Central Square & Roses Avenue [Plac Centralny & Aleja Róż]

The centre of Nowa Huta’s architectural layout, Plac Centralny is the district’s primary landmark and one of social realism's highest architectural achievements, despite never being completed. The two main structures of the square were to be the towering Town Hall (resembling a mini PKiN) at the northern end and a colonnaded theatre at the southern end, with an obelisk in between; though the designs were in place, none saw development. Similarly, the grand promenade linking them - Roses Avenue (Aleja Róż) - was never fully realised, and terminates after a mere four blocks, making it a fine example of your typical Stalinist ‘road to nowhere.’

While tooling around the six-story arcaded buildings lining the way, you’ll find several curiosities. First and foremost, don't miss the gorgeously restored 'Markiza' neon sign at the corner of os. Centrum A and al. Jana Pawła II (O-4). Though the cake shop it advertised is long gone, the sign stanmds out as the area's most nostalgic memento from the PRL era. Perhaps the most timeless shop in Nowa Huta is Cepelix (os. Centrum B bl.1, O-3; open 10:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-13:00. Closed Sun). Specialising in Polish folk art and design, this amazing gift shop is like none other thanks to the original 50s interior of stylised furnishings, metal chandeliers and a coffer ceiling with colourful hand-painted ceramic plates. The character of this place hasn’t changed a bit and as such it’s a great place to buy sheepskins, lacework, famous Bolesławiec pottery, and even Nowa Huta souvenirs. Across the street is a typical milk bar (bar mleczny), one of the Soviet era worker cafeterias which still thrive in the district. If you think that can't be topped, take a trip to the other end of the block to see the hideously outdated interiors of the famous Stylowa Restaurant - one of the only places to eat in NH that isn’t a milk bar. Once one of the most exclusive restaurants in town, this place carries on in the same spirit as the day it opened with an interior that hasn't changed in well over 30 years. Stop in Saturday evening to witness pensioned locals strutting their stuff on the dancefloor to live disco polo sets by a crooning husband and wife team, and we guarantee you won’t be able to leave before dancing with at least two grannies and having at least three unwanted conversations. A rare cultural experience, few places like Stylowa still exist anywhere.

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Central Square & Roses Avenue Comments

  • We went to Nowa Huta on a Sunday when everything seemed to be closed apart from a small supermarket and an unfriendly cafe with an alcoholic customer. What was remarkable was the stolid people with unsmiling faces, our smiles were not returned and we felt we were looked on with suspicion. There was a nice lake where families appeared to be enjoying a nice sunny aternoon.
  • Aleja Róż: the ideal socialist skate park

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