Nowa Huta’s 70th anniversary

27 May 2019

Party in Nowa Huta

The district intertwines the atmosphere of the former People’s Republic of Poland with its residents’ boundless energy and outlook. Nowa Huta is celebrating its 70th birthday – let’s get ready to party!

Although the history of Nowa Huta goes back just seventy decades, it has been highly turbulent. It was built as a separate city to house industrial workers and to compete with Cracovian “intelligentsia”. Construction work started in 1949 following the decree by Joseph Stalin and it was closely tied with the development of a steelworks plant in the former village of Mogiła. Paradoxically, one of the largest industrial complexes built in communist Poland was created on some of the country’s most fertile soil.

But Nowa Huta didn’t go on to become the utopian paradise promised by communist propaganda, nor did it turn into a seedy nest of poverty, as predicted by the poet Adam Ważyk. Its original residents compare its development to the conquering of the Wild West: it drew young people from all over Poland who had first-hand experience of wartime tragedy and poverty with the hope of a better tomorrow.

Today, Kraków’s younger sister – the city’s district since the 1950s – captivates visitors with its unique architecture, meticulous spatial planning and greenery, developed by a team of brilliant architects led by Tadeusz Ptaszycki. Just like the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin, the “pride of the People’s Republic” is now a popular monument to the ideals of socialist realism. But Nowa Huta isn’t just a history lesson – it is driven by the boundless energy of its residents, activists and teams of local cultural centres who work tirelessly for their home district to shape its unique genius loci. We will explore this unique spirit during the celebrations of Nowa Huta’s 70th anniversary, filling the district with myriad cultural events.

Let’s celebrate!

June abounds with anniversary events. Celebrations kick off on 4 June with the concert Gintrowski: Something Will Remain of Us at the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre. On 7 June, the centre hosts the opening of the exhibition Solidarity: Today Belongs to Us and the gala Thank You for the Freedom. On 8 June, the Nowa Huta Anniversary Parade sets off from the C.K. Norwid Cultural Centre, with fifty participants dressed up as fifty figures with historical ties to Nowa Huta heading to Centralny Square. The parade melts into crowds celebrating during Nowa Huta Days (8-9 June). The programme features events for kids, fairs, laser displays and concerts including Urszula performing at the Nowa Huta Meadow (8 June). On 9 June, the Cistercian Church in Mogiła resounds with a concert commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first visit of Pope John II to Kraków. Marking Theatre Night (15 June), KTO’s Theatre outdoor spectacle directed by Jerzy Zoń and titled Nowa Huta comes to Róż Avenue, while Dance Night (16 June) presents performances of over twenty dance ensembles at the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre (more about both events on pp. 38 and 39). Concerts held as part of the Wianki – Fête de la Musique (22 June) held at the outdoor stage in front of the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre provide a feast for the soul (see p. 10). The Kraków Picnic is the perfect opportunity to relax with friends and family in the great outdoors: at the Zielony Jar Wandy Park on 22 June, at the Żeromski Park on 23 June and at Planty Mistrzejowickie on 28 June. We will explore behind the scenes of Nowa Huta at the Municipal Open Day at 2 Zgody Estate on 9 June, and we will discover that the heart of the district beats further afield than just Centralny Square, with outdoor events, concerts and an urban game in front of the Jan Matejko Manor (28 June) and in the Kantorowickie Meadow (29 June).

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Anniversary celebrations are held throughout a year, with more attractions in the coming months – look out for the next issues of “Karnet”!

(Anna Mazur, Justyna Skalska)

 

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