Krakรณw & Maลopolska
This is where we are located, and this is where we welcome you:
Kraków is the main city of Małopolska lying in the very south of Poland, a country situated in the heart of Europe.
Poland Kraków Małopolska
30% cash rebate for filmmakers in Poland 2
The Małopolska Region prides itself in its unique combination of material culture and natural environment: the large number of preserved heritage sites in the cities but also the woods, rivers, mountains, and lakes (and a desert!) form a perfect traditional culturescape. ↘↘ Such merits have been sufficient to have Małopolska’s heritage inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List six times at several locations: ©© Historic Centre of Kraków (including Kazimierz) ©© Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (with the Wieliczka Saltworks Castle) ©© Auschwitz Birkenau: German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940–1945) ©© Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park ©© Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska (Binarowa, Dębno Podhalańskie, Lipnica Murowana, Sękowa) ©© Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region (in Małopolska: Powroźnik, Owczary, Kwiatoń, Brunary Wyżne)
owczary Auschwitz Birkenau
Bochnia LIPNICA MUROWANA
SĘKOWA Brunary Wyżne Dębno Podhalańskie
KWIATOŃ krynica powroźnik
↘↘ One of Poland’s smallest administrative regions (15,108 square kilometres; 5,833 sq. mi), it boasts a total population of over 3.3 million: a number equal to that of the foreign tourists (14.5 million total) visiting it each year. ↘↘ The Royal Capital City of Kraków is the capital of Małopolska. A city of culture (museums, galleries, art house cinemas) and innovation, it has the second largest student population in Poland. ↘↘ The region is easily accessible by air (besides Kraków Balice Airport offering over 40 regular direct connections to Europe, America and Asia and convenient bus and shuttle train links to Kraków, there are Katowice Pyrzowice and Rzeszów Jasionka airports which have motorway links), as well as links by car and rail. It also offers plentiful accommodation in all standards.
Krakow Film Commission: this is who we are The Krakow Film Commission, a special branch of the Krakow Festival Office (KBF), can bring the desired locations in the city and region into a movie, providing support during film production and on the set. Even more so as we are the operator of the Krakow Regional Film Fund (RFF), to which you can also apply
for financial support. As such, we assist in securing rights to locations and streamlining cooperation with city services, manage a rich database of specialist companies in the region and continually update the database of locations in Kraków and Małopolska. Another
benefit of the Krakow Film Commission is the possibility of getting financial support for film productions through the Krakow Regional Film Fund that we have operated since 2009.
Krakow Regional Film Fund: this is what we have for you A tool for co-financing film productions, the Krakow Regional Film Fund, is financed by the City of Kraków and Małopolska Region. Its mission is to leverage the development of the local film industry by increasing film production and film-related expenditure in the region.
The Krakow Regional Film Fund (RFF) was launched in 2009; organisation-wise, it is part of the Krakow Festival Office (KBF). The goal of the fund is to provide financial support to film productions connected with Kraków and the Małopolska Region, and thus also to the city’s and the region’s tourist and economic promotion. Every year, competitive awards of assets from the fund are made to support film production.
↘↘ The Krakow RFF has to date supported more than 45 co-productions: documentaries, animated, and feature films. ↘↘ Support is granted to Polish productions and international co-productions alike. ↘↘ A call for submissions is announced in the first quarter of each year. ↘↘ Having received our funding, you are obliged to spend 150% of its value in the region. ↘↘ You don’t even need a business address in Małopolska to apply to the Krakow RFF: it is the spending in the locality
that counts, and not where you come from. ↘↘ We run a database with dozens of contacts to experts in an array of fields in the audio and video sector, ranging from
script consultants to sound engineers. Let us know who you need or have a look at the database on our website. ↘↘ We work closely with key local partners, including: ©© the Animated Film Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, offering skills and practical experience, as well as digital and video tools, in different manual and digital processes throughout the animated film production process, from concept development, via script writing, storyboarding, shooting script preparation, animatics, set building, animation, layout, shooting, image editing, sound editing, soundtrack production, VII
to postproduction FX for the entire range of animated 2D and 3D film making; ÂŠÂŠ Multilab: postproduction film studio, running full DI process from conforming to deliverables and offering a green screen studio, cinema hall, workstations, and editing room rental services.
Krakow Festival Office The Krakow Festival Office (KBF) is the organiser of key cultural events in the city, including festivals covering music from early, to contemporary, jazz, ethno and of course film. The Krakow Film Music Festival is one of the most important events of its kind in the world. The KBF also manages the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature programme with the Conrad Festival and is operator of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre and the tourist
information network InfoKraków.
Kraków ↘↘ In 2018 alone, the events KBF organised attracted over
625.000 participants. ↘↘ The impressive record for 2018 included 510 celebrations, ranging from grand galas to comfortably informal merrymaking that lasted for a total of 365 days, making it a true all-year-round festivity with nearly 1.4 events being held each day.
Film festivals in Kraków: this is what film is known for locally In over ten years on the stage, the Krakow Film Music Festival (FMF) has garnered worldwide acclaim for its production, accomplishment and enthusiasm, and has earned the sobriquet the “Cannes of film music” among our guests from Hollywood. It is open to mainstream as well as experimental music, also from Polish and European cinema, at the same time continuing to honour established composers. It’s unique character stems from the combination of the highest quality interpretation of film music performed by artists and orchestras of the highest standard against high-quality moving pictures. The FMF has no paragon in Europe and attracts the contemporary elite of the world of music, culture, and film, as well as video games and film aficionados. Composers brought the world premieres of many pieces of film music to the FMF, often to be performed in the presence of world class directors. ↘↘ When heavy rains meant that the main event of the Film Music Festival could not be held on the open Błonia Common in the centre of the city in 2009, the organisers (Krakow Film Commission included) succeeded in moving it to the ArcelorMittal tinning plant in under 72 hours! This unbelievable project included obtaining all the permits, building a stage, X
moving seats for 5000 people, organising transport, and importing another screen, as the original one was damaged by the winds and rain. ↘↘ The greatest film music composers at the FMF have so far included Oscar-winning Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Dario Marianelli, Elliot Goldenthal, Tan Dun and Jan AP Kaczmarek, as well as Joe Hisaishi, Shigeru Umebayashi, Don Davis, Alberto Iglesias, Trevor Morris, Patrick Doyle, Garry Schyman, Wojciech Kilar, Abel Korzeniowski, Reinhold Heil, John-
ny Klimek, and Eric Serra. In turn, the OFF Camera Festival, a trailblazer in the world of festivals, honours artists speaking with their own voice and embarking on subjects that spark reflection and make ripples
in the world. Its philosophy is strongly aligned with the genius loci of Kraków. It shows that differences may not only divide but also bring together and inspire action. It not only attracts independent filmmakers through the atmosphere in the variety of events it encompasses, but also attracts them to the Krakow Film Awards of USD 300,000 and USD 100,000 that help to bring more films to the silver screen and which frequently show how attractive are the film sets that can be found in Poland. It features the OFF Camera Pro Industry: a space for active networking and development, and an opportunity for Polish actors to work with Hollywood casting directors. XI
One of the worldâ€™s vital locations for documentary, animated, and short films to meet, the Krakow Film Festival (KFF), organised since 1960, has brought up generations of film lovers, and, besides its meetings, runs workshops and exhibitions and involves the screening of around 250 Polish and foreign films. One of the oldest such festivals, it is full of youthful verve and is attractive to film aficionados and professionals alike. In its initial decades, it was an opportunity to take a peek at the non-communist world, it survived censorship and threats to be disbanded. Now it remains the mainstay of intriguing, ambitious productions, usually from outside the mainstream.
Poland Krakรณw Maลopolska
Film festivals in Krakรณw: This is what film is known for locally
Our selected projects: this is what we have done so far
In the last 10 years, Krakow Film Commission and Fund have been constantly involved in the production of successful films in our city and region. As a picture tells 1000 words, itâ€™s perhaps best to use images to describe our moving pictures. Demon, dir. by Marcin Wrona
The Mighty Angel, dir. by Wojtek Smarzowski
Coach’s Daughter, dir. by Łukasz Grzegorzek
Clergy, dir. by Wojtek Smarzowski
Mr. Jones, dir. by Agnieszka Holland
The Hoax, dir. by Jacek Koprowicz
Manhunt, dir. by Marcin Krzyształowicz
The Red Spider, dir. by Marcin Koszałka
The Magic Mountain, dir. by Anca Damian
All About My Parents, dir. by Marcin Krzyształowicz
Marie Curie: The Courage of the Knowledge, dir. by Marie NoĂŤlle
Entanglement, dir. by Jacek Bromski
Mug, dir. by MaĹ‚gorzata Szumowska
Sleep Darling, dir. by Krzysztof Lang
Imagine the main square of the city. Imagine a place under strict heritage protection. Imagine a place visited by tens of thousands of people every day. Imagine this is just where you have planned a major explosion. Unattainable? Not in Kraków! We did it, or rather, we arranged everything and the crew did it themselves. To the great satisfaction of both parties.
Invitation from Krakow Film Commission ↘↘
A team of people experienced in film strongly versed in local conditions. What more could you hope for?
From the primeval and natural to the
A group of film professionals and enthusiasts
Enjoy the ancient forests, castles, man-
post-industrial. From the ancient and
asked the right question: if we live in such an
sions and manor houses; the expanses of mar-
historical to the modern and innovative
interesting location, why isn’t it cherished daily
ket squares and the narrow streets; pristine
– tell us your ideal solution, and we’ll
by the world’s top cameras? So we banded our-
landscape and amazing mines, mountains and
work out how to make it happen.
selves into the Krakow Film Commission, gath-
rivers, lakes and fields, and even Europe’s only
Kraków, one of the world’s first cities
ered the resources, and gained support from
desert. Our assets, yours as sets.
to begin conscious preservation of its
the relevant authorities. Having acquired con-
material heritage, was entered on the
siderable experience on an array of demand-
original UNESCO World Heritage List.
ing projects, such as period productions Marie
The region of Małopolska boasts six
Noëlle’s Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge,
UNESCO listed sites yet dispersed
Mick Jackson’s Denial and Agnieszka Holland’s
around twelve locations. The landscape
Mr. Jones, and in this way the appreciation of
of the region offers pristine shots thanks
local decision-makers, we turn to you.
to the rigorous landscape protection, covering most of its territory.
To make not only our dreams come true, but also hopefully yours, we give you access to the pride of Poland – Małopolska Region
We’re here to help you. And we will do it in
with the Royal Capital City of Kraków: with
many ways. See this space on the following
us this land of diversity and plenty unspoilt
pages for hints.
vistas is at your fingertips. 8
We have the right resources, know our way through the tangled rules and regulations, and love to show you places with good food and music, help you do your bookings, and, last but not least, get you in touch with the people you need. All you may need when coming to an intended location, whether you are aÂ producer or aÂ location scout.
