The region’s culture and history

The area has a centuries’ long tradition and offers diverse leisure opportunities. When visiting Near Kraków communities, you should not miss localities being the seats of local authorities (municipalities), and why don’t you hunt for the treasures of history, culture ad nature in smaller localities as well.
When in Czernichów don’t miss the Practical School of Rural Management which was set up in 1860 by the Kraków Economic and Agricultural Society (currently: the Continuing Learning Agricultural School Complex), where farmers are still educated. The school is housed in the former manorial complex (which consisted of a manor house, a granary, auxiliary buildings, an old power plant, a teacher’s house and residential buildings), dating from the mid-19th century and surrounded by a botanical garden and a historical park. Czernichów is also the cradle of the rural cooperative movement. Here, in 1890, professor Franciszek Stefczyk founded the first Cooperative Saving and Loan Fund in Galicia. The village of Kamień founded in 1319 and situated in the vicinity of Czernichów is also noteworthy. In the 15th century it was a property of the Lateran Canons who still have their seat there. One should also know that Paleolithic flint quarries and traces of settlement from nearly eleven thousand years ago have been found in the Wołowice area. The village of Rybna once had the privilege to supply fish to the royal table. The entire area is known for its wickerwork. Wandering around the Czernichów Municipality, a walk along the Bird-Watching Trail is a must. Over 130 bird species find their shelters in the area.
Up to the end of the 12th century, the royal guard was stationed at Mogilany. It was the so-called magnate property. It belonged to many successive owners, among whom the Sandomierz Voivode Wawrzyniec Spytko Jordan and the Konopka family are worth mentioning. In 1560 Spytko built a wooden palace here, underpinned with masonry, and surrounded it with a fine garden and a viewing park. Their relics, including the Hornbeam Avenue can still be admired, although in the 17th century the older palace was replaced by a new, brick structure, and later several times remodeled. The Konopka family ruled the Mogilany estate from 1802 until the outbreak of the Second World War. The family members became known for promoting modern farming methods, e.g. through the manufacture of farming machines. After the Second World War, the Mogilany estate was parcelled out , and in 1967 the manor was transferred to the Polish Academy of Science. Currently the manor houses a conference centre. When in the centre of Mogilany, take a note of the church built by Mikołaj Borek in the 17th century, and later twice remodelled. The church has a late-Baroque heart-shaped altar, a unique such work of art in Europe.
Skawina’s rich history is connected with the Tyniec Abbey and the royal city of Kraków. In the 11th century the land of Skawina and the surrounding area became the property of the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec. In the 13th century a salt trading route from Bochnia and Wieliczka to Silesia already ran through the town. Thanks to its strategic location in the vicinity of Kraków, the border town of Skawina was granted its charter from King Casimir the Great on the 22th of May 1364. The town flourished until the 16th century, but was significantly destroyed during the Swedish invasion (Swedish Deluge) and the Bar Confederation, which adversely affected its future history and closed the period of prosperity. The present, industrial period of Skawina began in the late 19th century with the construction of a railway line which connected Kraków with Oświęcim. Other strong development stimuli were: the communist authorities’ decision to build a power plant and an aluminium smelter on the outskirts of the town, in line with the development of housing and transport infrastructure. The Town Hall, the Municipal Park with the Sokół Palace, the Churches of Sts Apostles Simon and Judah Thaddeus and of the Presentation of the Holy Virgin Mary are worth seeing in Skawina. The Regional Museum in Skawina has a rich collection of artefacts connected with the region’s history and culture and offers a wide array of educational activities. Many interesting objects of cultural heritage can be found in localities within the Skawina Municiaplity area. Historic churches on the Wooden Architecture Trail can be seen in Wola Radziszowska and Krzęcin. Both localities also have their regional history chambers, where exhibits documenting rural life several dozen years ago are on display. In Jurczyce there is the Memorial Chamber of the Haller Family and Haller Soldiers. Manor houses which once belonged to the Haller family can be visited in Jurczyce and in Polanka Hallera; in Radziszów, the newly renovated Dzieduszycki family manor is a pleasure for the eyes. The Prehistoric Lusatian Settlement which operates under the auspices of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków is worth a visit when in Wola Radziszowska. It is a reconstruction of a Bronze Age Lusatian village some 3,000 years ago, created as a result of a few years of experimental archaeology work.
Świątniki Górne is one of the oldest localities in Southern Małopolska. Its history has been marked with metalworking craft for at least seven centuries. In the 11th century, after the Kraków Bishopric was established in the year 1000, residents of the village then called Górki obtained the privilege to serve at Wawel Cathedral, and the honourable name of Wawel “świątniki”. Their duty was to serve at the Cathedral service, to guard the royal treasury, and since 1521 also to ring the Sigismund bell. They also made or repaired metal elements needed for the Cathedral security, which initiated a tradition passed down from one generation to another. Residents of Świątniki became known for the manufacture of solid padlocks, intricate locks, fine hussar suits of armour, and cold steel. The evidence of this history may be seen at the Marcin Mikuła Locksmithery Museum housed in the former Imperial-Royal Locksmithery School built in the style of Galician architecture. Residents of Świątniki showed special devotion for St Stanislaus of Szczepanów and St Queen Jadwiga. It is believed that the queen granted several privileges and rights to the village. At the turn of the 16th/17th centuries, at the initiative of Wawel świątniki – the guards of St Stanisalus’ grave – a chapel was founded in honour of the village’s patron saint. In 1858, St Stanislaus’ Church was consecrated. Its furnishings are worth seeing, in particular two Baroque-style altars transferred from Wawel Cathedral.
Churches, manor houses, rather scarce wooden huts, as well as roadside crosses and shrines, add to the beauty of the local landscape and historical heritage, as witnesses to passing time.
Periodical events regularly held in local communities and attracting increasing numbers of participants are not to be missed. They include such events as the International Skawina Run held in May, or the Polish Kayak Rally on the Vistula from Czernichów to Kraków, which takes place in September.
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