Young Explorer’s Trail
Means of transport
Let’s go for a walk around the hidden corners of Kazimierz, Podgórze and Zabłocie districts! We will learn how to use the laws of physics to create something incredible, find out the link between trams and horses, and discover what happens to theatre sets and props at the end of performances.
We start our exploration at the Museum of Municipal Engineering where we follow the history of public transport in Kraków, from the first horse-drawn trams (The first horse-drawn tram was launched in Kraków in 1882 – over 130 years ago!) to the introduction of municipal buses. The museum is located in Kraków’s oldest depot of horse-drawn and electric trams. The beautiful hall displays numerous historical tram carriages, all of which are operational and serve the Kraków Museum Line on Sundays during the summer. Make sure you also take a look around temporary exhibitions to find out if you have the knack to be a scientist and constructor, or learn the difference between incandescent lightbulbs and LEDs.
After visiting the museum, we cross the river on the Father Bernatek Footbridge to see sculptures by Jerzy Kędziora which seem to defy the laws of physics by floating in the air.
A short stroll along the Vistula takes us to Cricoteka located at the former power station. The museum presents the most important ideas of Tadeusz Kantor’s work – the artist used everyday objects such as suitcases, chairs and shoes and made them into artworks. One of his creations was millionaire’s shoes! There are also fascinating materials for visitors with children to help young guests learn about the legendary reformer of Polish theatre. The café on the top floor provides stunning views over the city.
On our way to Zabłocie, we go via the Bohaterów Getta Square – the central point of the Kraków Jewish ghetto during the Second World War. The only pharmacy in this part of the city was at No. 18, run by Tadeusz Pankiewicz. He risked his own life to help people trapped in the ghetto. To commemorate the tragic events of the Second World War, seventy chair sculptures have been arranged in the square as a memorial. Its creators based their design on Pankiewicz’s memoir, recalling the objects – including chairs – strewn around the square after the liquidation of the ghetto in 1943.
Next, our exploration takes us to the Lipowa 3 Glass and Ceramics Centre. Once a glassworks factory, today it presents the fascinating methods of making glass – you can even try your hand at the process yourself! Demonstrations of glass blowing are held between Monday and Saturday throughout the year with a short break during winter. Don’t miss the permanent exhibition Glassmaking in Kraków. Industry and the Arts. 1931-1998. More details at lipowa3.pl.
The last part of the walk starts at the recently opened Podgórze Museum. The museum reveals the district’s history from legendary times to the present day and introduces people who have made important contributions to Podgórze’s cultural heritage and shaped its current identity. One of those people is Mister Twardowski!
The permanent exhibition In the Shadow of Krak's Mound tells the story of Podgórze, its mythology and spectacular industrial success. Next, we head to the nearby Krzemionki. The beautiful limestone hills to the south of Kraków are unspoiled by civilisation and filled with secrets. According to one version of the legend, it was where Mister Twardowski had his infamous workshop…
You can see stunning views of the Moon (and Kraków, of course!) from the Krakus Mound. It is the oldest construction in the city and, according to legend, the burial site of the legendary founder of Kraków. During pre-Christian times, the location was most likely the site of Slavic rites for the dead, celebrated in spring with bonfires and swordsmanship contests, with people throwing food and money to the poor. Some of the pagan rituals survive until today as part of the Rękawka* festival held every year on the Tuesday after Easter. The name of the Rękawka festival is thought to originate from the Czech “rakev” (coffin) or Serbian “raka” (tomb), which suggests that the mound was once a place of ancestor worship or a burial site. Legend has it that Krakus’s subjects built the mound with soil they brought with their own bare hands.
Rising high over the Podgórze landscape, the limestone Krzemionki Hills reach the height of 270 metres above sea level. Although they are bisected by a major road, the two parts are linked by a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. The picturesque Krakus Mound lies on one side, offering stunning views over Wawel Hill, with the Church and Fort of St Benedict set in beautiful, unspoilt meadows on the other. Look out for a mural near the fort depicting important historical figures from Kraków’s past, painted in 2007.