Comfortable home on the set
Having worked with crews from Hollywood to Bollywood, we know many ways to help you around Małopolska Region. And if we express opinions you don’t share, there’s room for negotiation and coming closest to your point of view.
From boutique and major-chain five-star
For centuries, our region has been home to
and a plethora of places in which to spend your
hotels to cosy budget accommodation,
visitors from many parts of the world. They
free time and enjoy the rich and varied culture
from designer restaurants that Miche-
not only enriched the material culture of
of the city and the region [d Film festivals in
lin takes interest in to popular take-
Kraków and Małopolska Region with architec-
Kraków, p. X].
aways – Kraków and Małopolska have
ture of German, Italian, French, Austrian, and
Jewish pedigree [d Kraków, p. 15], but also left
Besides accommodation and food, we
part of their hearts and minds here. As a place
are proud of the range of artistic events,
on the intersection of major trading routes
large and small, taking place virtually
from south to north, and moreover, lying for
everywhere in the city, all year round.
a millennium on the edge of the Western and Eastern worlds, we have learned how to look after visitors. And in the last thousand years, the visitors coming here and locals alike have left plenty of material heritage for your eyes to enjoy. Not only is accommodation plentiful, responding to your various needs (including five-star hotels, of course), but there is an assortment of all the cuisines of the world, 10
COMFORTABLE HOME ON the SET
We are local. And love films and making them. This has enabled us to create the most complete database of everything you need to shoot a film in Kraków and the Małopolska Region plus specific knowledge on how to solve potential problems. In the course of past projects, we have worked with decision-makers, the municipal police, firefighters, police, traffic management and other agencies, and we know very well how to ensure that they remain a support rather than an obstacle.
Kraków’s visual variety resembles many of the world’s cities: “the Athens
centre of the world
of the North”, “the pearl of the Renaissance north of the Alps”, “the Polish Rome”: these words of eminent foreign visitors alone attest to Kraków’s splendour. For Poles no proof is necessary.
Unlike many other Polish cities, Kraków for-
the first bourgeoisie, in the Renaissance came
tunately escaped the damages of the world
the Italians with their artists, the 19th century
wars. The Communist legend spoke of a mi-
belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
raculous manoeuvre of the Russian general
while Jewish, Armenian, and other merchants
that saved Kraków from destruction. The
from the Orient called Kraków home in Europe
truth was that the river conveniently froze
for many centuries. Even the recent days of
so deeply that Soviet tanks could easily cross
communism, drab and memorable only for the
it, yet earlier the Soviets raided the city from
ragged skyline of concrete jungles elsewhere,
the air. One of the bombs they dropped hit
left Kraków with heritage that is sufficiently
Wawel Castle. The place’s lucky charm meant
special to be deservedly nicknamed the Doge’s
that no harm was done, and the impact only
Palaces [d Communist legacy, p. 55].
“unveiled” old precious paintings, shaking off more recent layers of whitewash.
If everything is here, at arm’s reach, then why look anywhere else…?
The history of the capital that ruled territories reaching across Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea and lying today in 12 countries may be matched only by the multitude of cultures that have influenced and built the city: German and Silesian merchants became 14
Kraków: centre of the world
It is obvious for Poles that Kraków must be the centre of the world. The only controversy is whether
Burial mounds standing 16 metres (50 ft) high (preserved unchanged with
the “hub” is Wawel Hill (maybe
a fair amount of neighbouring ground)
between the Castle and the
dating back to Celtic days [d Architec-
Cathedral), or the Main Market Square.
Settlement beginning in prehistoric
ture – model, though unique, p. 41]
Name of the city first registered by a passing Jewish merchant over 1000 years ago
A number of thriving fortified settlements operating in the 11th century
The Grand Charter of Kraków proclaimed by the duke in 1257
37 kings and queens of Poland crowned in the city ever since
The Royal Capital City of Kraków is second to none for many, many miles around.
Krakรณw: centre of the world
Whether you need cattle or virgins for your picture, we know where to look for them and will gladly oblige.
Wawel Hill. The Castle and Cathedral. Plus 1000 years of history and legend. Dragon included.
The essence of Polishness, these sights
A hard-to-access limestone rock in a bend of
are more recognisable among the
the Vistula River provided a perfect base for
38,000,000 of Polish people living in
a settlement, was soon fortified and became
Poland and the millions living beyond its
the seat of power that subjugated many local
borders than Manhattan, the Pyramids,
tribes. A centre of ecclesiastical power devel-
or the Eiffel Tower.
oped here in parallel.
Wawel is believed to be one of the world’s only seven chakras – centres
which is quickly elicited from the general aura,
of energy exuding natural cosmic power.
is the fact that the place is the spiritual cen-
Wawel is not only the visual identifi-
tre of Poland, a powerful symbol that unites
cation of Poland, also a sonic one: the
all Polish people, as it did when the country
sound of the Sigismund Bell announces
ceased to exist for over a century.
all the country’s most important events.
What the eye may first fail to notice, but
Poles’ love of the place has graced it with
If you are interested in how the early
plenty of major and minor extras accrued for
medieval city developed in Kraków,
centuries. As a result, the Castle and Cathedral
the history of its development is availa-
standing atop Wawel Hill are highly eclectic, the
ble in a lavish 3D animation.
predominantly Gothic substance, and Renaissance decorations, Baroque interiors, which accounts for an eye-catching amalgamation of styles.
Cultures erect monuments to warlords or poets: heroes they are indebted to for their great services to the benefit of the local community. In front of the Dragon’s Den at the foot of Wawel Castle, Kraków put up a monument to its fire-breathing Wawel Dragon that devoured the city’s virgins (and cattle). Certainly, proof of the peculiar local humour.
The Main Market Square, situated in the centre of the medieval city, is aÂ hallmark known to millions worldwide. The symbol of home to over 20 million Poles living abroad, it is also aÂ tourist brand, often used as the symbol of KrakĂłw and Poland by major TV stations, tour operators, and tourist websites. As this is the largest medieval market square in Europe, there is enough place for everyone, and your film set and to work on it too.
The Main Market Square: the centre of all things ↘↘ ↘↘
Planning for all options: on a warm summer’s evening more people sit in the cafés and restaurant gardens in the square than lived in all of Kraków at the time when the Main Market Square was laid out.
The place was perfectly organised – as
Established more than 750 years ago for the
Today the site sees important assemblies
hay burns easily, it was sold only in one
City of Kraków – at the time already a bur-
and processions, is a stage for major open-air
location in the Main Market Square.
geoning centre of trade – the Main Market
concert events, and still offers merchandise
Although Brussels (Belgium) claims
Square was its days’ equivalent of a shopping
– especially during the Easter and Christmas
to have the largest market square in
mall: the Cloth Hall – standing to this day –
Europe, this assertion is absolutely un-
and the adjacent rows of the Rich Stalls pro-
The cosy square by St Mary’s, formerly a
founded, as the one in Kraków is more
vided a place for trading the most expensive
cemetery, spells tranquillity and reminds us
than five times as large: over 4 hectares
goods. Others were sold from wooden stalls.
what the magnificent centres of cities were
The assortment was huge, like in a super-
like hundreds of years ago.
market today: whatever was needed in the city was available. From lead for your roof (sold in 500 kg slabs) via trinkets from the Orient to hay (for thatching roofs and as food for horses) and butter. Also present here were other buildings important for the medieval community: the Great Scales, where goods were measured and weighed, the building for sheep shearing, and the Town Hall, of which only the tower remains. 24
St Mary’s Church:
The silhouette of the lofty church with two very different towers is
the worth of a pearl is not measured by its regularity
as eye-catching as it is unique. Poles consider St Mary’s the archetype
Like many other locations, St Mary’s
Standing so conspicuously in the centre of
marbles, and the colourful, though subdued
offers an unexpected contrast between
the city of Kraków is St Mary’s Church – the
19th-century wall paintings, resplendent with
its unadorned Gothic exterior and the
city’s main parish. Volumes have been devoted
colourful 19th-century murals within,
to its rich furnishings and majestic form. It
An aura of grandeur, but at the same time,
providing the backdrop to the blackness
may be interesting to point out that since its
reflection and memory. Being so famous, the
of the Baroque marble side-altars and
construction in the Gothic style 800 years ago,
church has inspired plenty of legends, includ-
the splendour of the magnificent Gothic
there have been few periods that have not left
ing that about the interrupted bugle call that
their mark on the church. The magnificent
is now played from its taller tower to the four
The high altar at St Mary’s – the finest
high altar, still Gothic, though “only” just over
corners of the world on every full hour.
woodwork in Europe has attracted as-
500 years old, was installed after the church
On the outside, the spires – very different
tonished gazes for over 500 years.
was repeatedly extended and elevated. In the
and 150 years apart from each other – go well
The rendering of figures is so detailed
meantime, it even survived an earthquake in
with the Gothic body of the church, which is a
that 20th-century physicians had no
1442 – a rarity in this part of the world.
few hundred years older: something you don’t
of the Polish church.
Thanks to such developments, the inside
realise sitting at your leisure over a morning
people who modelled for the figures of
is composed of elements from many different
coffee or afternoon tea in the Main Market
saints. Quite a few had varicose veins.
centuries in many styles. The tall Gothic walls
Square – Europe’s largest medieval market
and figures go particularly well with the lush-
square, which spreads at the foot of St Mary’s.
trouble diagnosing the illnesses of
ness of the 300-years-younger Renaissance tabernacle altar and stalls, the black Baroque 26
St Maryâ€™s Church: the worth of aÂ pearl is not measured by its regularity
Architecture: testimony to universalism and diversity
from the Baltic in the north to the Black Sea in the south, one that covered the territory of 12 of today’s countries.
St Mary’s included, many Kraków’s church-
Little wonder that the largest power in the
Listening to them, locals might believe that
es were built in the Middle Ages in Gothic
east of Western Europe developed very
they live in a Frankenstein of towns, assem-
style, but had their interiors refurbished
quickly, as it enjoyed the boons from such a
bled from parts of living tissue of many urban
in Baroque style, and some later had Art
vast territory, and on the other hand attract-
organisms. Yet, on reflection, they conclude
Nouveau murals added. Such eclec-
ed artists and artisans from the most fash-
that it was so with medieval cities. Sharing
ticism, albeit natural, means that they are
ionable places of the time. In the 13th and
the same form of economy, and styles and
perceived as “fantastic creatures”.
14th centuries, the city was under consid-
fashions in architecture, they all had plenty in
Walking the streets of Kraków, you will
erable influence from German states, while
common. Kraków, in avoiding severe damage
find that the styles do not form clusters,
three centuries later, it attracted architects
in the two world wars, was simply among the
but rather mingle, creating an eclecticism
from northern Italy.
cities lucky to have plenty of that heritage of
welcomed by the eye. This is the result
In the 16th century, Kraków was the capital of a kingdom that stretched
Little wonder too that many locations in
of natural processes of city development.
