Europäisches Programm Mo.No.Pi /...Jacek Purchla

Heritage and development ­– the experience of Cracow

Is development a form of escape from heritage, in a sense its antithesis? Nowadays certainly not. In Cracow, the final episode of heritage being set in opposition to development, at that time in the form of Stalinist industrialisation, was the building of Nowa Huta. Today, in the quest for a new relationship between heritage and development, which it is now fashionable to label "sustainable development", it is vital to recall the varying balance in this relationship over the last 200 years. For in Cracow it has undergone a telling evolution, without knowledge of which it is hard to understand contemporary issues of preservation of the city's monuments.

An overpotential of heritage

The unique place of cultural heritage became an issue in the expansion of Cracow as early as the first half of the 19 th century. Although formally the city was the capital of the Polish state until the end of the 18 th century, in reality it lost its role as primary royal residence and home to the Sejm to Warsaw back in the first half of the 17 th century. It was also in economic decline, and hit rock bottom at the turn of the 18 th and 19 th centuries, during the first Austrian occupation of 1795–1809. The city's urbanised zone at this time did not extend beyond its medieval centres of Cracow and Wawel, Kazimierz and Stradom, and parts of Kleparz and Garbary.

This protracted crisis meant that Cracow at the turn of the 18 th and 19 th centuries was unaffected by the conflict between urban function and form that was already characteristic of many metropolises. The prolonged "freeze" on expansion reinforced the medieval shape of the city. Disasters, pillage and poverty notwithstanding, Cracow retained more of its Gothic and Renaissance fabric than any other Central European city. But the deep economic crisis and population drain brought marked disurbanisation, symptomised by trends such as demolition, which did not spare monumental buildings, including the Little Scales House on the Square, the Gothic churches of St. Szczepan and St. Maciej on what is now Szczepański Square, and Kleparz Town Hall, and marked the beginning of the razing of the city's medieval walls and towers. Hence at the threshold of the 19 th century, Cracow was regressing rather than developing, suffering from an overpotential of heritage.

The sacralization of heritage

The age of romanticism and the romantic conception of history saw a reinterpretation of the myth of Cracow , the former capital of Poland , as a symbol of the great historical past of a nation stripped of its sovereignty, a holy place for Poles. The solemn funerals of two heroes of the Napoleonic era – Prince Józef Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, in 1817 and 1818 – confirmed Wawel's function as the national Pantheon. Cracow was conceived not only as a history book but also as a "progenitor city", the "Polish Rome", and on occasion even the "Polish Troy".

A salient feature of Cracow 's development in its period as the Free City, then, was the romantic interpretation of its past and the birth of piety in its approach to its heritage. Within a short time Cracow progressed from demolishing its ruined monuments to restoring them, becoming the cradle of Polish conservatorship. Key projects include the restoration of the Barbican, the Florian Gate and Collegium Maius, undertaken by Karol Kremer at the turn of the 1830s and 1840s. A unique instance of creation of nationalist mythology and the sacralization of Cracow was the erection in 1820–1823 of the Kościuszko Mound in Sikornik. It was Wawel, however, that was the prime focus for sacralization in the first half of the 19 th century. This process also included Francesco Maria Lancia's plans, never realised, for the restoration of Wawel Castle , drawn up in 1830–1833. The sacralization of monuments, then, was the first phase of the complex relationship between heritage and development. But placing heritage in the realm of the sacrum naturally detached it from the sphere of economics and development.

The museumification of Cracow

The 19 th century – "the age of steam and electricity" – was also the century of historicism. Allusion to proven values and recourse to the past were significant contributors to the alienation of societies in this age of dynamic economic and technological progress. For Poles it was also a time of struggle for national survival, and ultimately for independence. The restoration of this independence was never doubted. The process of national revival was accompanied not only by an obsession with the bulwarks of Christianity – the antemurale of Latin Europe – but also by the domination of historicism. This harking back to the past, this cult of history, had by the mid-19 th century become a natural line of defence of the Polish identity, and a remedy for the Poles' growing inferiority complex with respect to the west of Europe . The lack of sovereignty entrenched the cult of the glorious past and intensified the quest for a national style in art, thus reinforcing and prolonging the survival of historicism. Cracow became a prime example of this trend in the second half of the 19 th century.

