Central (Centralny) Square

Streets and squares

To this day, the “Central Square” is the main and most recognisable location in Nowa Huta. Whatever tourist routes you take in the district, they will take you here. The square and the surrounding buildings form a uniform whole.

The core of Nowa Huta was built in the mid-1950s: the Central Square is a classic example of socialist realism. To this day, it has been the central and best recognisable point in this district of Kraków. Named after Ronald Reagan in 2004, the square is surrounded by residential estates given simple names: A, B, C, and D. Their architecture makes references chiefly to the renaissance, as is the case with all the designs of Polish Socialist Realism. Even though the design of Tadeusz Ptaszycki, the main architect of Nowa Huta, was never completed, the buildings form a coherent and well-composed whole. The original plans envisaged enclosing the square in the south with a theatre, and from the north – with the Town Hall of Nowa Huta.

The few surviving public interiors spark a great deal of interest today. The bygone atmosphere of Nowa Huta can still be found in the interiors of Cepelix shop (former Cepelia in osiedle Centrum B 1). Surviving from the olden days is the international decor, including stylised wooden furniture and decorative plafonds.

Stylowa Restaurant (osiedle Centrum C 3) has operated continuously since 1956 and advertises itself as the place that transports guests into the time of the “heyday of communism in Poland”. It was here that just five decades ago waitresses tried to convince steelworkers that drinking coffee is exceedingly elegant. This is the place you visited for a “lilliput” (small coffee) and the best steak tartare in Kraków. The consumption of such goodies was accompanied by melodies played on the piano by the blind Mr Zbyszek. Plastic ivy cascading down the walls, starched tablecloths, and suspended ceilings with halogen lamps: here you had everything you needed to be chic in the People’s Republic of Poland.

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