Kraków are so reminiscent of other European
Just like the English find it difficult to
cities that they are mistaken for them: Ger-
believe that a few hundred years ago ma-
mans and Dutch people alike find here places
jority of important people in Britain spoke
that remind them of their early medieval
French, Poles tend to forget that in the
burgher culture. Italians walking the streets
Middle Ages, the burghers spoke German,
cannot believe that they are not in Florence,
and intellectuals and clergy Latin.
and point to the similarity of the Church
diversity of timelines and European universality survive.
of St Peter and St Paul to del Gesù in Rome. 30
Architecture: testimony to universalism and diversity
Kraków was obviously built and developed for
Villa Decius was the home of Jost
a purpose. To provide its people with a place
Ludwig Dietz, an Alsatian who came to
to live and earn their keep: safe thanks to the
Kraków from Hungary in 1508. A protégé
powerful defence walls. Its residents were
of a royal banker, Decius became
naturally keen to have the splendour of their
a consummate diplomat and secretary
houses match their status. For the burghers,
to King Sigismund the Old, famous also
splendour was counted in proximity to the
for his literary and historical disserta-
market square, so most eminent examples
tions, and friendship with Martin Luther
of bourgeois architecture (including the city’s
and Desiderius Erasmus included.
parish church – St Mary’s) are found around it. On the other hand, the impressive resi-
Following the example of “paradises on earth” from Florence and Rome, Decius
dences of the nobility were situated on the
had a magnificent suburban residence
outskirts, where there was less noise and the
built in 1535. Soon it became the hub for
air was cleaner, and land was cheaper and
creative confrontation between various
available in greater quantities. Yet soon also
views, cultures and nationalities.
the nobility learnt to appreciate the pleasures of city life and built their splendid Baroque residences in the Main Market Square and by the main streets.
Kraków is blessed with a powerful genius loci – the spirit of the place. Whether it ensues from the powerful chakra in Wawel [d p. 21], the multitude of churches, the famous university, or the continuity of history, every individual visitor should decide for themselves.
Kraków boasts the country’s oldest
Archaeologists claim that the earliest built
the greatest revolution in the history of sci-
Academy of Fine Arts, which has run
structures found (under the courtyard of
ence, but also the mythological Doctor Faus-
its Animated Film Studio since 1957,
Wawel Castle) were used as purposes of
tus, whose life and pact with the devil and
making it the oldest art film school in
worship. Not unlike the prehistoric Celtic
excellence in magic and alchemy made him
the country. It also boasts Andrzej
mounds [d Architecture – model, though
the hero of so many films, plays, and other
Wajda, who enrolled to study painting,
unique, p. 41], Kraków became deeply set
works of art.
as one of its students.
in spirituality, as reflected in the number of
Most numerous in Kraków are Roman
places of worship: the magnificent churches,
Catholic churches, and the second most
especially Gothic, that the city is famous for.
numerous are synagogues, of which
Besides spirituality, intellectual pursuits
the city has seven.
are also strong pursuits of Kraków. Since the
If you think there could be no more
establishment of the Jagiellonian University
churches in Kraków, you might be
over 650 years ago, the city has been under
mistaken: the Austrians destroyed a few
the influence of the powerful genius of the
dozen of them in the city centre in the
human intellect. Originally known as the Acad-
emy of Kraków, the university – the second oldest in Central Europe – educated not only Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik), the author of the Copernican theory, apparently 34
On the one hand, there would be none of the genius loci that KrakĂłw is famous for without its university and churches, yet on the other it would be hard to protect without the cityâ€™s defences, of which an impressive gate and three towers remain. Until the 19th century, the city was surrounded by powerful walls with 40 towers and seven gates, and a moat that was replaced by the Planty garden ring.
Today’s cities discover they are losing their unique character. This claim
a city within a city
may be unfounded, as many old and ancient cities considered “unique” were in many ways strikingly similar to others, located hundreds of miles away.
Thanks to the district being specifically
On the other hand, what is today considered
listed by UNESCO as part of the archi-
a metropolis is often composed of multiple urban
tectural compound of the city centre,
structures – former cities, villages and hamlets.
hardly anything has changed in the look
This is true not only of London, but of Kraków too.
of the streets. Even taking sweeping
One of the cities, or boroughs, that Kraków
shots needs no more than the addition
is composed of is Kazimierz, so called as it was
of some signage (based on multiple
given the city charter by King Casimir the Great.
preserved photographs), and the streets
Although it is church towers that stand most
look very much like they did a century
prominently over the city of Kazimierz (today,
or more ago.
a district of Kraków), Kazimierz was famous for its
Apart from many legends, Kazimierz has
synagogues, as this was the place where – until the
been made famous by the people born
second world war – the Jewish population thrived.
here: the famous Rabbi Moses Isserles
Throngs of tourists are attracted today to
(1530), the queen of cosmetics Helena
the narrow streets, some of them still cobbled,
Rubinstein (1872), Max Fleischer (1883),
and the not-too-spacious, very characteris-
the inventor of the rotoscope (in 1915),
tic public spaces: the square where everyday
and Yoram Gross (1926) the Polish-Aus-
business was conducted, and the grander one
tralian children’s animation guru.
with as many as three synagogues and other facilities important for the community. 38
Architecture – model, though unique: forts, mounds, monuments ↘↘
Landmarks are much more than just documentation of lives, legends and popularity. Memorable and attractive for the eye, they are also witnesses to many bygone periods and functions that might have disappeared from today’s landscape, capable of providing hints for side plots and storylines.
Even more contemporary, “useless”
Małopolska abounds with human architec-
many provide picturesque settings, while oth-
marks in the landscape are monuments:
tural creations representative of many peri-
ers are revived and may be turned into less
designed to be highly visible, they may
ods, many of them also of other regions. Over
sometimes be considered eyesores,
a millennium ago Celts built tumuli for their
yet on the other hand, they do build
deceased rulers. Their mounds stand in the lo-
an atmosphere, however uncanny.
cal landscape, enshrouded in legend. Uniquely,
Relatively recently, the famous Celtic
they became a model for 19th- and 20th-cen-
mounds surviving in Kraków acquired new
tury memorials, and today provide the anchor
neighbours: Kościuszko Mound (19th c.)
for people who return to prehistoric customs
and Piłsudski Mound (20th c.).
and fuel the imaginations of re-enactors. The latter are greatly attracted to another, albeit much more contemporary, form of “forgotten” architecture: the brick and earth forts, defensive structures built throughout Europe in the 19th century. The core of the “Fortress Kraków” was the Wawel Castle in the city centre, surrounded by three consecutive rings of reinforcements. The forts were on the verge of ruin late in the 20th century. Though falling into ruin,
Building universal architecture for the modern city ↘↘
The history of Kraków in the second half of the 19th century is a real Cinderella story.
One of the impulses for new architec-
first ever film in Paris. Living Photo-
ture was the havoc caused by the Great
graphs was a series of around 40 shorts,
Fire of Kraków in 1850. It burned for
and stayed on at the Municipal Theatre
several days, and left part of the city
for a month.
in cinders – e.g. the Jagiellonian Univer-
sity’s Collegium Novum replaced
In the mid-19th century, Kraków was still suf-
the burnt-down dormitories.
fering a period of decline, and was not likely to
As the construction of the Municipal
be revived, as a garrison city situated close to
Theatre (today’s Juliusz Słowacki Thea-
the border of three quarrelling empires. Luck-
tre) required the razing of the Church
ily, a degree of autonomy, the city’s wise may-
and Hospital of the Holy Spirit, it was
ors, and the genius loci – the spirit of the place
accompanied by scandal.
– helped to rejuvenate the city. Soon, new,
Kraków also provided the setting for Po-
neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance architec-
land’s first documentary. Shot in 1910,
ture began to replace the derelict structures.
it recorded the 500th anniversary of the
Notably, the Austrian authorities decided that
Battle of Grunwald.
they had to demolish 80 churches, as many of
The first film show in Kraków took place
them were threatened with collapse. The new
on 14 November 1896, hardly a year
buildings creatively invoked the “classical”
after the Lumière brothers showed the
forms already present in the city. 42
Some authorities claim that Kraków was never as close to the latest in
and the end of an empire
European fashions as in the early 20th century.
Considered so modern and functional
As a city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
that it attracted designers of psychiat-
many of Kraków’s intellectuals, including ar-
ric hospitals from overseas, including
chitects, were educated in the universities
Japan, Kobierzyn was furnished with
and academies of Vienna. As the Austro-Hun-
its own heat and power plant, assorted
garian Empire extended over the territories of
workshops for the patients, its own
ten of today’s Central and Eastern European
farm, gardens and horse stables, thea-
countries (but also Venice), the penetration of
tre, playground, chapel, bakery, laundry,
artistic visions of the Vienna Secession (Art
and… a cemetery.
Nouveau, Jugendstil) was huge.
The burgeoning of modernist ideas was
Kraków did not only follow suit, or join the
cruelly interrupted by the first world war
bandwagon trends that made much of its ar-
chitecture of the time virtually indistinguish-
Art Nouveau favoured creative and
able from that of Vienna, Prague, Budapest,
versatile minds. Stanisław Wyspiański
and other cities of the Empire. It developed
became famous not only for his dramas
its own travesties and ideas. For example,
and paintings, but also for designs of
Kobierzyn: a self-sustainable garden town,
stained-glass decorations, building inte-
and in fact a psychiatric hospital.
riors, designing theatre sets, and theory of drama. 44
Turn to the classical form
Once the post-war 1920s were gone, Europe looked forward to times of greater stability. That anticipation was reflected in the architecture of the period.
Interestingly, the façade of the Jagiellon-
Standing out from the Depression, Kraków
ian Library – a representative building
opted for the development of its academic and
of the period – is very modern in its,
cultural capacities: hence the development of
after all, classical forms.
an entire academic district along the Aleje.
The decorations of the house built for
Little wonder that after times of despair and
university professors in 1928 were so
economic instability, like in so many other
unlike anything else in the city that they
cities of Europe, the stable forms of classicism
earned the building plenty of nicknames,
also prevailed in Kraków – and remain in the
ranging from “the Aquarium” via “the
buildings of the Academy of Mining and Met-
Black House”, to “the Coffin”.
allurgy and the PKO Bank. The hefty classicist buildings of Kraków and their functional, spacious, and relatively unadorned interiors can play the role of many, often no longer existing, structures from major European cities. On the other hand, they provide perfect backdrops for the urban tales of their days.
Second world war:
At a time of unbelievable planned bloodshed and terror, the invaders also
Europe under Nazi occupation
designed utopian architecture and residences.
