The city’s young urbanites are looking for places that reflect their generation’s interests, talents, aesthetics and values, and Tytano - essentially a miniature city within the urban landscape, designed and curated by their peers - does that much better than Gothic churches and Renaissance palaces, royal feasting restaurants and nostalgic prewar cafes, leftover communist-era canteens or the sloppy cellar bars they patronised as students. In a city dominated by historical monuments and tourists, it can be hard to find space for urban creativity and expression, but Tytano has provided one.
Of course a case could be made that Tytano itself is a historical monument. Originally called ‘Kaiserliche Koenigliche Tabakfabrik’ (‘CK Rządowa Fabryka Tytoniu’ in Polish), the cigarette manufacturing complex dates back to 1876 - a time when Kraków was under the rule of Franz Josef I as part of Austro-Hungarian Galicia. It remained in operation for over 125 years, surviving two world wars, the communist era and the transition to democracy. For several years at the turn of the 20th century it was the largest factory in Kraków, employing over 1000 workers, 90% of whom were women. A property of American tobacco giant Philip Morris producing Gwarant cigarettes, Marlboros, cigars and chewing tobacco at the time of its closure in 2002, the manufacturing space was sold to a Spanish company - Immobiliaria Camins - who came close to turning it into a giant hotel and apartment complex worth 150 million złoty before the plans fell through. Today it represents the largest uniformly designed industrial complex remaining in the city centre.