The period of Galician autonomy was essentially a time of conscious exploitation of the heritage of the past in order gradually to pull the city out of the mire. It was a time when Cracow took stock of its entire past, reinterpreted it, and deliberately adapted it to serve its contemporary and future survival. No other city in Central Europe delved so deeply into its past and focused so intensely on it. Stanisław Tomkowicz, an eminent figure in the conservation of Cracow's monuments, wrote at the time:

"If in every other Polish town reminiscences of the past constitute an incidental, supplementary embellishment – in Cracow they are matter of the essence, they play a leading role, constitute the hallmark of the entire town, influence the education, thought and feelings of its inhabitants, influence all who reside here for even a short time and are not inherently handicapped, and create and nurture in people a separate sense: a sense of the past and its legacy. Elsewhere the past is a kind of dead inventory; in Cracow it speaks to us, lives, and quickens life.

Where – with the possible exception of Nuremberg – is there another town whose monuments enjoy such protection, where such effort and cost go into their restoration, maintenance and salvation, where they are so much talked of and with such concern asked after?"1

The victory of the conservative ideology of the Stańczyks and the revival of the Sarmatian culture determined the nature of the city's development in the second half of the 19 th century. The quasi-feudal structure of its society was reinforced. A proto-industrial, fearful mentality triumphed, which was characterised by "attachment to an old system of values, routine, prejudice, and antipathy towards industrial pioneers and new forms of economic activity."2 For the Stańczyks, drawing on the national tradition became a tool legitimating the existing status quo and the defence of old values. Tradition in its various aspects, the "natural habitat" of the conservative, and the conservative "need for history" found their deepest fulfilment here at the foot of Wawel. Stanisław Tarnowski, one of the main ideologists of the Cracow brand of conservatism, wrote: "No nation can have material strength without an awareness of itself, without the spiritual substance and essence that its history shapes."3 The conservatives' recourse to the past implicated cult status for the historical heritage accumulated in Cracow and sent out a challenge to quest for new symbolic substance. This was the basis for the process of the museumification of Cracow pursued deliberately by the Polish aristocracy.

Jan Matejko, Poland 's greatest historical painter, became the symbol of the unique atmosphere of Cracow in the second half of the 19 th century. His work was not only great painting, but perhaps above all great national psychotherapy, a settling of accounts with the past. This was why the phenomenon that was Matejko became so intimately interwoven with the phenomenon that was Cracow of the 1870s and 1880s, a city where time had stood still, a living museum of early Poland . The creation in Cracow of a "history industry" coincided with Matejko's mature period, and his work fitted perfectly with the ethos of Cracow 's latest stage of development in the time of Dietl and Zyblikiewicz.

The present-day image of Cracow 's city centre and its monumental complexes of historic structures was created in the 19 th century as the result of deliberate urban planning and conservatorship. Protection of the assets of 19 th -century heritage is thus synonymous with protection of all Cracow 's historic assets. This characteristic "merger" was effected not only on the aesthetic, idealistic and material planes, but also in the functional sphere. In the 19 th century many existing monuments were adapted to meet new functional needs. An example of a symbol of this reinterpretation of the historical monument is the restoration of the Sukiennice [Cloth Hall] undertaken by Tomasz Pryliński in 1874–1879. This building, marking the central point of the city was assigned the role of both Palais du Commerce and temple of the arts, the home of the collections of the recently established Polish National Museum , and where the vast canvases of Master Jan hung.