The totalitarian planning had monu-
The period found its way into numerous films,
undergone by cities in Nazi times, ranging
ments and other signs of Polishness
including Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List,
from posted execution bills, via swastika dec-
removed, and installed its brand every-
most of the shooting for which took place at
orations, to the destruction of monuments.
where: swastikas were displayed on
original locations. At a time when the nations
virtually all major buildings.
conquered by Germany were suffering, and
Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn used archive pho-
millions of Jews were exterminated in death
tos of the city to recreate the aura of the
camps [d Nazi death industry, p. 51], Nazi
second world war in occupied Europe.
architects implemented their plans of building
True to the time and picture-perfect.
a “perfect” city. Monumental and yet friend-
ly for the “chosen ones”: with gardens and plentiful space. The remnants of their plans still survive in Kraków, and range from an intriguing model residential area for the working classes to a splendid mock-Gothic residence perched atop a rock promontory commanding a beautiful view of the river. Thanks to the efforts of the Polish citizens – frequently dearly paid for – there is ample information available on the transformations 48
Nazi death industry: ghettos and concentration camps
Due to the inhuman plan to exterminate entire nations – Jews, Poles, the Roma – some locations in Małopolska Region became places of the demise of humanity that took place in the mid-20th century. Having refused Jews the right to live a normal life, the Nazis locked them
in ghettos, organised in major cities. Crowded within their confines, Jews There are other sites of former death
suffered not only from hunger, cold, and diseases, but primarily from
and labour camps strewn all over the
inhuman treatment at the hands of the Germans. Atrocities and executions
territories invaded by the German armies and administered by the Nazi regime. Some of them have been turned into sites of remembrance, while others
in the street were routine. Until, on an order, the ghettos were liquidated, which meant the murder of thousands of their inhabitants, and the rest being sent to labour and death camps.
remain wasteland or have been covered
by lawns, such as those in Płaszów
A place of remembrance of genocide, the
Roma, and other nationals. Though only one
(Kraków), and Piekary near the city,
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, operating on
of the many death and extermination camps
the premises of the former Nazi death camp,
in the Nazi death machine, this is the one that
In 2015, the 70th anniversary of the
fulfils its mission of reporting the crimes of
is best documented and preserved in a large
liberation of Auschwitz Camp, proba-
the totalitarian Nazi regime. A silent witness
bly the last round anniversary in which
to some of the most cruel and inhuman crimes
homage could be paid to surviving for-
that modern Europe has known, the oppres-
mer inmates, was broadcast live by over
sive thicket of barracks of the Auschwitz
180 radio and TV stations and streamed
camp, much like the open spaces of nearby
live on YouTube. Steven Spielberg made
Birkenau, have been preserved by the long-
special documentary, narrated by Meryl
term effort of the many to give evidence of
Streep, for the occasion.
the mass extermination of Jews, Poles, the 50
Nazi death industry: ghettos and concentration camps
The people of Krakow Film Commission can provide you with information not only on the individual sections of the concrete jungle but also about their material and social history: human dramas, escape and adventure, and details of everyday hard work, as prominently featured in Andrzej Wajdaâ€™s Man of Marble.
For nearly 50 years after the second world war, the Communist
and its concrete heritage
government made industrialisation of Poland one of its objectives.
The results are still visible and distinctive.
Nowa Huta boasting an area of over 110
for the utopian projects ran short, these were
the worker districts were lavish cultural
square kilometres (42 square miles) is
replaced by soulless concrete jungles of mon-
functions with parks and culture centres
among the largest socialist realist and
strous colonies with hardly any public func-
for workers and their offspring. Inter-
modernist urban developments you can
tions and little space for inhabitants. Typi-
estingly, many schools were designed to
imagine. The core of its architecture,
cal of half of the continent – from the Urals
the same patterns for decades. It may
both residential and industrial, stands
to Dresden, from the Baltic to the southern
be hard to believe, but one single model
Balkans – the forms of Socialist Realism are
Incorporated in the original layouts of
of a school building was copied in 1000
Many of the regime’s investments started
also present on the outskirts of most cities in
places throughout the country.
from scratch. The Lenin Steelworks, today
Nowa Huta, the model city of com-
ArcelorMittal, replaced orchards. An absolute
Thus, the concrete jungles of Nowa Huta
munism, was designed without God.
novelty in the landscape, the “satanic mills”
can play virtually any city in the former Com-
Hence no churches either. Though
were also a new growth in the social sense.
munist bloc. On the other hand, the original
jealously defended by the communist
They needed plenty of workers, who flocked
design, with its Central Square, the broad
authorities, the plan to keep the city
from the most distant parts of Poland and had
streets radiating from it, and the oldest hous-
fully secular failed.
new places to live built for them.
ing estates, are the best example of Socialist
Originally considered a horror, the first
First, they were carefully planned neat
Realism, a trend that borrowed lavishly from
buildings of Nowa Huta are now appreci-
brick constructions with spacious backyards
past styles, including Renaissance and Ba-
ated, and more and more often architec-
and streets to be lined with trees allowing
roque, to put up constructions that are re-
tural protection is requested for them.
easy commuting. Later, however, as money
petitive, yet not devoid of a certain beauty. 54
Modernity melding into tradition: the new river front
It all started on the other side of the Vistula from Wawel Castle with the director Andrzej Wajda who bequeathed his 1987 Kyoto Prize to the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (1994). The modern building was designed by the famous Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and Krzysztof Ingarden from Poland.
Kraków’s river front on the right, less historical, bank of the river includes the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, whose supra-modern glazed curvy façade stands on the other side of a roundabout from Manggha. Further down stands the huge body of the post-communist Forum Hotel; temporarily unused, whose ground floor has been adapted by the local hip community. Round a bend in the river, a footbridge spans the river with its futuristic arch offering a passage between the two most hip districts of the city. It’s only a stone’s throw from Cricoteka with its theatre-related exhibition and educational functions, whose huge and yet light frame was superimposed, believe it or not, over the city’s oldest power plant.
Modernity melding into tradition: the new river front
Architecture in the service of culture
Eager to cater to the new, emerging needs and ones that were neglected in days past, Kraków has developed plenty of modern buildings that offer futuristic, eye-catching backdrops.
New architecture in the service of art
Attracting plenty of business tourism with
The flying saucer-like Tauron Arena Kraków
has even entered the city centre: the
congresses, and cultural tourism with
landed further away from the centre to offer
Wyspiański Pavilion with amazing
crowd-attracting events, Kraków has de-
the 16,000 people in its confines entertainment
stained-glass decoration stands just
signed prominent modern sites to house
as varied as shows on ice, basketball, and fan-
yards away from the Main Market
them. New daring architecture with such
tastic concerts of film music, where films are
functions includes the ICE Kraków Congress
screened with just dialogues and FX, as the
There is the Małopolska Garden of Arts
Centre, which doubles as a concert hall with
music is played live by orchestras and choirs
in Rajska Street with very unorthodox
2000 seats, proudly brandishing its splen-
in line-ups of hundreds of artists under emi-
interiors in all its sections: events,
didly designed form within eyeshot of Wawel
nent film music composers [d Film festivals in
library, theatre, and bar, all of which are
Castle, very close to the Manggha Museum.
Kraków, p. X].
used for meetings, lectures, performances – in a word: art.
Museums of technology: when the cutting edge turns vintage ↘↘
Architecture survives all over the world, and once it is no longer stateof-the-art, more short-lived material heritage is usually scrapped and forgotten. Not in Kraków or Małopolska Region.
The Polish Aviation Museum and the
Kraków retained something that is normally
aircraft (one of the five existing first world war
Kraków Museum of Municipal Engi-
quickly forgotten in successive modernisa-
era Sopwith F.1 Camel planes) and, important-
neering take pride not only in what they
tions: its original gas plant, power plants, and
ly, expert knowledge founded on research and
have collected, but also in keeping their
the old tram depot. Initially serving horse-
true enthusiasm and dedication.
artefacts in prime working condition.
drawn trams, and later electric ones, it not
In Małopolska, we are used to seeing peo-
Until 1939, Polish aviators were among
only has architecture retaining its character
ple dressed in costumes from various periods
the most daring (Żwirko, Wigura), and
for nearly 120 years, but is also a collection of
and portraying past events. Re-enactments
constructors among the most innovative
still very much usable motoring accessories
are alive and kicking. Major events range from
(RWD: Rogalski, Wigura, Drzewiecki);
even from the 1960s.
medieval battles on horseback, via the con-
It’s more than trams and cars and ancient
flicts of the two world wars, to quite recent
the best, both in civil competitions
fire pumps that have been retained. With
events including the strikes and skirmishes of
and in battle. Magnificent specimens
technology the sky is the limit. And Kraków
the 1980s. Yet it is the small-scale ones, often
are kept today by the Polish Aviation
and Małopolska Region reached for the skies
known only to restricted audiences, that are
Museum in its 21st-century modern
– the Polish Aviation Museum holds not only
the essence of “re-living” the past events.
home and on the grounds of the former
reconstructions of still quite unknown, but
aerodrome surrounding it.
battle-perfect fighter planes from 1939, in-
consequently, the planes were among
cluding a PZL P.11c of unique “mosquito-like beauty”, but also a vast collection of other
Museums of technology: when the cutting edge turns vintage
This is our region. We feel at home here, and invite you to get first-hand experience of it. As good hosts, we are at your disposal â€“ we know the place like the back of our hands, and are ready to foresee your wishes.
In bygone times they called us Małopolska – Lesser Poland. Probably
where the imagination roams
because they envied us the Royal Capital City of Kraków. In Kraków, we built our castles and churches with their lofty towers, and they were surrounded by cottages.
Although this entire publication is just
Quite naturally, a city of power helped in
an introduction to Małopolska Region
the development of the territory around it:
and the city of Kraków, the pictures
Małopolska Region became a rich region
presented here are a digest of various
catering to the needs of the capital Kraków,
themes and notions presented on the
something it could achieve only thanks to its
following pages. For more comprehen-
diversity, natural resources, and the human
sive information, well, you’d best visit
us, and we’ll gladly show you around.
The ponds of Zator provided the city with sleigh-loads of the best carp 500 years ago, and they still do. The cavernous salt mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia, once the kingdom’s treasure, astound people familiar with the gold mines of Africa and emerald mines of South America.
MaĹ‚opolska Region: where the imagination roams
Some of the museums feature empty spaces for future exhibits to be added; as yet they can be used for building temporary structures to expand the existing â€œvillagesâ€? and thus cater for your needs.
Buildings of interest transferred from very different locations into a single
place, often set against breathtaking backdrops.
Their designers paid special attention to
If something resembles paradise on earth for
Another asset of such places is the ab-
making the open-air museums camera
set planners, it must be open-air museums.
sence of power lines and other modern stuff
friendly: something you are most wel-
The most interesting examples of architecture
that has proliferated around similar houses
come to take advantage of.
are brought to a single place from many miles
standing “at large” among the countryside.
