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 socrealistic architecture.


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 Kraków 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 shows the life of bricklayers building Nowa Huta in the 50s and also the use of propaganda during the Stalinism period.


Architecture of Nowa Huta, Aleja Róż
IS-2 tank in front of Museum of Armed Deed
Aviation Museum
"Lord's Ark" Church

Architecture of the central part of Nowa Huta

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 Renaissance style with Soviet Realism. Buildings constructed after 1956 are Modernist (of this period an interesting example is so called Swedish block at os. Szklane Domy nr 19c) while those built in the 1970s and 1980s are mainly 'plattenbau', a technique which used prefabricated concrete plates and was common in Eastern Bloc. The first buildings in Poland which were built using big block technique, one that later evolved into 'plattenbau', can be seen at os. Stalowe.




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

Nowa Huta Lake






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