Tradition or modernity

The museumification of Cracow , this treatment of Poland 's former capital solely as a focus for a mass national process of dealing with "the nightmares and fears of the past", could not last long. A harbinger of the growing dissonances was the dramatic conflict over the new building of the Municipal Theatre between Matejko in the role of the interrex , and the municipal council. Matejko's death in the autumn of 1893 coincided with the opening of the monumental theatre building. This takes on a symbolic dimension, and 1893 marks a clear caesura in the city's history. The new theatre heralded a new age – capitalist modernity and flair were marching on the city's gates. Tangible symptoms of this included the installation of electricity in the theatre building, more than ten years before the city gained a power station. Hence the conflict between Matejko and the City Council had a wider context. Locating the theatre on the site of the medieval monastery complex of the Order of the Holy Spirit, which was demolished for the purpose, was to Matejko an incomprehensible, iconoclastic decision. The Council's resolution contravened the previous convention of virtually unbounded piety with regard to the past. It was a deliberate violation of the city's medieval structure, which, however, was easier to immortalise on Matejko's canvases than in reality. This conflict was symbolic of the new phase of relations between heritage and development in Cracow at the turn of the 19 th and 20 th centuries.

The model of the city as a closed enclave focused on reinterpreting the past that had been developed by the Stańczyks on the threshold of autonomy was becoming outmoded. The process began of "defrosting the refrigerator" that the "Polish heartland" had become – this protected reserve that shocked visitors from places such as Warsaw . The favourable economic climate of the 1880s brought rapid expansion and modernisation of the city, which continued into the next decade. By 1900 Cracow numbered 100,000 inhabitants, and 150,000 including the residents of the surrounding suburban districts. The social structure of the city was revolutionized. The rapid population increase once again reinforced the liberal bourgeoisie.

In this period the dilemma of "heritage or development" had its roots not only in the natural quest of the modernists to break with tradition, but also in the mounting conflict in Cracow in the early 20 th century between the city's form and function. Its expansion brought greater dynamism to its economic functions, and this directly provoked increasingly insistent attempts at replacing historic substance with new architectural form. The conflict between the "bulldozers" and the "guardians of tradition" came to a head in the interwar period.

Particularly controversial at this time were the first attempts to introduce high-rise construction into the city centre. On each occasion this ignited lively debate and vociferous protests (such as in the case of the erection of the exchange building in the na Gródku area and the KKO [Cracow Savings Bank] "skyscraper" on Szczepański Square). The most violent storm, however, broke out over the building of the Phoenix House on the corner of the Main Square and Św. Jana Street in 1928–1932. The architect, Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz – nota bene the then conservator of Wawel – had dared to propose for Cracow 's Main Square a modern, intentionally avant-garde solid that was intended to correspond to the Vienna Looshaus. It took the personal intervention of the Polish president, Ignacy Mościcki, a friend of Szyszko-Bohusz's, to break through the controversy and protests of conservator circles. There is no doubt that Szyszko-Bohusz created a masterpiece on the Square (unfortunately it is no longer extant in its original form). The Phoenix House, or the Chimneys House, as it was dubbed by Cracovians in view of its stylised attic, was not modern only in terms of its avant-garde form. It was the first building in Cracow whose luxury apartments were fitted with air-conditioning.

The monument – form, function, substance

As the ultimate in centralisation and detachment from the principles of economic accounting, the communist system favoured successes in conservatorship. It permitted large-scale reconstruction work. As such, Poland developed a vast market for preservation work, and built up an army of excellent conservators and massive preservation potential. The rebuilding of Warsaw became a symbol for the success of the political diktat. But this recipe, this method of managing historic cities, brought with it many negative consequences. A look at the Old Town in Warsaw shows clearly that its reconstruction was uncoupled from natural economic mechanisms, and its social fabric was the result of administrative decisions. Obviously, this was connected with the significant broadening of the symbolic functions of historical monuments that ensued after World War II. It is important to remember in this context that in the new reality the historical monument became a key tool in the legitimisation of the new authorities, to an extent that went far beyond economics and with consequences not confined to the economic.