Not only are such museums numerous
around, and the management has plentiful
in Małopolska Region, but “out there”
knowledge about their reconstruction very
are also locations which do not differ
helpful when, e.g. you need a copy to be built
much from them, e.g. the wooden
and burned down or blown up for the needs
village of Chochołów.
of your picture.
Available throughout the year, open-air
Recreated in the open-air museums are
museums in a natural way participate in
not only typical village cottages, but primarily
the changing of the seasons: they look
the buildings that were the pride of a whole
very different clad in winter snow than
village as they provided special services, in-
when bathed in the rays of spring sun.
cluding cloth making, grain milling, and storing
In summer they will be adorned with
the harvest. Standing there are also manor
lush flowers, and in autumn – with
houses of village owners, churches, and plen-
ripening apples and other fruit.
ty of “the smallest architecture” making the places more credibly life-like: beehives, wells with cranes, etc. 70
Open-air museums: ready-made locations
Although this may sound implausible, the decision to recreate aÂ small town, characteristic of what they looked like in the 19th century in Galicia (as the province was known under the Austrian administration), was reached without the slightest moviemaking intentions in mind, and now, the camera-perfect city stands amid the fields of Galicia, ready to be enjoyed.
Whether you need a fantasy train to the like of Thomas the Tank Engine or the Hogwarts Express, a “mule” to tow tons of coal, or whether it’s a stylish carriage to provide a backdrop to romantic vintage dialogues that you’re after, we at Krakow Film Commission know where to look for them, and can suggest the most relevant views from their windows.
Today you arrive comfortably in Małopolska Region by plane. In the 19th century, the best option for long-distance travelling was by train.
The first mass people-mover, and the
Today you choose the means of transport
exhibits for events and films. The line to Nowy
vehicle that made it possible for the
you find convenient: you arrive comforta-
Sącz has been left unelectrified to retain the
industry to deliver its products every-
bly in Małopolska by plane, and then choose
true charm of the old, old choo-choo train. The
where, the railway is an important
what suits you. They did the same in the 19th
locals claim that twenty years ago the original,
element of the culturescape of the late
century, though the choices were different.
powerful steam engines helped Spielberg’s
19th and most of the 20th century. It is
In the age of steam, a dense mesh of rail-
Schindler’s List win its Oscar.
hard to create a credible vibrant land-
ways covered Europe from the UK to today’s
scape of the time without it.
Not only did the region never forget the days when technology was young, but it cher-
Today’s cities have placed railway lines
Although the super-express trains roaming
ishes them and puts the early technologies
in tunnels and ditches, removing them
the Austro-Hungarian Empire are long gone,
on display, so that everyone can see what
from view. Yet in the past they were
atmospheric train stations have remained.
travelling, road building, fire-fighting and
a source of pride and a symbol of power.
Kasina Wielka boasts Poland’s highest train
many other things looked like decades ago
And as such they were present in many
station, opened in 1884. Situated on the west-
[d Museums of technology, p. 63].
central arteries of the cities – some-
ern slopes of Śnieżnica, the station features
times in places that today’s inhabitants
in numerous films, including Edges of the Lord
cannot even imagine.
and Katyn. The colourful historic trains are still there: the Rolling Stock Museum in Chabówka, which not only invites visitors, but also loans its 74
If your screenplay ever requires burning of a wooden structure, such as a church or a manor house, consult us: our wooden heritage is perfectly documented, with some of the historical structures having been transferred to another place, so there are precise plans that allow construction of their identical twins.
Fine works of the human brain among marvels of mountainous landscape. Unique and universal. At the same time, acknowledged by both free spirits and international heritage protection organisations.
A figure of Suffering Christ by an anon-
For centuries, people built churches where
alike. Besides the appearance, each church
ymous artist from Rabka museum made
they worshiped God: to emphasise the sub-
has its own tale to tell: some about the con-
Pablo Picasso gasp for breath, shout
lime – they made them as high as they could,
gregation deported far away, and others about
“Genial!” and claim that if all art were
and for everyone to fit in – they were made
how locals helped one another in difficult
wiped out from the face of the Earth,
spacious. Locals built them of wood – a ma-
times, not heeding the differences between
this one would suffice to attest to the
terial they knew very well – in prominent
places so that everyone could see what
UNESCO declared the churches of
beauty they had.
Małopolska Region as World Heritage as
Some of the villages are gone in the turmoil
they “represent outstanding examples
of history, but many of the masterpieces of
of (…) medieval church-building tradi-
carpentry and architecture have remained,
tions (…) particularly impressive
evoking an aura of reflection and pastoral
in their artistic and technical execution,
and sponsored by noble families and
Eight of the wooden churches of Małopol-
rulers as symbols of social and political
ska (four Roman Catholic and four of Eastern
rites) are recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO, many more stand in beautiful, unspoiled settings, cherished by local communities and heritage preservation authorities 76
Our contacts include historians who will not only tell you the story behind each individual fortress or palace, and what each castle looked like in aÂ given moment. They are also experts in how they functioned, i.e. what life was really like within their walls.
Places of worship
Even though the majority of them are Catholic, the holy places of Kraków and Małopolska are as diverse as the times when they originated.
A look at Kraków and Małopolska in the
Some notable examples include the Bene-
entire complex is listed by UNESCO as World
context of multiculturality gives a better
dictine Abbey in Tyniec, founded on a rocky
Heritage under the name of Kalwaria Zebrzy-
understanding of why John Paul II, the
outcrop near Kraków in 1044. Today it may
dowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park
Polish Pope who was born and lived
be difficult to believe that a large part of the
Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park.
here, was the first head of the Catholic
structure dominating the hill demolished
Church to visit a Jewish synagogue.
by Mongols (13th c.), and centuries later by Swedes and Confederates of Bar was long known as “the Great Ruin”. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is one of the 17th-century calvaries – places resembling the Golgotha of Jerusalem that were popularly established all over Europe: in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and even Switzerland. While the actual one remained in the hands of Muslims, such an approximation gave an idea of the original. A peculiarity of the Kalwaria in Małopolska is its “paths of Calvary”, covered every year by over a million pilgrims who pray and sing en route between the 42 chapels. The 78
Like anywhere else in the world, many of Małopolska Region’s castles are enshrouded in legends featuring ghosts, secret love stories, and the deeds of saints. Whether you need inspiration or are willing to include a local plot to make your story more convincing, we are here to help you.
Castles of Małopolska:
Today landmarks, in bygone centuries centres of power, and safeguard
the solitary and imposing icons of the region
of the riches of the land, castles are as plentiful as they are different
Castles fulfilled many functions: apart
Apart from Poland’s most noteworthy Wawel
they have remained in the countryside: pictur-
from the obvious ones including defend-
Castle [d p. 21], Małopolska Region has doz-
esque ruins, jarring the clouds passing over
ing territory or passage, they had others
ens more castles to offer. Some were turned
them, and often going together very well with
that are today hardly realised. Some
by the turmoil of history into picturesque ruins
the nearby limestone rocks from which they
(e.g. Lipowiec) functioned as prisons
[d see photo, p. 112], others stand guard as
and as such were the backdrops to pic-
they did in the past, and others still (e.g. in
turesque escapes, others were the place
Korzkiew) were recently rebuilt.
throughout the region.
Castles were built in Małopolska Region even in the 20th century. The spirit of histor-
to detain overly amorous members of
As one of their roles was to supervise
icism prompted famous architects to mod-
the family, and more still were built as
communication routes, castles are as a rule
el them on existing structures and deploy
a manifestation of power and potential.
situated in very picturesque locations: on rock
them “where they looked natural and were
A reason for the uniqueness of Małopol-
promontories that not only permit them to ob-
most needed”, e.g. overlooking the Vistula in
ska Region’s castles is their situation:
serve large swathes of land, but also – should
Przegorzały district of Kraków [d see photo,
perched on elevations high above the
the enemy or brigands be spotted – enable
valley beds, they were built to irregular
a quick attack, with the full force of the cavalry
plans, to fit the available space.
galloping downhill. The 17th century, with its numerous wars and the popular use of gunpowder, proved detrimental to many castles. Although many of them never resurfaced from the wreckage, 80
Castles of Małopolska: the solitary and imposing icons of the region
The castles of Małopolska Region are the opposite of the Disneyland concept, a phantom made to “look cool”. They are the expression of true need: protection of trade routes, a safe place to live and keep your life’s earnings, proving your magnitude, and hence are true to their surroundings. With time and the advancement of the art of war, fortified castles lost in strategic importance, and the noble and aristocratic families inhabiting them – in need of more space and prestige – expanded and embellished them, turning them into palaces of a stylish rather than defensive character. Such a transition is visible in the palazzo in fortezza – a palace within a fortress – style.
We will not only advise you which location (best) to choose based on your requirements and needs, but will also help you in negotiation with the respective owners of such premises.
Mansions: homes to the aristocracy
No picture about the aristocracy would be complete without their stately homes. Not just as a backdrop, but rather a frame that enforced a special way of life.
For centuries, in Poland, like elsewhere
The Poles approach mansions and stately
not only the changing styles and fashions but
in Europe, stately homes provided
homes with quite a reverence, which is re-
also the preferences of the successive own-
the upper classes with a refuge from
flected even in language. We’re quite likely
ers (as they frequently changed hands), yet
the noisy and dirty cities.
to refer to them as “palaces”. As befits the
they often retained more than an air of their
wealthy and influential region surrounding
original character, and touches of the interme-
the country’s capital, Małopolska Region is
diate stages. Others were designed relatively
blessed with numerous stately homes of mag-
late and have retained their original feel. The
nate families. Some were built many centuries
common denominator is their outstanding
ago, and were repeatedly transformed to fit
character and scenic beauty.
With time, cities – in the Middle Ages inhabited solely by burghers – opened to aristocratic families, who settled in the most prestigious locations, frequently buying out two or three neighbouring plots and developing them with imposing city residences. 84
Mansions: homes to the aristocracy
Such a process continued at different times, in all wealthy and attractive cities of Europe; in Poland mostly affecting its royal capital – Kraków. This interesting form of gentrification from a few centuries ago has left Kraków with stately residences around the Main Market Square and by the grandest streets, and added contrast to the already divergent development of the city. Quite obviously, the arrival of the aristocracy in city centres helped to transform local fashions. By importing a skilled labour force – architects, masons, sculptors, stucco decorators and others – from abroad, it brought the faces of Polish cities even closer to those of West European ones.
A nobleman’s life in the country: manor houses ↘↘
The nexus of Polishness throughout the centuries, recently perceived as no more than just witnesses to the history, manor houses are experiencing a true resurgence.
