From Kraków to Warsaw

Kraków - Former Capital City

Kraków – Former Capital City

Exactly 420 years has passed since the capital of Poland was moved from Kraków to Warsaw. In March 1596, the Polish king (of Swedish origin) Sigismund III Vasa moved his entire court to the region of Mazovia (Polish: Mazowsze), which in the late 16th century was already a centre of strategic importance and a rapidly developing area within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The decision to move the Polish capital was probably not only driven by the fact that the assembly of the Polish parliament (Polish: Sejm) was held that year in Warsaw, but also because of a fire that devastated Wawel Castle in Kraków. What is more, Warsaw is situated much closer to Sweden, the homeland of King Sigismund, who planned to retake the Swedish crown. “The year 1596 may well be considered the date of moving the capital of Poland from Kraków to Warsaw, but it in fact was a very long process, which lasted until 1609,” said Krzysztof Zwierz, of the Warsaw Research department of the Museum of Warsaw. “The king was simply going to participate in the Sejm and the fact that he remained with his court in Warsaw was due to certain political reason that took place at the time. Furthermore, the future capital of Poland was considered a thriving large city with more opportunities and well-developed trade routes,” he adds. Regardless of the potential that Warsaw had back then, it was Kraków that remained the official capital and the venue for the coronations of the majority of Poland’s kings, however, Warsaw gradually began to take over these diplomatic and political functions.
wp.pl

Opportunities on Real Estate Market

Capital Boom

Capital Boom

According to a report prepared by real estate agents Szybko.pl, Metrohouse and Expander, prices on the secondary real estate market in June in the 15 largest Polish cities dropped by 1.6% YOY. Compared to May, they grew by 0.1%. It is predicated that Poles can expect a boom on this market in the coming months. Marta Kosińska, a Szybko.pl real estate market expert, believes that it will be caused the typical increased activity of realty buyers and renters during the autumn, as well as changes in regulations and more MdMs (Apartments for Young Adults). In almost all cities in which markets have been analysed (except Wrocław), average transaction prices dropped slightly when compared to the previous month’s prices. The most significant fall in prices has been observed in Gdynia and Gdańsk. The most noticeable difference between offered prices and transaction prices was observed in Krakow (a difference of 8%), whereas in Warsaw, offered prices are 2% higher than the prices at which the properties are eventually bought.
finanse.wp.pl

Tadeusz Kantor Centenary

Tadeusz Kantor

Tadeusz Kantor

6 April 2015 marked the centenary of Tadeusz Kantor’s birth. As part of the anniversary celebrations, a seven-metre installation entitled “A Chair for Tadeusz Kantor. Homage on his 100th Birthday” opened at Plac Defilad in front of Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw. More events in Poland and abroad, especially in France and Italy, will follow throughout 2015, which was declared the Year of Tadeusz Kantor by UNESCO. Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990) was a painter, stage designer, visual artist, theatre director, poet, actor, performer, art theorist, and lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He also designed some of the first happenings in Poland. Kantor established the avant-garde Cricot 2 Theatre in Kraków, where he staged his own plays with autobiographical themes. He often played prominent parts in his plays or appeared on stage as a master of ceremonies. Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor initially opened under the name of Cricot 2 Theatre Centre in 1980. Originally it served as an archive and a meeting place for artists involved with the theatre. Now, relocated to a new building and renamed, it documents and presents Kantor’s artistic legacy. The centre has prepared two exhibitions for the centenary celebrations; both include multimedia presentations with fragments of the artist’s most celebrated performances. Kantor’s best known plays are “The Dead Class”, “Wielopole, Wielopole”, “Let the Artists Die”, “I Shall Never Return” and “Today Is My Birthday”. Cricot 2 Theatre has travelled all over the world with guest performances. The recurring themes of death, transience and the ravages of time resonate with audiences, as do the compelling performances of Cricot 2. Chairs were among Kantor’s favourite objects, frequently used as theatre props, key elements of stage sets and centrepieces of his outdoor installations. In this last function Kantor’s chairs were typically outsized, just like the one in Warsaw commemorating the artist.
wyborcza.pl

Get Newzar here

Symphonic Spring in Poland

Beethoven Easter Festival

Beethoven Easter Festival

The 19th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival offers a treat for symphonic music lovers in Poland. It is one of the country’s major classical music events, and has been organised annually in the period before Easter for almost two decades now. This spring it takes place from 22 March to 3 April and is likely to draw large audiences. Recognised Polish and foreign orchestras, soloists and conductors are the star attractions of the event. The motto of this year’s festival is “Beethoven – his successors and continuators: Brahms and Mahler”. Although the work of the three composers will feature prominently in the programme, music by Dvořák, Schubert, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Brahms and others will also be played. There are two operatic accents in the event also: the long-awaited Polish premiere of Benjamin Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” and a concert featuring Ewa Vesin, a soprano, based on the arias and duets selected from the operas of Pietro Mascagni. A few days before the inauguration concert, the festival began with the opening of an exhibition of musical score manuscripts at the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków and accompanying musical events outside the official festival programme. The manuscripts include scores by Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Mendelssohn. These valuable and closely guarded documents are rarely shown to the general public. This time they will remain on display in Kraków until 3 April.
Polskie Radio Dwójka

