Culture of Kraków

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Kraków is considered by many to be the cultural capital of Poland.[1] It was named the European Capital of Culture by the European Union for the year 2000. The city has some of the best museums in the country and several famous theaters. It became the residence of two Polish Nobel laureates in literature: Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz, while a third Nobel laureate, the Yugoslav writer Ivo Andric also lived and studied in Krakow. It is also home to one of the world’s oldest universities, the Jagiellonian University of Kraków.

Folk dancers in traditional costumes from Kraków (regarded as Polish national costumes)
Wawel Tapestry

Museums and national art galleries[edit]

Kraków has 28 museums as well as a number of art collections and public art galleries. They are separated into the National and City museums:

The National Museum established in 1879, which is the main branch of Poland's National Museum with permanent collections around the country, as well as the National Art Collection on Wawel Hill and the Czartoryski Museum featuring works by Leonardo and Rembrandt.

The City of Krakow has a main Historical Museum that also has branches throughout the city:-

Nativity Cribs Festival

Festivals[edit]

Kraków is home to many different and unique street festivals, parties and parades. Most famous are its Nativity Cribs Festival held every December, the Jewish Culture Festival held at the end of June, International Jazz Festival held in April, Lajkonik Parade during the spring, and a number of indoor festivals held throughout the year. The extended list of Kraków festivals includes:

  • International Jazz Festival (April)
  • International Film Festival (May)
  • Juwenalia Student Festival (May)
  • Lajkonik Parade (June)
  • Enthronement of the Cock King (June)
  • Wreaths (Wianki) Midsummer Festival (June 24)
  • Summer in Krakow Festivals (June, July)
  • International Summer Festival of Organ Music (July - August)[20]
  • Folk Art Fair (August)
  • International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music
    (September 16–29)
  • Organ Music Festival (October)
  • Unsound Festival, electronic and alternative music (October)
  • International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima, international film festival (November)
  • Zaduszki Jazz Festival (November)
  • Festival of Animated Film [21]
  • Christmas Market ('till December 26)
  • Kraków szopka Nativity Cribs Festival (first Thursday of December)
  • New Year's Party at the Main Square (December 31)

Theatres[edit]

Slowacki Theatre in Krakow Old Town District

Kraków is home to one of nation's most active theatre scenes and some of the oldest continuing performing arts companies.[22] It is considered to be the second largest centre for Polish theatre behind Warsaw. It is home to both acclaimed productions by companies such as the National Stary Theatre, and the emerging companies supporting new generation of local artists. Among established theatres in Kraków with permanent stages often in buildings of historic significance are:

Music[edit]

Opera Krakowska[28] one of the leading national opera companies, stages 200 performances each year including ballet, operettas and musicals. It has, in its main repertoire, the greatest world and Polish opera classics. The Opera moved into its first permanent House in the autumn of 2008. It is in charge also of the Summer Festival of Opera and Operetta.

Cracow is home to two major Polish festivals of early music presenting forgotten Baroque oratorios and operas: Opera Rara[29] and Misteria Paschalia.[30] Meanwhile, Capella Cracoviensis runs the Music in Old Cracow International Festival.

Academy of Music in Kraków, founded in 1888, is known world-wide as the alma mater of the contemporary Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, and it is also the only one in Poland to have two winners of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw among its alumni. The Academy organizes concerts of its students and guests throughout the whole year.[31]

Music organizations and venues include: Kraków Philharmonic, home of the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the chamber Capella Cracoviensis,[32] Sinfonietta Cracovia (a.k.a. the Orchestra of the Royal City of Kraków), the Polish Radio Choir of Kraków, Organum Academic Choir, the Mixed Mariański Choir (Mieszany Chór Mariański), Krakow Academic Choir of the Jagiellonian University, the Krakow Chamber Choir, Amar Corde String Quartet, Consortium Iagellonicum Baroque Orchestra of the Jagiellonian University, the Brass Band of T. Sendzimir Steelworks, and Camerata Chamber Orchestra of Radio Kraków.