The widening gap between achievements in conservatorship and the increasingly ineffective preservation on the scale of entire urban complexes was a direct consequence of the diseased economics of the system. This disease also gnawed at the fabric of historic cities, which in the 1960s and 1970s were left unprotected from galloping depreciation and dilapidation. In Cracow an attempt was made to prevent this dilapidation, in the form of a restoration programme launched at the end of the 1970s. This programme was conducted via the central budget and within the centralised administration system. Without detracting from the achievements of the restoration programme in preservation terms, it has to be said that once again this was a project conducted in dislocation from both its economic and social contexts. It veered sharply away from what is a key discriminator of the historic city and one element of its value – the natural, spontaneous process of its life and the authenticity of its social and material fabric. Even relatively recently the restoration programme in Cracow was threatening to turn the town into a model of itself. The buildings undergoing expensive preservation work were also being depopulated of their original residents, and in many cases also stripped of their former functions and authenticity. This was particularly paradoxical in Cracow , the only large historic city in Poland to have survived the tragedy of World War II not only physically but also in terms of its society. A measure of this absurdity was the fact that as recently as in the 1980s there were economists at the University of Economics engaged in allocating the relevant service functions to particular shops in the city. Aspects that should be regulated by the free market under the control of the conservator had become matter for pseudo-scientific study. This example illustrates well the impotence in approaches to issues connected with historic cities in the final days of the command and distribution system. It was a road to nowhere, based on a static view of the city and treatment of it as something akin to a protected reserve. This was accompanied by an anachronistic attempt to equate the monument with its form alone, ignoring both its authentic substance and its function.

The city in crisis

The ultimate incapacitation of Cracow at the turn of the 1940s and 1950s also put its subsequent fate entirely at the mercy of this system founded on vulgar centralism and the already anachronistic Stalinist model of industrialisation. The city's development was to be determined by politics and arbitrary economic decisions, not natural economic processes. The symbol of this arbitrariness, and of the equating of urbanisation with industrialisation, was Nowa Huta. The decision taken by the government in February 1949 to build a vast foundry producing 1.5 million tonnes of steel a year on the outskirts of Cracow (some 10 km east of the Main Square), together with a residential district for 100,000, Nowa Huta, the first "socialist town" in Poland, had fundamental bearing on the future of Cracow and its monuments.

Nowa Huta – the "Polish Komsomolsk", "cornerstone of socialism" – was a new chapter in the symbolism of Cracow 's urbanity. It was perceived as another satellite created in opposition to the old capital, in opposition to the symbol of Polish tradition and sovereignty. The construction of Nowa Huta, the product of belated industrialisation – at once became a symbol of the conflict between heritage and a misinterpretation of progress. It involved the deliberate devastation of the cultural landscape and an attempt to efface the traditions and significance of old Cracow , which was treated like a symbol of a receding past.

The isolation and waste of Cracow 's potential was accompanied by an unprecedented ecological catastrophe that reached its apogee in the 1970s and 1980s. This catastrophe was above all the outcome of decision after decision to extend the Lenin Foundry, arbitrarily taken by the party authorities. This industrial expansion was rendering not only Nowa Huta itself, but the whole of Cracow , which was ringed with anonymous high-rise estates, indistinguishable from many other cities in communist Europe . Now a city of more than 700,000, in the 1980s Cracow had quite clearly overspilled its capacity. The foundry, though technologically outdated, had grown into one of the largest plants of its type in Europe . By the end of the 1970s it was producing almost 7 million tones of steel a year and emitting 9% of the entire country's air pollution. Ecological disaster was threatening both humans and monuments. Although the regime initially attempted to cover up the extent of the danger, in the 1980s Cracow became a symbol of the conflict between ideology and the environment. It comes as no surprise to read Francis Fukuyama's observation in The End of History and the Last Man that the real ecological disaster which ensued in the communist countries shows that the system which best protects the environment is neither capitalism nor communism but democracy. Democratic political systems reacted to the rise in ecological awareness in the 1960s and 1970s much faster than dictatorships. For without a political system which allows local communities to protest against the location of a chemical plant producing toxic waste in their neighbourhood; without the freedom to establish organisations to monitor the activities of companies and businesses; without political leaders sensitive enough to ecological issues to be ready to devote substantial funds to environmental protection – without these factors a nation is prone to disasters like Chernobyl, the desiccation of the Aral Sea, or the infant mortality in Cracow four times the already high national average4 .

