Urząd Miasta Krakowa
Wydział Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
ul. Wielopole 17A , 31–072 Kraków
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The place of World Heritage in urban strategies

by Halina Rojkowska-Tasak
The place of World Heritage in urban strategies The place of World Heritage in urban strategies
Managing Krakow’s historic centre is a strategic challenge for a city that places its heritage at the heart of its identity. What does this look like in practice?

Since the political transformation and the rise of the municipal self-government in 1990, the policy of managing the cultural heritage of Krakow has changed. Greater opportunities for the implementation of protection, conservation and revitalisation programmes for the historic districts and individual buildings have emerged. The programmes are included in the City Development Strategy, the Culture Development Strategy, the Tourism Development Strategy and the sustainable development of the city, emphasising its cultural distinctiveness. The area of the world heritage was also covered by the Local Revitalisation Programme of the Old Town which was adopted by the Krakow City Council in 2008 as one of the most important areas within the Municipal Revitalisation Programme. The purpose of these programmes is to improve the quality of life of the residents.

The most important document introducing the principles of the protection and management of the heritage is the ‘Old Town’ local land development plan that was adopted by the Krakow City Council in 2010. It includes the chartered town surrounded by Krakow Planty and Wawel Hill.

The basic plan is to protect the city’s skyline by banning the use of architectural dominants. The existing urban layout with the residential, sacral and public buildings is protected, along with the scenic axes from individual areas of the Old Town, especially the views of the Main Square, Royal Route, Wawel Hill and the significant historical buildings.

An archaeological conservation area was established throughout the area in which settlement dates back to the early Middle Ages. In order to inhibit the depopulation of the historic centre, the residential and service buildings were limited to the first two storeys and basements. Much emphasis is placed on the protection of public spaces.  Parking lots, among others, were removed from the main squares of the city and parking spaces were reduced.

The 21st century has witnessed even greater attention to the aesthetics of public space than before. In 2003, cultural parks became a new form of monument protection in Poland, providing local authorities with effective tools for protecting the historic cultural landscape, regulating outdoor advertising and street trading. In the second decade of the present century, Kraków has become a pioneer in implementing the idea of cultural parks.

Text: Halina Rojkowska-Tasak

Editors: Kraków Heritage Team


No, this is not all there is to say about Krakow. Heritage is an open-ended collection – it’s up to us to fill it with meaning!

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