Krakow is full of great historical architecture, no question. what I show in this post however are interesting brutalist (as in beton brut) building and what is left of the soc realist Nowa Huta district.Szkieletor or NOT Tower in Krakow
Rising high over the Rondo Mogilskie (K-2) is one of Krakow’s biggest blemishes and its most overt reminder of the follies of communism. Officially named NOT Tower, but known locally as Szkieletor (from the Polish word for ‘skeleton’), this 22 storey bare beams structure ranks as the tallest building in the city, standing unfinished and unoccupied for over a quarter century. Originally designed in 1968 to serve as a congress hall and office block, work began in 1975 with local authorities pressuring architects to make it as tall as possible. Another eight floors were hastily added to the original blueprint, with a TV studio, hotel and panoramic terrace all part of the master plan. Alas, Poland’s economic crisis hit soon after and all work on it was abandoned in 1979, never to be resumed.
Today the 91m tower stands fenced off from the public, a ghostly reminder of the golden dawn promised by the nation’s leaders. Over the years shoddy construction work has made the tower a crumbling death trap, and despite ownership changing hands numerous times, no one has taken on the expense of doing anything more with it than making it available for large advertisements.
(from In your Pocket guide Krakow) How the tower looked before it was covered with billboards (picture source)
Hotel ForumAddress: Marii Konopnickiej 28
This enormous concrete-building (build from 1978, the opening took place only in 1989) is one of the most futuristic buildings in Krakow.(picture source)
From In Your pocket guide: Awarded four stars, the hotel featured perks unknown in 80s Krakow: air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor electronic clock with temperature displays, swimming pool, mini golf and casino. Having passed from the Orbis brand to the Sofitel in 2001 the hotel was closed at the end of 2002, apparently because of a construction fault that led to frequent flooding of the basements. Today the vacant building is owned by the Wawel-Imos group, and though its future is uncertain it presently makes a handsome living as Poland’s longest billboard, while lending its former reception area to one of Kraków's trendiest bars (Forum Przestrzenie), and its parking lot to a go-cart track.(picture source)
How the Hotel looked when it was at it's best! (picture source) Central Square (Plac Centralny) in Nowa Huta
Nowa Huta's central Avenue of Roses featured a countrywide known statue of Vladimir Lenin unveiled on April 28, 1973. The bronze monument was pulled down in 1989 by the city, as a result of numerous protest actions by local citizens. Several thousand onlookers came to watch the dismantling. Then communist names of Street and Places where changed, also the Central Place changed its name into Ronald Reagan Place.
The Solidarity Monument in Nowa Huta
Tadeusz Sendzimir Steelworks in Nowa Huta
During the Communist rule, the plant was called Vladimir Lenin Steelworks. The name was changed in 1990, following the collapse of communism, and the factory was renamed to commemorate the scientist and engineer Tadeusz Sendzimir. In its heyday – in the 1970s – the plant employed around 40,000 people and annually produced almost 7 million tons of steel. In the 1980s, it was one of the most important centers of anticommunist resistance, with numerous strikes and street demonstrations.
This is the forth post of my little itinerary through Eastern Europe Prague-Brno-Ostrava-Krakow-Zakopane-Presov-Beograd.
First post: Soviet Style Architecture in Prague
Second post:Brno Architecture
Third Post: Socialist Realism in Ostrava