Nowa Huta
The Essential
This new town, whose name means New Steelworks, is a real showcase of socialist realist architecture. Stalin ordered its creation, in a political decision aimed at symbolically punishing a city deemed too intellectual and conservative and perceived as a cradle of anti-Communism. Initiated in 1949 outside of Krakow, Nowa Huta was to serve as an urban Communist model, dedicated to the workers and focused on its enormous steelworks. Its existence meant that Krakow's historical centre was left untouched by the whims of socialist realist architecture. The square, Plac Centralny, desolately empty since its statue of Lenin was removed in 1989, gives onto wide streets flanked by long, dreary, grey residential units.