As the Polish nobility accounted for 10%
Unlike the stately homes, called “palaces” in
given by Sienkiewicz in his Trilogy describing
of the country’s population, most of
Poland, the Polish dwór – manor house – was
events from the 17th century, and the manor
the nobles were not very well-off. This
a unique place, though popular. The manorial
house in Kraków’s Bronowice described so
is why many Polish manor houses are
estate consisted of the residence of the owner
vividly in Wyspiański’s The Wedding – a dra-
wooden and quite unassuming.
proper and the surrounding manorial build-
ma describing a wedding from the early 20th
Depending on the exact time of their
ings, which – depending on the wealth – could
origin and location, the manor houses
even form a self-sustainable “capital” of the
played various roles. Some were for-
surrounding estate, providing not only plenty
tified strongholds, while others were
of space for the farm produce and residence
artists’ conservatories with light wood
for farm labourers, but often a range of fa-
construction and plenty of glazing.
cilities including breweries, taverns, various
In the Polish encyclopedia, it is very
mills, and a chapel.
difficult to find a biography of a famous
Manor houses feature in all major film pro-
Pole living in the 18th, 19th or early 20th
ductions about life in Poland from the Middle
century who did not spend part of his
Ages to the late 19th century, and are en-
or her life in a manor.
shrined in all major works of Polish literature: the archetypal manor house of Soplicowo from the Pan Tadeusz epic poem at the time of Napoleonic wars, the countless examples 88
A nobleman’s life in the country: manor houses
Nowhere does the phrase “time has stopped here” fit the description as precisely and truthfully as in the case of our manor houses. Even the ones that have been engulfed by cities – like Kraków’s Rydlówka in Bronowice and the manor house of Jan Matejko the painter in Krzesławice – have managed to retain their slow pace, and seem to slow down the flow of time around them. Many manor houses have quite naturally become hubs of local life. A good example is Wysoka, whose manor is an internationally recognised centre of early music.
Just as in the years before the MP3 we listened to music from LPs and later cassettes, before the arrival of brick houses we lived in wooden and stone ones.
One of the most picturesque is the
Being far more expensive, the solid ones
Thus, even though actually short-lived,
Church of St Leonard in Lipnica Muro-
were the buildings of the community, usually
wooden architecture is as perennial as grass.
wana, rumoured to have replaced the
the church and perhaps the nobility, while
All the more reason for cherishing what re-
shrine, and picturesquely situated be-
the ordinary folks lived in the far more popu-
mained from the days of wooden architec-
tween a stream and wooded cemetery.
lar wooden ones. Yet they were of course far
ture. Village churches, manor houses, assorted
Plenty of wooden architecture can be
more perishable, with the enemies of wood
cottages and farm buildings – hundreds of
found in open-air museums [d p. 71],
including on the one hand natural processes
those that have survived are now linked by the
where it has been transferred to save it
of rotting and insect infestation, and on the
Małopolska Wooden Heritage Route. Although
from oblivion and where it forms pictur-
other fire, frequently the result of an enemy
as a rule no more than one or a few hundred
attack, yet almost as often of somebody’s
years old, each of the sites on that unique,
An interesting approach to decorating
neglect, or simply an overturned candle.
perishable trail is a memento of the bygone
wooden buildings was taken by the
When built of wood, whole cities and vil-
people of the “Painted Village”.
lages would burn. Some fires lasted for days,
In Zalipie, even kennels and well cranes
while others destroyed human settlements
are painted with gaudy flowers.
overnight. Luckily, wooden structures could
“generations” of wooden architecture.
quickly be replaced with new ones by local craftsmen. As a rule, they used the same design as the previous ones, with just small alterations as necessary. 92
Although it connects no fewer than 250 buildings and building complexes, and extends over 1500 km (nearly 1000 miles), the trail is still too short to reach all the sites of interest, as they are simply too abundant in the region (for example, it misses the Church of St Martin in Czermna). The idea to protect wooden heritage came about in 2001, and as soon as 2008 was attracting approximately 80,000 tourists.
Curious to know more about the history of any of our locations? Weâ€™ll be very glad to oblige with more information. Much more information in fact.
Many smaller and bigger locations in the region have retained their
so small and so varied
original character. As such they provide a perfect backdrop to various tales
There are intriguing local customs
Beloved by royalty (e.g. Biecz) or other wealthy
into course books on architecture, and Jurgów
throughout the region. Crowds gather
patrons in the past, many small towns live to-
became famous for its hamlet of highlander
on Palm Sunday, when many-metre-
day in the shadow of their bygone foundations.
shepherding shelters clustered together on
tall palms are collected in the market
They herald a perfect opportunity for the cam-
a meadow. Examples of places that offer an
square of Lipnica Murowana for the
era, as they are actual living organisms, where
insight into the looks of bygone villages and
nothing needs to be “made ancient”, and all
towns are numerous in the region: Gołkowice,
There are plenty of revellers throughout
the elements of the local tissue work together
Lipnica Murowana, Sławków, Stary Sącz…
Małopolska Region, not only on Mardi
well, as the town or village has grown organi-
Gras, but – depending on the location
cally over the ages or decades.
at various moments of the carnival.
from centuries ago.
Małopolska Region features plenty of such
Dressed as angels, devils, stars, and
sites, beginning with its capital in Kraków,
auroch-like demons they move from
the region’s only metropolis, with numerous
house to house, singing merry songs
unique districts, each individual in character.
and carols and collecting money
Mentioned above, Biecz is a coherent com-
or small gifts.
pound of a medieval city; Lanckorona and Ciężkowice – both visually and historically very unlike each other – are examples of small towns that have retained their character, Frydman is a village that has made it 96
Local towns: so small and so varied
Whether listed above or not, many towns and villages of Małopolska Region contain amazing surprises. Miechów is home to a centuries-old church with a representation of Christ’s grave from Jerusalem. In turn, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska [d Places of worship, p. 79] – just over the hill from Lanckorona – is famous for its paths of Calvary.
The more cultures inhabit a given area and the more variety is available locally, the more different are the inspirations of artists, including architects.
The time when a large Jewish commu-
Living in Kraków for well over 800 years, Jews
splendid and opulent, they used to mirror the
nity lived in Poland included plenty of
provided a fair share of the city’s environs. The
wealth and ways of the people who inhabit-
highly emotional moments, tragedies
narrow streets of the Jewish “walled city” in
ed them. Małopolska Region is home to some
and love affairs alike: Casimir, Poland’s
Kazimierz, the district Kraków’s Jews inhabited
of the very few preserved shtetls – the little
only king to be nicknamed “the Great”,
and developed for centuries, still retain much of
Jewish towns that were so plentiful before the
is said to have been deeply in love with
the pre-Holocaust spirit. Standing proud again
second world war.
a Jewish mistress, Esther.
after the annihilation of the second world war
Plenty of sad stories wait to be told, includ-
For many centuries a major centre of
and the oblivion of communism (together with
ing that of the poet and songwriter Mordechai
Jewish culture and learning in Europe,
manor houses of the Polish nobility d p. 87) are
Gebirtig, shot dead when, on his way to the
Kraków earned a lasting place in Jewish
synagogues and other buildings of the Jewish
train that was to take him to the Nazi death
history. The fame of the city as a place
community. Some shabby and wooden, others
camp, he decided to dance.
of mysticism and teaching of law carried far among the Jews, successfully upheld by the Jewish Culture Festival.
Krynica is just one of a number of spas and resorts in eastern Małopolska – Krakow Film Commission can show you all of them.
Since the discovery of their curative properties, “the springs” – Krynica
and its neighbours included – have attracted art and technology, romance
Małopolska boasts plentiful springs of
Common all over Europe in the 19th century,
a picturesque park – partially romantically
mineral water, whose curative and restor-
mineral waters attracted rather the fashion-
unkempt and partially finely ordered, while
ative properties were proven well over
able travelling classes than only the ailing.
those less inclined to exercise take the ancient
a century ago. They soon grew a wealth of
Travelling to the spas developing around them
funicular to a beautiful clearing and walk the
developments for “visitors to the waters”
may be claimed to be the other foundation,
forest-clad range of hills. Walking and skiing
typical of the spas popular in Europe in
beside pilgrimages, of what we know today
routes abound close by.
the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The spas of Małopolska may be typical
Huddled in a horseshoe between hill
of the trend, yet they are also unique as
ranges, Krynica (Polish for spring) retains
their architecture had to be suited to the
plenty of its 19th-century aura, that of a spa
harsh weather this far north on this side
attracting the fashionable and the affluent to
of the Alps. They also feature in plenty of
first and second world war era postcards,
The intricately decorated wooden archi-
when they were used as field and conva-
tecture is home to the state-of-the-art, and
now antique art of pumping mineral waters,
Coming here for treatment, visitors
the promenade is still leisurely walked by
from the cities found themselves in new
hundreds of people who come here to sip
environments, which inspired art as well
water. The more enterprising ones reach
the top of Góra Parkowa, walking through 102
As Wieliczka was so important to the royal economy, the medieval labourers were not only handsomely remunerated but also enjoyed very high status and countless fringe benefits, salt and retirement pensions included.
Wieliczka and Bochnia:
Miles upon miles of an unbelievable kingdom stretch hundreds of metres
sublime underground kingdoms waiting for lights and lenses
below the ground: ready for light to reflect it and shine with thousands
The salt mines are very conveniently
Unbelievable though it may sound, Wieliczka
remaining maze is documented and safe to
situated. Wieliczka is within the range of
used to be a source of unbelievable riches for
enter, as electricity and ventilation are pro-
Kraków’s metropolitan trains and buses,
the whole of Poland, at the time covering a far
vided permanently underground.
and Bochnia is just 45 km (30 miles) away
greater territory than now and reaching down
to the Black Sea.
Wieliczka Salt Mine is probably the oldest industrial enterprise operating in
Salt was necessary to keep food fresh longer, make it tasty, and let it travel.
A product of nature (salt deposits) and many centuries of human work (chambers, passages, mining machinery), Wieliczka Salt Mine was inscribed on the original (1978)
Today there is a tourist route that runs
UNESCO World Heritage List as a gem of
been acquired here over a millennium
underground and takes tourists along many
both natural and industrial heritage, and the
ago, the industrial operation has been
kilometres of passages to the oldest cham-
Bochnia mine followed in 2013.
documented for eight centuries.
bers hewn in rock salt. Some of the most
Although operating for centuries, the
imposing among them include the chapels
mines provide graceful substance to
and the chambers with underground brine
the creative mind, which e.g. ensured
lakes. Although subterranean boat rides were
that Wieliczka listed in The Guinness
organised in both in the past, the practice only
Book of Records as the world’s only
continues in Bochnia.
Europe. Although brine is known to have
of sparks are salt crystals that have waited for thousands of years to be
underground balloon flight. This not only
Only about 1% of all the underground pas-
shows how high some of the caverns
sages – a few kilometres out of a few hundred
are but also what you can do within with
– are accessible to tourists. Yet much of the
a touch of creative inspiration.