Subscribe to Newzar

Poland Has Most Polluted Air

Kraków Smog

Kraków Smog

According to a Supreme Chamber of Control (NIK) report, Poland is not tackling its smog problem. NIK criticises local and national authorities for not improving air quality. NIK auditors noted no changes in air quality over the last five years in Lesser Poland (Małopolska), Silesia (Śląsk), Mazovia (Mazowsze), Pomerania (Pomorze) and the Opole region (Opolszczyzna). “On the list of the ten the most polluted cities in the EU, six are Polish,” says Krzysztof Kwitakowski, head of NIK. The most polluted are the cities of Kraków and Nowy Sącz. Smog hangs over these cities for 150 days a year. It is not much better in Gliwice, Zabrze, Sosnowiec and Katowice where dust particle levels are exceeded for over 120 days a year. “It has been calculated that every year in Poland 45,000 people die because of air pollution,” according to the head of NIK. The Supreme Chamber of Control pointed out that the ten most polluted cities in Poland spent over PLN 3.5 billion allegedly on air quality improvement. However, most of the money was rerouted and spent on the construction of new roads, tram lines or new car parks. “85% of the funds have been allotted for investment on infrastructure. We could well say that the limitation of emissions was not a key factor of these investments,” noted Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. NIK auditors also pointed out a lack of a national programme for air protection. There are no quality norms for coal burning and furnaces. NIK warns that Poland may even have to pay a PLN 4 billion fine for not staying in line with air quality standards. However, the Ministry of the Environment assures the public that the situation is getting better. The head of the Ministry Maciej Grabowski says that the fine is not the main problem and that he disagrees with the proposition that Poland may receive a fine. What is important for him is to make Polish people aware of the consequences of heating with poor quality fuels and even with rubbish. Minister Grabowski adds that the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management heads special programmes to reduce air pollution. In his opinion industrial emissions are not as problematical as that from cars and homes. He promises to fight these sources of pollution. According to the OECD, over 3.5 billion people in the world die every year from air pollution.
wp.pl

Click here to get Newzar by email

Toxic Poland

Over the Limit

Over the Limit

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), the health costs of air pollution in Europe ranged from €329 billion to over €1 trillion during the period 2008-2012. The costs in Poland amounted to €45-135 billion. Only Germany sustained greater losses, but its economy is seven times larger than Poland. EEA experts examined over 14,000 industrial plants operating in the EU, Switzerland and Norway. They calculated the monetary value of emissions of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, thus measuring the health costs we incur as a result of breathing in polluted air, eating food from contaminated crops or farms, and living in an increasingly warmer climate. Industrial pollutants monitored by the EEA included nitric oxide, ammonia, sulphur dioxide, heavy metals and organic compounds. Particles 2.5-10 microns in diameter, known as particulate matter, are the most widespread and noxious pollutants and were also monitored by the EEA. They penetrate the respiratory and circulatory system, triggering breathing problems and diseases. In turn nitric oxide, in addition to its pernicious effects on the respiratory system, causes the formation of secondary solid particles and ozone in the air and also produces acidic water and soil. Sulphur dioxide forms when fuels containing sulphur, mainly coal, are burnt. When it reacts with water in the air it produces acid rain and its high concentration in the air leads to inflammatory conditions of the respiratory system. Emissions of heavy metals, which include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and nickel, accumulate in the body and are particularly toxic for the nervous system. Organic compounds like benzene, dioxins and furan are carcinogenic. The EEA identified the power plants in Bełchatów, Turów, Kozienice, Rybnik and Pątnów and the Orlen refinery in Płock to be among the most deleterious. Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania fare worst in terms of the ratio of industrial pollution health costs to GDP. As follows from the EEA data, Polish and Bulgarian cities rank among the most polluted in the European Union. Smog over Kraków and its surroundings can be seen with the naked eye and European air pollution limits, which are less strict than those of the World Health Organization, are regularly exceeded in that city.
wyborcza.pl

Get Newzar directly by email

Kraków Beats Paris, Vienna, Venice

Kraków Rules

Kraków Rules

The former capital of Poland, Kraków, has come top of a league table for most interesting and tourist-friendly city in Europe, presented in British “Which?” magazine. 4,500 people took part in the study. Other top cities include Munich, Prague, Berlin and Budapest. The study looked at 47 cities that can be reached from Great Britain in no more than three hours. Warsaw, on the other hand, came 37th, beating Naples and Milan which were last on the list. Respondents judged, among others, housing, cultural attractions, convenience of public transport and value for money. What appealed to tourists most in the case of Kraków were its competitive prices (£55 for a hotel room, less than a pound for transfer from the airport to the city centre) and food. The former Polish capital scored top mark – five stars – in.this category and the foods most often mentioned were goulash, bigos and… vodka. Kraków was also given five stars for its friendly attitude to foreigners, and four stars for accommodation and tourist attractions.
wyborcza.pl

Click here to get Newzar for free