Kościuszki 88, Kraków


Plenty of greenery, mysterious corners, varied architecture with a unique settlement sometimes referred to as Urzędnicze melting nicely into the hillscape may make Zwierzyniec one of the most charming places in the city. Both the Kościuszko Mound (1820-1823) – surrounded by mid-19th century Austrian fortifications – and the Piłsudski Mound (1934-1936) command beautiful panoramas of the city. From their summits you can see not only all of Kraków, but also the hills and mountains to the south, and at times – even as far as the Rocky Tatras.

In the Middle Ages, Zwierzyniec was a village owned by the Premonstratensian congregation, mentioned for the first time in documents from the 12th century. In the following centuries it was primarily inhabited by masons, carters and cab drivers. It was divided from Kraków by the so-called Półwsie – literally “semi-village” – a suburb that in turn was inhabited by raftsmen (like those known from the Lajkonik legends), sand diggers, petty bourgeoisie, and lower ranking clerks. Even though the characteristic pretty farms and wooden cottages surrounded by gardens and vegetable gardens were disappearing before our very eyes from both Zwierzyniec and Półwsie; some relics of that development, mostly wooden, have survived in some places. You can see them in Królowej Jadwigi Street (e.g. at Nos 88, 96, 98, and 120) – formerly the main street of Zwierzyniec.

The role of the main artery of Półwsie – a part of Zwierzyniec separated off by the Premonstratensian Abbess Stredka in 1327 and which received its charter under German law – has always been played by the road which was named Kościuszki St. early in the 20th century. Originally it led only to the Premonstratensian monastery and the Church of the Holy Saviour, and was only later extended along today’s ul. Księcia Józefa towards the river crossing to Bielany and Tyniec. The reconstructed Kościuszki Street acquired strategic importance in the mid-19th century, as it connected the fortifications of the developing fortress of Kraków. For a long time, the highest building found among the suburban development was the 18th-century Manor House of the Master of the Royal Hunt (ul. Kościuszki 37) that has recently been beautifully renovated and adapted by the Znak publishing house.

In 1910, both Półwsie and Zwierzyniec became part of Kraków. Soon the construction of the Osiedle Urzędnicze (1909-1913), a model garden city, was completed on Salwator Hill.

Another part of the former Półwsie Zwierzynieckie is the open green of Błonia Common Green, or in other words, the only meadow in the centre of the metropolis. Originally, it belonged to the Premonstratensian sisters who ceded it to the city in 1366 in return for a house in Floriańska Street. The townhouse burned down a few years after the transaction, which initiated a centuries-long dispute between the congregation and the City Council. This was the case because the Premonstratensians regretted the unfortunate transaction and tried to recover Błonia, calling upon the assistance of the King and the Apostolic See. This was all in vain, since the great pasture that Błonia provided to the city remained the property of the municipality, and the order had to make do with the smouldering ruin.


Date: 2012-04-03 Show ticket
News author: OLGA SOLARZ
News Publisher: Redakcja MPI
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