Cultural centres[edit]

The City of Kraków is the largest public funder of the community arts initiatives among the city districts. Many neighborhoods in Kraków operate publicly sponsored cultural centres with the financial aid from the cultural department of the municipal government. Community centres with their many exhibitions, art classes, educational and music programs are perhaps the most noticeable cultural venues at a local level. They are paid for from the 4% of the budget of the city of Kraków (with revenue of 2,150 million złoty in 2006) [33] allocated to culture and recreational facilities. Among the city’s cultural centres are:

  • Nowa Huta Cultural Centre, at Aleja Jana Pawła II 232
  • International Centre of Culture, at Rynek Główny 25
  • Old-Town Staromiejskie Cultural Centre for Youth, at ul. H. Wietora 13/15
  • Białoprądnicki Manor Cultural Centre, at ul. Papiernicza 2
  • Catholic Centre, at ul. Wiślna 12
  • Rotunda Cultural Centre, at ul. Oleandry 1
  • Jewish Cultural Centre, at ul. Meiselsa 17
  • Teranga Centre of African Culture and Art, at ul. Kalwaryjska 48
  • Kurdwanów Nowy Cultural Centre, at ul. Witosa 39

Nightlife[edit]

Irish Pub “Pod Papugami”
Famous bar “Vis-à-Vis” on Main Market Square

There are over a hundred pubs and bars in the vicinity of the Kraków Market Square alone, most in the cellars of historic buildings, each with its own intimate character and atmosphere. Many of the establishments are devoted to live music as well. Jazz clubs include: Klinika 35 Blues Club, Harris Piano Jazz Bar, Jazz Club U Muniaka, Pod Jaszczurami Club, Kornet Jazz Club, U Louisa, Rotunda Orlik Club and Piec Arts Club. Popular places to drink, eat, and enjoy, are situated also in the nearby Kazimierz quarter. The main square is home to a melange of bars and shops where the hundreds of different Polish Vodkas can be tried out. A Popular Vodka Tasting Tour runs daily showing visitors the selection and the history of the drink itself.

Friday and Saturday nights are the high points of the entertainment week. Live entertainment fits all tastes. Jazz remains very popular and there is no lack of places for fans of rock, modern pop, ballads, including classical music. A number of restaurants in the centre of Kraków can seat more than 100.

Among Jazz musicians with bands are: Reiner Trio, Beale Street Band, Boba Jazz Band, Aleksander Glondys Quartet/Quintet (formerly: Al’Mad), Jazz Band Ball Orchestra, Janusz Witko Quartet, Mr. Bober's Friends, Cracow Swing Quartet, Old Metropolitan Band, Marek Bałata Jazz Singer, Andrzej Cudzich, New Bone, Sebastian Bernatowicz, Jan Pilch, Karolina Styła, Overtime, Piotr Domagała, Ryszard Styła, Jorgos Skolias.

Kraków Klezmer groups include: Kroke and The Cracow Klezmer Band.

Selected Folk bands: Krakowiacy Song and Dance Company, Students Highlanders' Ensemble "Skalni", Retro-Circus-Folk Band "Vladimirska", Nowa Huta Song and Dance Ensemble, Highland Folk Group Hamernik, Children's Highland Folk Group Mali Hamernicy and Folk Dance Group Krakowiak.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  20. ^ "XVII International Festival Summer Organ Concerts - Cracow Life". Cracow-life.com. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Festival of Animated Film info". Culture.pl. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  22. ^ "The Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Krakow - Place". Culture.pl. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
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  33. ^ Bulletin of Public Information for the City of Kraków (PDF file, direct download 12.1 MB). Publisher: Wydział Strategii i Rozwoju Miasta, 2012-01-12. Author: Wojciech Piątkowski, inspector.