Kraków Days 2018
Friday, June 1, 2018 - Saturday, June 30, 2018
In June, Kraków turns into a stage for a vast city-wide festival: Kraków Days. Celebrations are held throughout the month, and the programme of events is breathtaking: there are picnics, pageants, fairs, festivals, concerts…
Andrzej Sapkowski wrote in the book History and Fantasy, “We can wear Chinese clothes, drive Czech cars, gawp at Japanese TVs or cook Spanish tomatoes and Norwegian salmon in German pans. But when it comes to culture, it’s only right and proper to have our own.” And we have plenty to be proud of in Kraków! In June, there is an incredible accumulation of various artistic, cultural and folk events.
The festival recalls the first ever Kraków Days, held in 1936 and hailed as the best festival of its kind of the Second Polish Republic.
Her name is Tradition
Last year’s events were inaugurated by none other than the (Fowler) King, but this year we’ll be rather more democratic. And since summer is almost here, let’s get lost in green spaces and chill out in the great outdoors. The first Cracovian picnic is held at Krakowski Park on 2 June, followed by picnics at Kościuszki Park (16 June), Ratuszowy Park (17 June), Jordana Park (23 June) and Jerzmanowskich Park (24 June). On 9 June, the Main Market Square – where else! – hosts the enthronement of the Fowler King, held annually by the Fowler Brotherhood for the last six hundred years!
The first weekend of the month is accompanied by (perfectly tame) fairytale beasts which have been enchanting Cracovians and tourists for many years. During the Great Dragon Parade (2-3 June), Kraków’s streets fill by a colourful pageant of kids accompanied by home-made dragons of all shapes and sizes, inspired by Marco Polo’s Book of the Marvels of the World. The parade is joined by orchestras and street artists. The organisers are also hosting a family picnic at the Vistula Boulevards and great outdoor events on the river (more on p. 48).
One of the most beautiful Cracovian traditions is the Lajkonik Parade: on the octave of Corpus Christi (7 June), the dancing rider of a wooden horse, in a bright Tatar outfit and surrounded by a noisy pageant, once again travels from Zwierzyniec to the Main Market Square. But this year we will see another rider of an imitation horse. The music performance Mysterious Hobby Horse From Kazimierz: A Tale From the Days of King Staś by the Jewish Theatre in Krakow, held in front of the Old Synagogue, recalls the Jewish procession from 230 years ago celebrating the arrival of King Stanisław August Poniatowski’s arrival in Kraków
On 7 June, Cracovian costume – one of the most iconic in the country – enjoys celebrations inspired by Stanisław Wyspiański’s The Wedding.
The ancient midsummer rites of St John’s Night are recalled by the Wianki – Fête de la Musique (more on p. 15). On 23 June, four stages at different locations in the city host artists including Brodka, Bitamina, Marek Napiórkowski, Motion Trio and Paulina Przybysz.
St John’s Fair recreates the bustling atmosphere of early Kraków between 15 and 17 June (more on p. 18): the Vistula Boulevards at the foot of Wawel Hill become a village resounding with Renaissance music, with courtiers and knights strolling by and merchants selling delicious food and fascinating, often forgotten artefacts.
On 3 June, we celebrate the Municipality Open Day under the banner 1920s, 1930s at the historic Wielopolski Palace; it will be a rare opportunity to take a peek at the offices of the Mayor of the City of Kraków and the Chairman of the Municipal Board. On 5 June, the anniversary of Kraków being granted city rights in 1257, we will celebrate the Municipal Flag Festival for the second time. Cracovians are invited to attend Holy Mass dedicated to Kraków, while the Municipal Board attends a special meeting.
For the seventh time, Kraków becomes a capital of poetry with the Miłosz Festival (7-10 June, more on p. 8), held under the banner A Year of the Hunter. It will be a perfect opportunity to meet Polish authors and guests from abroad. The Wodecki Twist Festival (8-9 June, more on p. 14) commemorates the Cracovian artist and musician who passed away last year. June marks also the beginning of one of the most fascinating classical music projects in Europe, Theatrum Musicum (7 June, more on p. 30). The joint venture by Kraków’s institutions held under a single banner brings together myriad summer concerts. Kraków resounds with one of the most beautiful operatic voices: Elīna Garanča performs as part of the ICE Classic cycle (9 June, more on p. 12). Kraków also comes to life after dark with the Theatre Night (16 June, more on p. 42) and Dance Night (17 June, more on p. 43). This year’s Kraków Days also heads to the Kazimierz district to join the 28th Jewish Culture Festival (22 June – 1 July, more on p. 20).
The city’s squares, streets, parks and meadows will also be bustling. We’ll be able to sample many local dishes at the delicious Bread Festival (8-10 June) at Wolnica Square, Planty Park unveils an exhibition dedicated to Sławomir Mrożek (29 June), the intimate Św. Marii Magdaleny Square hosts the Kraków Book Fair (9-10 June) bringing together local antiquarians, while Kraków’s second-hand booksellers channel Parisian vibes by flocking to the roof of the building at 11 Powiśle Street by the Vistula. Other events include the KINOLUB Film Festival (18-21 June), a happening dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski held in front of Narodowy Stary Theatre (20 June), the Sinfonietta Festival marking the start of the summer (21-25 June), the concert Haydn extreme IV at the Church of St Catherine (21 June) and many other events organised by cultural centres throughout Kraków.
(Barbara Zając, '"Karnet" magazine)
Kraków emerges primarily as the silhouette of Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle and Cathedral adorned by the golden dome of the Sigismund Chapel, and the Historic Centre, surrounded today by Planty – the garden ring developed in the place of the former defence walls. Within its perimeter you will find the Royal Route leading from St Florian’s Gate and the Barbican to the castle, age-old churches, little townhouses and mansions in a variety of styles that have accumulated in the city over the centuries, its University founded in the Middle Ages, the Main Market Square with the characteristic silhouettes of the Cloth Hall, St Mary’s, the Town Hall Tower, the monument to the Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz, pigeons, flower stalls, and the bugle call played every hour from the taller tower of St Mary’s. In addition there is the Kazimierz district, chartered in the 14th century as a separate city to the south of Kraków proper, attracting us with its history, heritage, and the magic of the former Jewish oppidum. Radiating from the Main Market Square, the largest of such squares surviving from the Middle Ages in Europe, are streets that were staked out among previous developments in the middle of the 13th century. Together with the perpendicular cross-streets they form a characteristic grid system (Hippodamian plan), though a trained eye will also see disturbances in Kraków’s perfect urban design where the pre-Charter life was most vibrant.
Perfectly well preserved mediaeval developments, one of the grandest and most impressive in our part of Europe, and a unique complex of built heritage from various periods became the foundation for entering Kraków’s Historic Centre together with Wawel and Kazimierz on the first UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
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St Mary’s Church
Rynek Główny 5A history spanning over eight centuries, a high altar by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz), a bugle call, the...
Wawel HillA limestone rock rising above the Vistula in the centre of Kraków, an ancient centre of...
ICE Kraków Congress Centre
ul. Konopnickiej 17A modern venue hosting concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions, congresses, conferences, and...
Rynek Główny 1-3One of the symbols of city, a pearl of renaissance architecture, Kraków’s oldest...
Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory
ul. Lipowa 4Where the tumultuous history of a world war meets everyday life, and private lives – a...
WawelThe cave that the legendary dragon inhabited leads down from Wawel Hill to the bank of the Vistula....