Cracow is awarded EUROPEAN city of the TREES 2013
duration of one year, Cracow will hold the title “European City of Trees”. The
city won an annual award presented to a European city that actively promotes
trees in the urban environment, through its policy, management and civil
participation. The prize is an initiative of the European Arboricultural
Council (EAC), the European branch organisation for arboreal specialists in 21
On 21 June, the “European City of Trees Award” will be
presented to Lukasz Pawlik, councilman for Cracows greenoffice. This also marks
the start of EACs annual general meeting.
Pope John Paul II
seems still to be alive when coming to Krakow. Actually
he is looking out of his see, watching the hustle and bustle on the small
square in front of friar basilicas entry. In the middle of this holiness a ca.
100 years old Ginkgo is growing as a symbol of balance in a fast moving world.
No other city was affected by political, religious, and economic changes
through the last centuries than Krakow was. This might be the reason why trees
and green areas become so important for this city.
Ginkgo was entitled “Natural Monument” due to its age, to its
history and finally to dignify bishop Karol Wojtyla, who passed this tree on
his daily way to work. Of course Cracows treescape consists of much more than
of one single holy tree but a visitor will regognize the city as a very green
city on first glance. Planty is one of the largest city parks in Cracow. It
encircles the old town where the old city wall used to stand until the early
19th century. A visitor guide describes the scenery: “The park forms a scenic
In summer, sprinkled with ponds and refreshment stalls, it
is a cool and shady retreat from the nearby bustling streets.” Huge trees,
worth seeing planes and beeches amongst, and old lime avenues will follow the
ca. 4km pathway around the old town starting at the Wawel Castle.
Planty might be an
awe-inspiring park area but not the only green space
within Cracow. There are 40 more urban parks in the city covering more than 400
hectare. Other highlights might be spotted while cruising the citys greenscape.
Points of Cracows commitment
As a part of
Cracows old heritage and a proof of its changeful history, fortresses
are still existing and forming a defense ring around Wawel Castle, a former
royal residence of polish kings. Characters of fortresses are wide open areas
to spot invaders early enough. Nowadays these areas are used to change into
park areas covered with trees, so popular recreation areas had been arised.
easternmost district Nova Huta once was planned as a huge centre of
heavy industry from 1949. This overspill town was to become an ideal example
for the communist propaganda and populated mostly by industrial workers. In
1951 it was joined with Cracow as its new district. Nova Huta suffered from extremely air
pollution caused by the steel mill and its subsidiary factories. Since the fall
of communism, trees started to conquer areas back. Firstly ruderals like
Birches or Poplars started covering abandoned industrial areas, but then Cracow
starts founding park areas next to satellite cities. Citizen had always been
and are still yet involved in tree planting events to form “their” own
decided to coordinate existing river- and landscape park
systems, monuments of nature, roadside green areas by founding a public space
management. Years before Cracow already founded Natura 2000,displaying 5 nature
reserves and 9 more sites of ecological interest. Now, the mayor releases
particular means to develop a huge network between public green spaces
including trees. Investment volume for specific direction and purpose is yet
fixed up to 2015.