The monoculture of the iron and steel industry and its domination in the economic life of the city was even in the 1980s moulding Cracow into a stereotypical industrial centre, often dubbed by visitors "polluted and depressing". The most perceptible and most frequently cited threat to the city's monuments was the ecological catastrophe. This virtually levelled the degree of physical threat to medieval structures (painstakingly restored at the end of the 19 th century) with that of buildings often dating back no more than a century. Such physical damage was the lot of 19 th -century architectural sculpture, which was traditionally carved in layers of local sandstone and limestone. Just one example of the scale of the problem was the complete overhaul of the stone detail on the façade of the neo-Gothic Church of St. Joseph in Podgórze.

Yet it was not ecology that was the main cause of the disrepair into which the whole of Cracow 's historic urban layout fell in the latter decades. The root of the problem lay in the legal and economic system.

The invisible enemy of Cracow 's historic complexes in the latter forty years and the reason behind the inexorable depreciation of the city's entire building stock, including its monuments, was the undermining of the economic foundations of the entire urban system. Paradoxically, this was not at all obvious to public opinion, which considered the main threat to Cracow 's monuments to come from the more immediately evident ecological hazard.

Very soon after the war Cracow 's bourgeoisie became one of the opponents of the new authorities. The battle with the Cracow townhouse landlord was a fundamental local element of the officially ordained class struggle. The flames were fanned by moves including administrative decisions limiting ownership rights and the abolition of the housing market. The legal incapacitation of the landlord class, unrecompensed by proportional outlay on municipal services, meant that already by the 1960s the state of the housing stock was deteriorating markedly. This gradually broadened into what could be termed cultural degeneration, which did not spare cultural heritage. This degeneration involved the partial replacement of the social structure of crumbling townhouses, often including the scattering of furnishings that had been gathered in such apartments over generations. The devil also lay in the detail; fixtures and fittings in porches, hallways, stairwells and inside apartments themselves also fell victim to damage. This was not halted by the compulsory renovations carried out by the administration, which were usually accompanied by the "modernisation" of the building, often with the deliberate intent of destroying historical structures and the complexes they formed. The legal incapacitation of the owners of such houses and burdening them with the brunt of the costs of maintaining the housing stock upset the functioning of the previous system of meeting housing needs in Cracow. In the longer term it caused the steady decline of the housing stock, which became critical in the 1970s and 1980s. The destruction of the ground rent mechanism also contributed to the collapse of the previous mechanisms by which the city functioned.

Heritage and transformation

The utopian nature of this approach was rudely laid bare with the breakthrough of 1989, after which the cities of Central Europe found themselves in an entirely new political and economic reality. At the same time, it is important to note that these realities vary depending on the scope and nature of the transformation of the system in the various different countries of the former Soviet bloc. Polish cities since Balcerowicz's reform and the 1990 local government reform are in a different position to historic cities in Ukraine, or cities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. But one thing is fundamental to this new situation and forms the point of departure in the search for new solutions in this issue, the management of historic cities: the reinstatement of their sovereignty. This is a product of both the decentralization of the state and the rebuilding of local government from the bottom up after 1990. Another vital factor has been the liberation of economic mechanisms.