Wieliczka and Bochnia: Sublime underground kingdoms waiting for lights and lenses
Although generally a flat country, the southernmost tip of Poland is
a touch of the sublime
adorned by the most beautiful and alpine cluster of the Carpathians – the Tatra Mountains. And the whole of the Polish Tatras lie in Małopolska Region.
Home to the Górale highlanders, the
The Tatras mark their commanding presence
rocky mountains and climbing to their knees,
Tatras and their harsh climate enforced
over the landscape, and can be seen from
followed by dwarf forms of pine, extending
a lifestyle on the inhabitants of the foot-
afar. Frequently clad in snow, even long into
over which are only expanses of meadows, and
hills and made their mark on their style
summer, with snow remaining visible in their
only some lichens and similar vegetation con-
in architecture, costume, and traditions.
gullies well into autumn, they turn white again
quering the rocky peaks of the highest floor.
The folk culture of the Polish highland-
in its last days or very early in winter. The cli-
The glacier moving south across Poland
ers is among the best documented and
mate is as unfriendly as the rocks of which the
millions of years ago found the Tatras an un-
tallest parts of the mountains are built. The
surpassable barrier, and receded from here
More than a century ago, artists and
beauty of the Tatras is of the austere type, and
when an ancient global warming occurred,
antiquarians alike took interest in the
has been noticed and praised by many artists,
leaving a plethora of picturesque lakes: indi-
unsophisticated yet complex costumes
sentimental and romantic alike.
vidual and clusters.
and ways of the Highlanders and their
The variety of the relatively small area is
very difficult lives and made their cul-
unbelievable, partially due to the fact that the
ture famous, and their villages remain
mountains standing here are of various builds:
a popular destination even now, over
most are granite, yet some of the forms (e.g.
100 years later.
Giewont) evolved in soft limestone. All these formations are overgrown with characteristic “floors” of vegetation, beginning with lush forests over the low hills at the foot of the 108
Since 2004, when Poland joined the European Union, the fact that the PolishSlovak border runs along aÂ section of the river is no obstacle for film-making.
While some are visited by thousands of tourists, others remain known
only to a handful of enthusiasts.
Like many other mountain ranges of
There are true pearls catching the eye among
the region, and notably the high rocky
the fields of Małopolska Region. Many of them
Tatras, the Pieniny are very well visible
are unique, of natural origin.
from a considerable distance, which
The Pieniny are absolutely spectacular,
makes them a great natural backdrop
white mountains covered with dark pine for-
for numerous locations.
ests, with a surprisingly swiftly meandering
While rafting down the Dunajec Gorge
river hiding in their midst. The Three Crowns
in the Pieniny is among the best-known
stands nearly 500 m (1640 ft) above the waters
tourist attractions in Poland, the moun-
of the Dunajec – the swift mountain river float-
tains themselves are well ingrained in
ing at its foot. The raftsmen learnt to navigate
the Polish imagination, as they feature
in the tricky currents centuries ago. Today, the
in plenty of school books.
load consists rather of tourists than wood and farm produce. Yet the tradition has remained, and so have the costumes and colours. Unlike that of the Dunajec, the nearby Białka Gorge is a picture of tranquillity. Romantic at sunset, it tends to be pensive in a summer rain, and acquires an unbelievable silent mobility when covered in snow. 110
We are in touch with knightly brotherhoods, sharpshooter associations, and plenty of other organisations that are aÂ precious source of extras.
Castles perched on rocks
High places have always captured the human imagination. And attracted daredevils.
The palazzo in fortezza was an Italian
Just as today many regions complain about
which provided a safe haven for magnates and
concept that provided the residential
wind farms becoming the main element of the
the riches they gathered, these ones can boast
interior for the nobility (the palace),
landscape, medieval Małopolska Region could
that they were luxurious, lavishly decorated,
surrounded by the defence structures
claim that it was the omnipresent castles that
and often designed by the best architects
of the fortress. The resulting clash
spoiled the view. There seemed to be simply
from distant lands.
between the rich and grand inside, and
too many of them. So maybe it is not that bad
the strong, simple and powerful outer
that time and the winds of war have turned
perimeter attracts the eye to this day.
some of them to ruin.
The ruins of Rabsztyn Castle can be
Castles were defensive structures. The
seen in Giacomo Battiato’s Karol: A Man
more you could see from the castle, the
Who Became Pope.
more efficiently it played its role, e.g. making
The Jurassic plateau between Kraków
sure that no highwaymen waylaid the mer-
and Częstochowa is famous for its “Ea-
chant caravans and that no hostile armies
gles’ Nests”: numerous fortresses built
approached. Luckily for us, this means that
of white limestone.
castles were built in the best vantage points, and, from all the places they overlook, provide an amazing accent to the landscape. As some castles were just watchtowers, they were simple and austere. Unlike others, 112
Wonders in the landscape
The gaze of the traveller in Małopolska Region is frequently attracted by a solitary standing rock (monadnock) that may suddenly emerge from behind a bend, and clusters of them lining the walls of ravines and gorges, or simply standing over the floors of valleys.
The names of Małopolska’s rocks are
Since much of the region is built of soft lime-
be visited with a guide, some lie in protected
highly imaginative, indeed, and range
stone rock, fast-flowing mountain rivers
landscape areas, and many more are open to
from the best-known Hercules’ Mace
eroded deep canyons in it. The tougher rocks,
whoever wanders near.
(or Club), via The Crows’ Tower, Man-
however, did not give up to the destructive
of-War, and Frog Horse to a plethora
force of water and remained, proudly and pic-
of devil’s stones.
turesquely, where they had stood for millions
Many of the rocks have legends as-
of years. The most characteristic ones became
signed to them, particularly the devil’s
ingrained in the collective memory of Poles,
stones, which were believed to have
and probably all – even the least conspicuous
been cast by various fiends at churches.
ones – were given popular names.
Led astray by people’s prayers, and
In many cases, archaeology supports the
the power of the saints, the missiles of
belief that in prehistoric times, such “freaks
the evil spirits sorely missed in all cases.
of nature” were centres of prehistoric pagan
However big, in their size even the larg-
cults. Yet it was another “singularity” in the
est caves are no match for the vastness
landscape that attracted people perhaps
of man-made mines in Wieliczka and
even earlier: assorted dry caves of the region
Bochnia [d p. 105].
were inhabited by various cavemen populations that left their traces and bones in and around them. Some of Małopolska’s caves can 114
The pungent yellow of the rapeseed flowers made its mark on the May landscape of MaĹ‚opolska quite aÂ few years ago, and is here to stay due to the production of biofuels.
A country of fields
The names of Polska – Poland and Małopolska are intrinsically connected to pola – the Polish word for “fields”.
Although fields are so special to Poland,
Very much characteristic of Małopolska are
it is a country of woods and lush forests
the long strips of fields, as the region has
[d p. 119], a fact emphasised by many
retained the historical divides. Looking pic-
tourists, especially those from West-
turesque, especially from above, where they
ern Europe and the United States. The
form colourful patchworks, amazingly reg-
forests frequently grow in clusters and
ular in their apparent chaos, they are highly
long lines along rivers and roads.
historical, frequently the result of medieval
Hovering high above the fields and
divisions of land.
striding proudly among the vegetation
They are best discernible in summer, when
are storks, which nest in such numbers
fields of wheat, rye, and barley acquire pic-
in Małopolska Region villages and towns
turesque shades of brown, golden and silver.
that the species has become the symbol
Far from dull and monotonous, also thanks
of Poland and an icon of the Polish
to the undulating terrain, the patchwork of
Małopolska is dotted with woods, intersected
Where better to look for fields – pola –
by numerous rivers, many of them forming
if not in Polska and Małopolska Region,
their own gorges and flowing into lakes and
which take their name from them.
broads, and speckled with other variations of the terrain described in the previous chapters.
Whether a small copse or shrubbery among the fields, or the huge stretch
nature’s ever-changing colour palette
of age-old primeval forest, Małopolska Region is the place to look for
Situated amid the awe-inspiring Nie-
Małopolska Region boasts both coniferous
Many of the region’s forests grow on steep
połomicka Forest (Puszcza Niepoło-
(predominantly spruce) and deciduous (most-
slopes of hills and mountains, providing pic-
micka) is a breeding centre of the
ly beech) trees, which means that there are
turesque processions of tree trunks climbing
European bison (wisent), a species so
magnificent autumns with multicoloured blan-
the hill while watched from close distance, and
far saved from extinction.
kets covering the hills, and evergreen stretch-
canopies of tree crowns – especially beautiful
Many of Małopolska’s forests are cov-
es of conifers that do not change their colour
while they change colours in the autumn – also
ered by nature reservations and left in
throughout the year, even though their entire
when watched from a distance.
their natural state, with fallen trees left
setting does. In many places, the two types of
to rot and feed tree funguses: a true
trees grow together, gracing the forests with
insight into what forests looked like
both the seasonal change and the permanence
before all the modern forest economy
of the evergreens.
and regulations prevalent all over the European Union.
splendid wooded areas with both deciduous and evergreen trees.
By far the most famous forest in the region is the Puszcza Niepołomicka: a tiny remnant of prehistoric forests that covered most of the land before it was used for farming agricultural purposes. A hunting ground for successive kings of Poland, the Puszcza Niepołomicka primeval forest embraces the town of Niepołomice with its royal hunting castle. 118
Surprises in the landscape: desert and lakes ↘↘
Whatever you remember from school about Europe’s climate, one thing is certain: it has deserts. Or, rather, to be exact – one. The Błędowska Desert to be precise. Surprise? Indeed!
In the town of Czchów and the village of
Some things are better not taken for granted,
something of a puzzle to naturalists. Even
Wytrzyszczka by the Czchowski Reser-
as reality can surprise us so much. This is the
though ecologists have for a few decades
voir, impossible to pronounce for non-
case with the landscapes of Małopolska Re-
tried to make it green and forested, and the
Poles, a castle tower and a small castle
gion, in whose valleys among the rolling hills
desert has been reduced by more than a half,
have recently been reconstructed.
there suddenly appear lakes and man-made
there are still large stretches of sandy dunes,
In turn, Poland’s largest dam allowed
reservoirs. Some of the latter are filling up
and – if your luck holds even today you can
the establishment of the Czorsztyński
with mud, which though not convenient for
see a mirage here. The Błędowska Desert,
Reservoir, which reflects two medieval
the economy – builds picturesque shoals and
which has already hosted Polish filmmakers,
castles: Czorsztyn and Niedzica [d Cas-
archipelagoes of miniature islands, so pleasing
is frequently the set for more or less formal
tles of Małopolska, p. 81].
on the eye.
all-terrain driving and live action role-playing
Set on the banks of the lakes – in some
A peculiarity of the Tatras – Poland’s
cases for 800 years – have been castles
only alpine mountains is its numerous lakes
and churches, picturesquely and some-
scattered throughout the central part of the
what pensively reflecting in their waters.
mountains. An ancient legend has it that the
groups, some of whom turn it into the world of Frank Herbert’s Dune series or Mad Max.
largest one of them has a “secret” underground passage connecting it to the sea, some 1000 km distant. An even greater surprise is the Błędowska Desert: a unique area whose origin is still 120
Surprises in the landscape: desert and lakes
Whether or not the climate is warming up, Małopolska Region retains its
gilded by the sun, silvered by the snows
beauty throughout the year. Especially as the number of sunny days has
The absence of foliage in winter is
The four seasons strongly affect the life cycle
of the conifers. And when winter comes, the
particularly conducive to interesting
of Małopolska’s inhabitants, especially those
evergreens preserve their colour against the
panoramas of the cities, where built
whose business depends on nature.
general whiteness. Thanks to the snow cov-
heritage emerges from behind the green
recently been on the rise.
