as you want off the short route to extend it as you wish depending on the feelings you have for this place (as not everyone likes it).
On your way you will find information points with photos that will give you even more information about the history and the alternative attractions on your route.
Enjoy your walk!