The experience of Cracow , and my own, dating from 1990 and 1991, when I was responsible for city policy in areas including monument protection, is extremely valuable. The "defrosting of the refrigerator" has put life into urban planning processes. Within Poland , Cracow has played a pioneering role in these processes, retaining as it has its prewar ownership structure, which during the communist period was subjected to mandatory state control. Although this impinged considerably on the rights of landlords and deprived them of income (so causing the depreciation of the urban fabric), it did not rob them of their ownership rights. As such, in 1990, when compulsory state control of private property was relinquished, the owners' rights were reinstated. This altered the previous organization and functioning of the historic city, and new legal instruments had to be sought to exercise effective control over the rapid, tumultuous re-emergence of free market mechanisms in the heart of the old city.

This process inspired the need for a hasty departure from the static mode of thinking about the historic city in favour of a dynamic approach to the urban substance in all its complexity. This need became more pressing still with the genesis of huge conflicts engendered by the transformation of the system, including conflicts of interest between social groups in historic cities. These remain visible to this day, in particular on Cracow 's Main Square , which attracts and magnifies the conflicting interests of different lobbies. Each of these groups perceive in the attractiveness of a place like the Square a place for their own interests, which include exploiting the historic heart of the city to promote and advertise their products. The only remedy for this chaos and spontaneity is to change the mode of thinking about the city's economy and about managing the historic city.

Towards sustainable development

And so Central Europe has entered a phase long familiar to monument conservators in Western Europe and on other continents. Decades ago the very dynamic urban expansion in the United States enforced a form of monument preservation system that is termed "the management of change". Management of change offers the wherewithal to control and regulate but not plan the spontaneous processes of urban development, which are often impossible to embrace in planning processes. The cities in our region can be said still to be in the process of transformation. And that is the main message that we can pass on to others. The cities in our geographical and cultural zone have become laboratories for experiments on the living substance of historic cities, not only in terms of preservation doctrines but also with regard to approaches to economic and cultural issues and to questions of city management. The replacement of the command and distribution system with a system founded on the political and economic sovereignty of cities and on economic liberalism offers the opportunity to provide them with effective protection, but at the same time harbours a lot of dangers. Martin Krampen believes that when urban ideologies change, the significance of the urban environment as a whole also changes5. This clear link between the cultural landscape and the social and economic system is particularly visible in the changeover period. The first symptom of it is the appearance in the historic fabric of our cities of aggressive advertisements against which conservators are defenceless. This is not only a sign of the changing ownership relations and the return of the ground rent mechanism, but also evidence of the collapse of previous principles and instruments of protection of our heritage, which were effective in their own way, but within a system founded on economic stagnation and total control. Today they are often unequal to the challenge of confrontation with the changing reality of the life of our cities.

Another issue with a certain significance is the broadening of the chronological field of protection of our cities' fabric to include the architectural heritage of the 19 th and 20 th centuries. This in itself forces us to rethink our heritage protection philosophy. Even in cities with a medieval pedigree and where the structure from that period has survived – such as Cracow – the 19 th -century fabric is in many instances dominant. Berlin , Prague , Budapest and Saint Petersburg can all serve as symbols of the new scale of the issue of heritage protection in our part of Europe , and this new scale is forcing the redefinition of the objectives and scope of that protection and the regeneration of whole vast residential complexes.

The only possible guarantee of success in this process of total protection is to incorporate cultural heritage into the new economic system wisely (and not exclude it from that system). This entails the need to find a harmonious compromise between the canons of preservation and the demands of life and the laws of economics. Comprehensive protection of cultural heritage must also be viewed from the perspective of the creation of what the Germans call a Kulturgesellschaft , and also with an awareness that the culture sector has an economic dimension (something we were taught to ignore in recent decades). Culture is part of the system of connected vessels that is our economic and social life, and as such today effective protection of the historic quarters of large cities is impossible without a suitable economic, management and social policy strategy. Key to this issue is the challenge of integrating appropriate urban functions into what are often depressed historic areas.

