Nowa Huta – the new foundry – is an experiment, designed and built from scratch to create an ideal city in the spirit of socialist realism. The communist authorities of Poland wanted a model city, a metallurgical complex planned for more than 30,000 workers as well as residential buildings to accommodate them, with large boulevards, public parks and everything necessary.
The construction of Nowa Huta began in 1949, ultimately in 1951 it became a district of Krakow. The Lenin foundry was inaugurated in 1954. The complex was renamed Huta im. T. Sendzimira (Polish scientist and engineer) and became the main steel producer in Europe (hello ArcelorMittal).
This architectural and political project aimed to show the advantages of communism in the face of the Western world and anti-communist traditionalists. Krakow was chosen because the city was the university center of Poland, considered a hotbed of those refractory to communist ideas.
In the 1980s, the district became a center of resistance, particularly with the presence of the Solidarność union. The first independent union in Poland, its creation by Anna Walentynowicz and Lech Wałęsa at the Gdańsk shipyards gave rise to major social movements throughout the country, I’ll let you reread your history lessons.
Communism being fundamentally anti-clerical, the inhabitants also waged a battle against the regime for a new place of worship. They won their case in 1977, the new church was consecrated by none other than the future pope: Karol Wojtyla. Two other churches of interest in Nowa Huta: the oldest wooden church in Poland built in 1466, and the Cistercian Abbey of Mogila (Mogila being an old village which was later attached to Nowa Huta).
Nowa Huta is said to be one of the best-known examples of deliberate social engineering. Today it is one of the most populated areas of Krakow.
Let’s go for an overview of Nowa Huta, follow the guide!