The wild explosion of green that comes
cloak concealing it in other seasons.
in the spring is long sustained, as there are
The “Golden Polish Autumn” became
different types of vegetation which do not
a brand decades ago, and defines
all bud and later flower at the same time,
the sunny spell that usually begins in
extending the period of spring “freshness”
September and may continue till early
somewhat longer than in many other places
in Europe. When many plants, and especially
With winter temperatures sometimes
trees, are still in bloom, the first fruit is already
dropping below -20°C (-5°F), and frost
harvested from the fields – an unmistakable
painting the window panes with fractal
mark of summer.
decorations, the climate and the snow
er, local winters are bereft of that grey, drab quality that torments the eye further south.
This is followed by autumn (fall), which is
cover make it easy to recreate Arctic
often hailed as the most beautiful and “Polish”
and Siberian panoramas, without the
season. With their mixed trees, the forests of
torments of their frosts.
Małopolska Region not only turn all shades of yellow, orange, amber, red, and brown, but also retain the frequently very deep greens 124
We know our enthusiasts of horseriding of all styles and colours well, and will be pleased to get you in touch with the right ones.
Among horse masters
Before the planes and trains came, for many centuries transport relied on horses.
It’s good to remember that in the past
Poland, where 10% of the population were
patience. Today, the country and the region
people were shorter than they are today,
nobility, was definitely an equestrian country.
are well known for the large number of capa-
and so were the horses they rode.
Besides riding, horses were used for trans-
ble horse riders, many of whom are members
In the 17th century, no European army
port – from peasants’ wains to monarchs’
of knightly brotherhoods, re-enacting events
could break the siege of Vienna laid
ornamented carriages. Although horses are
from the past, often in exact copies of mag-
by the Turkish army until the arrival of
hardly ever used for transport, the equestrian
nificent historical costumes.
the Polish winged knights – husarze –
tradition continues. Stables and riding schools
whose impetus broke the enemy ranks.
are abundant, and horse riding has become
Famous and craved for centuries, the
a popular skill.
Polish cavalry continued to fight even
The region provides not only perfect loca-
well into the 20th century, being victo-
tions for galloping cavalry, a host of huntsmen
rious e.g. during the Bolshevik war of
cantering through woods, and ladies trotting
leisurely on a country road towards a stately home, but also some unique horse breeds. The Hutzul from eastern Małopolska Region is a pony-sized horse perfect for hippotherapy and recreation, which has proved great for film productions. Crews especially appreciate and admire their intelligence and 126
We know a lot about the workings and complexities of the traditional dress. For example, Highlanders “down south” prefer whites to the navy blues of their cousins living further to the east. We’ll gladly help you with the hue of your preference.
Colours and customs
Some are well known all over Poland, while others have almost become forgotten and remain known only locally or to aficionados.
Although no longer worn for everyday
Interestingly, the costumes of two localities
that its owner did not have to work to make
work, the colourful regional costumes
within Małopolska Region are counted among
are still donned, especially for church
the three “national” Polish costumes. They are
There are also some costumes that are
holidays. Many observers have noticed
the Highlander clothes: very practical in the
worn only for one special occasion (e.g. for the
that, unlike film extras, local people,
chilly winds, whether you work as a lumber-
traditional splashing of young girls with water
and especially Highlanders, wear their
jack or tend to sheep, and that of the Kraków
on Easter Monday) each year.
costumes as a “second skin” – with
region – much more decorative, not to say
Someone said that Zalipie is “just a whole
absolutely no trace of artificiality.
glamorous. Yet even the ones from the poorest
village dressed up”. They could not have been
mountainous regions are a way of showing
closer to the truth: everything from wells and
pride and individuality – in the part of Poland
dog kennels to whole cottages is painted here
most distant from the sea, using seashells
with gaudy flowers.
to decorate your hat became a sign of high status, much higher than an eagle feather (common) stuck in it. Small towns had their costumes too. In the case of the petty bourgeoisie, the costume was there to emphasise wealth, frequently mirrored the fashion from the capital (in the 19th century: Vienna), and might hint 128
Colours and customs
Andrzej Wajda: Kraków is a city made for film
Kraków is the city of the kings of Poland, and
Everything is here: from inexhaustible
at the same time a place with such a sense of
sources of inspiration for film production –
latest, updated information on Kraków and
“homeliness” that a Japanese person can feel
be it material heritage or knowledge, spirit
Małopolska locations, and everything con-
at home here. Here, visitors will find Gothic
nected to the film industry around here:
churches with the high altar by Wit Stwosz, the university precinct with Collegium Maius,
Kraków, the capital of Małopolska Region, is a filmmaker’s dream location.
the magnificence of Wawel Castle with Eu-
The book we deliver to you contains the
institutions, companies, festivals. However, in honour of the late Andrzej Wajda, the greatest filmmaker connected to Kraków
rope’s largest Renaissance courtyard, and
(four nominations for an Academy Award
– among the modern works – the Manggha
for Best Foreign Language Film and an
Museum, designed by the Japanese architect
Honorary Oscar “in recognition of five
decades of extraordinary film direction”),
On the one hand, those who designed
we have retained for you his foreword
the Main Market Square 750 years ago did
to the original edition of this publication
so with such foresight and vision that today
the popular café gardens in the square can accommodate more people than lived in the entire city long after its chartering, and on the other, Kraków is full of narrow streets and nooks, also in its district of Kazimierz. 132
We hope you have enjoyed this brief visual and verbal presentation of our broad offer. Due to limited space we were unable to fit the whole of our region and city, together with their material and intangible heritage, into this book. Although we have made every effort to make this book worthy of you, we realise that every film project has specific needs, therefore we do encourage you to contact us.
Yours, The Set the Scene team of the Krakow Film Commission
Contents: This is where we are located and this is where we welcome you . . . . . . . . I
Museums of technology: when the cutting edge turns vintage . . . . . . . 63
Krakow Film Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . V
Małopolska Region: where the imagination roams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Krakow Regional Film Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VI
Open-air museums: ready-made locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Krakow Festival Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IX
Steam power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Film festivals in Kraków . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X
Wooden churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Places of worship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Our selected projects: this is what we have done so far . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Castles of Małopolska: the solitary and imposing icons of the region. . 81
Invitation from Krakow Film Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Mansions: homes to the aristocracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Comfortable home on the set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
A nobleman’s life in the country: manor houses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Kraków: centre of the world . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Wooden heritage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Wawel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Local towns: so small and so varied . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
The Main Market Square: the centre of all things. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
St Mary’s Church: the worth of a pearl is not measured
Krynica: the spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
by its regularity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Wieliczka and Bochnia: sublime underground kingdoms
Architecture: testimony to universalism and diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
waiting for lights and lenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Genius loci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Mountains: a touch of the sublime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Kazimierz: a city within a city . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
River gorges: Pieniny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Architecture – model, though unique: forts, mounds, monuments . . . 41
Castles perched on rocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Building universal architecture for the modern city . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Wonders in the landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Art Nouveau and the end of an empire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
A country of fields. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Turn to the classical form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Forests: nature’s ever-changing colour palette. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Second world war: Europe under Nazi occupation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Surprises in the landscape: desert and lakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
Nazi death industry: ghettos and concentration camps . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
The seasons: gilded by the sun, silvered by the snows . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Communist legacy and its concrete heritage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Among horse masters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Modernity melding into tradition: the new river front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Colours and customs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Andrzej Wajda: Kraków is a city made for film . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134 . . . . . . 135 .133
Architecture in the service of culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Photographs: przeMysław czaja: 13, 15, 18, 19, 21, 23, 30, 36, jaceK drygała: 4,
© 2019, Krakowskie Biuro Festiwalowe | Krakow Festival Office
6 (x2), Bruno fidrych/plasTersTudio: 64, filM polsKa archive: 8, wojciech gorgolewsKi: 16–17, 20, glinKa agency: 5, a. golec: 6,
First edition 2012 | Second edition 2019
MarTa gosTKiewicz: 4, grzegorz harTfiel: 7, 9, a. KliMowsKi: 67, 68, 69, 72, 95, 98, 99, 111, 116, 117, 118, 119, 123, 124, 125, 127, 129,
Publisher: Krakow Festival Office
Michał łuczaK: 5, Magic Mountain (filM sTill): 6, MaKufly: 7,
Director: Izabela Helbin
Marshal’s office of The MałopolsKa region archive: 84, 108, 109, 110, 120, 122, 126, 128, 130, 131, paweł Mazur: 12, 13, 22,
ul. Wygrana 2, 30-311 Kraków, Poland
25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48,
phone: +48 12 354 25 00, fax: +48 12 354 25 01
50, 52, 53, 65, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 85,
86, 87, 88, 90 (x2), 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 100, 102, 103, 104, 106,
107, 112, 113, 114, 115, 132, BarTeK MrozowsKi: 5, 7, roBerT pałKa: 5, Michalina rodzińsKa: 7, doroTa&paTryK słoTwińscy:
Project coordination: Natalia Woda
66, 69 (x2), sTorMann&weBBer: 59, K. Turyna: 117, wojciech
Text and editing: Piotr Krasnowolski
wandzel: 3, 10, 14, 24, 31, 33, 37, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 101, 129,
Editorial consultant: Grzegorz Słącz
ToMasz wiech: 2, szyMon wiTKowsKi (KBf archive): 40, 41, 54,
Language consultant: Benjamin Koschalka
56, 82, 83.
Editorial collaboration: Barbara Skowrońska Graphic design and typesetting: Katarzyna Wolny-Grządziel Graphic design collaboration: Jacek Florek ISBN: 978-83-65270-41-2 Print: PETIT. Skład–Druk–Oprawa. Wojciech Guz i Wspólnicy Spółka Komandytowa
Set + the Scene Kraków & Małopolska LOCATION GUIDE