Plac Centralny

  Nowa Huta         more than a year ago
The centre of Nowa Huta’s architectural layout, Plac Centralny is the district’s primary landmark and one of socialist 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. Though the cake shop it advertised is long gone, the sign stands out as the area's most nostalgic memento from the PRL era. Perhaps the most timeless shop in Nowa Huta is Cepelix. Specialising in Polish folk art and design, this amazing gift shop is like none other thanks to the original 50s interior featuring long chandeliers and a white coffer ceiling covered in 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. Nearby 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 If you think that can't be topped, only a few doors down Aleja Róż behold, if you dare, the hideously outdated interiors of the famous Stylowa Restaurant - one of the only places to eat in NH that isn’t a milk bar; once one of the most exclusive restaurants in town,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 has hardly changed over the years. In between these two throwbacks, however, you'll find Good Lood - Kraków's best ice cream parlour; in fact, there are two Good Lood locations directly across from each other on Aleja Róż, adding some much needed colour, modernity and excitement to the neighbourhood. Open even in winter, this is a requisite stop and well-earned reward for trekking around Nowa Huta.


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Mollie Walker

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.
Two Ladles McGravy

Aleja Róż: the ideal socialist skate park
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