Restoration and maintenance of historic monuments
THE OLDEST BOOKSTORE IN EUROPE
Shortly after Kraków was inscribed on the World Heritage list, on 18 December 1978, the Social Committee for the Restoration of Kraków Monuments (SKOZK) was established, whose activities focused on the restoration of monuments from the World Heritage area and consisted in their being financed by other Polish cities or industrial enterprises. On the 18th of April, 1985, the Sejm also adopted an act on the establishment of the National Fund for the Restoration of Kraków Monuments (NFRZK), financed by the state budget. The SKOZK became the administrator of this Fund, which today gathers eminent authorities of the Kraków milieu, specialists in the protection and conservation of historical monuments and representatives of the Kraków authorities.
Since the Fund’s establishment, the renovation of monuments in the historic city centre has been carried out systematically and comprehensively within individual building quarters. In recent years, the Fund has had around PLN 30 million (approx. €6 million) at its disposal annually to finance the restoration of the most valuable monuments owned by the State Treasury, the Municipality of Krakow, churches and religious associations and private owners (around 100 projects subsidised at a rate of 45%).
The Social Committee for the Restoration of Kraków’s Historical Monuments and its associated fund were established at a time when the historic centre of Kraków was still a heavily neglected area, subject to the years of deliberate policy of the communist authorities and a poor economic situation in the realities of a centrally planned economy. At the time, however, the system established by the fund was a pioneering tool for the systemic management of an area with a significant number of historic monuments of key importance to the identity of Polish culture, and at the same time an important site of European cultural heritage.
Times have changed, however, many of Krakow’s valuable monuments representing different historical periods in Poland and Europe are still waiting to be restored. Nevertheless, at the same time, the mechanism of social co-management of heritage through SKOZK provides a model that may be implemented in other locations in the country distinguished by valuable ensembles of historic buildings.
MUNICIPAL SUBSIDIES FOR CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION WORKS
Kraków’s monuments also receive regular financial support from the budget of the Municipality of Kraków.
Since 2006, the Municipality of Krakow has been subsidising conservation, restoration and construction works carried out on monuments entered in the register of monuments, and from 2019 onwards also those concerning buildings included in the municipal register of monuments. The main purpose of the subsidies granted by the Municipality is to support the activities of monument owners to ensure proper conservation of Kraków’s historic buildings.
In the period of more than 15 years since the programme was launched, the city has allocated almost PLN 50 million for conservation work. As a result, several hundred historic buildings have been renovated, including such unique buildings as Wit Stwosz’s Altar, the Tyniec Abbey and the Monastery of the Pauline Fathers on Skałka. However, the subsidies mainly benefit Kraków’s tenement houses, which, thanks to the Municipality’s support, are being restored to their former splendour.
The effects of many of these projects can be found in the special Kraków Heritage series available on the city’s official website.
The excerpt on SKOZK and NFRZK uses the text by Halina Rojkowska-Tasak entitled Management in the World Heritage Sites.