Another factor that can help to guarantee effective protection is the creation of the right image for the city. Its attraction often lies in its cultural potential and the extent to which its heritage has been preserved. These are issues which the people responsible for taking both political and economic decisions are still too slow to acknowledge. The historic cities of Central Europe have one more valuable resource that needs to be more closely aligned with and more fully exploited within the global strategy of managing historic cities. This is the sum of the vast potential of the people who have made up their artistic and intellectual elites, many of whom are linked with the state sector, which continues to be based on an anachronistic system of financing. Unfortunately they exploit only a proportion of their potential. The creation of a market for cultural tourism, including big art festivals, should also be part of the broader cultural protection strategy. The first, very positive experience in this respect was the European Cultural Month, a large festival of European art organized in Cracow by the International Cultural Centre in 1992.

There are various types of historic cities, on very differing scales, with very differing characters and ways of functioning. Cracow 's experience is the experience not only of a historic city but also of a city where a unique piety in attitudes to the past continued to develop even in the 20 th century. Yet Cracow 's is a heterogeneous model of functioning. The conflict between form and function remains a fundamental yet controversial issue in the management of the historic city. This is an issue that is present in our discussions, but we draw a clear line between the question of preservation and preservation doctrine in isolation from the laws of economics, and issues of protection, where the engagement of the entire economic mechanism is vital to success.

At the congress of historic cities inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List held in Bergen in June and July 1995, we formulated nine canons for structural change in the approach to protection of historic cities:

  1. Cities need to be addressed from the perspective of their whole historical process as the sum of their civilisation.
  2. Cities should be treated as dynamic, complex, multifaceted structures.
  3. The same principles of protection and preservation must be applied to all the historical buildings in the urban complex. There are no better or worse historical monuments.
  4. The issue of the authenticity of a monument is decisive.
  5. The basis for the effective protection of a historic monument is the right function.
  6. Old town districts are an integral part of the urban fabric. They must not be museumified or allowed to become "culture reserves".
  7. Tourism should not be the dominant aspect of a city's economy. The domination of tourism leads to excess and has many negative effects, even including the destruction of historical monuments.
  8. Contemporary architects need to be especially trained to employ modern design in historical interiors.
  9. The structural change underway in our historic cities should be based on constantly seeking balance, harmony and compromise between the economic reality and the principles of an integrated approach to heritage preservation.

Heritage planning

The complexity of the issue of protection of historic cities in the conditions of a market economy and ongoing globalisation is forcing a rapid move away from directed preservation and protection towards systemic heritage planning. The rate of transformation that Cracow is experiencing today is conducive to the fastest possible implementation of an active model of management of its accumulated heritage.

Heritage or development? This conflict remains the fundamental dilemma facing Cracow . Yet we need to realise that it is only an apparent dilemma. After all, it is the heritage gathered on and around Wawel Hill that is one of the major differentiators of the city's identity and its significance on the map of Europe . This being the case, the disagreements that continue to break out in Cracow between the "bulldozers" and the "guardians of heritage" should lead to the search for a wise compromise in order to ensure effective protection of Cracow's heritage in conditions of rapid and inevitable civilisational change. But this requires an active philosophy for protection, which must become an integral part of its new development strategy. Let us reiterate: heritage must be treated not only as sacrum , but also as a marketable good, and as such comes within the sphere of operation of economic laws, which need not be concealed as something shameful. For it is in conditions of advancing globalisation that heritage becomes an increasingly attractive resource and factor in development.


  1. Czas , 1905, no. 293.
  2. J. Purchla, Matecznik Polski , Kraków 1992, p. 35
  3. S. Tarnowski, Z doświadczeń i rozmyślań , Kraków 1891, p. 303.
  4. F . Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man , Penguin Books 1992.
  5. M . Krampen, Meaning in the Urban Environment , London 1979, p. 69


[Translated by Jessica Taylor-Kucia]

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