Nowa Huta is situated in the east of Krakow and is the most modern and populated area of the city. It was originally built in 1949 as a satellite district to Krakow and used as part of the Communist propaganda to attract peasants and farm workers closer to the city. It ultimately became a cog of industry and because of its money-making potential formed part of the municipality of Krakow two years later.
The area however is the most historic part of Krakow. Archaeological evidence shows the first Slavic settlers lived here as far back as the 8th century and built the “Wanda Mound,” which according to legend is the burial ground of Wanda, the daughter of Krak who is the mythological founder of the city. Today it is a tourist attraction.
The modern day Nowa Huta is very much a representation of Communist industry and its ideal for a new social order. As such the architecture embodies Soviet power and determination, but towards the end of the 1950´s a modernist style of architecture influenced by Sweden was encouraged to make homes more appealing. New apartment blocks were built with the latest European styles and were followed in the 1970´s and 80´s by post-modernist styles to give it a chic appearance and attract middle-classes to the area to live alongside factory workers.
Since the collapse of communism, many of the factories were torn down including the gargantuan Lenin Steel Factory, although Nowa Huta still portrays tributes erected as showpieces for Stalin. Though there is still a sense of political injustice here, the area continues to develop the latest styles of modern architecture and together with the quaint urban parks, stylish restaurants and trendy bars, Nowa Huta is finally attracting people of all classes.