Planty – the beautiful green ring
Planty are one of the peculiarities of Krakow, envied by other Polish cities – a beautiful park which surrounds the Old Town with a ring of green. Story about Planty begins that once upon a time, a great rummage began right beyond the city’s walls, with a muddy area filled with rubbish. And it was only the brave actions of the city activists which led to the creation of a public park around the City, a park which was called Planty.
After the city walls dismantlement, during the Krakow Republic period, authorities began to wonder what to do with these area. It must be admitted that when the walls disappeared, then City was filled with sun and wind, there was more space and light, and yet it seemed a bit bare… In 1820, the head of the Senate, count Stanisław Wodzicki came up with a project according to which the City would become surrounded by gardens. The project was accepted and in 1822, the first ground works began. Two figures were especially important for the building of Planty – the professor and senator Feliks Radwanski, and the continuator of his work, Florian Straszewski (who had even founded a capital of three thousand dukats for the creation of Planty). In 1880, the magistrate took up the resolution to beautify the Planty with statues, an extra decorative element to the green corners. In 1884, two statues were raised – first of Lilia Weneda and second of Grazyna and Litawor. In 1901, the statute of Artur Grottger was raised. A pond with an island and house for swans was added to the Planty in 1904.
One hundred years ago, every weekend Planty, like the parks of Paris, were transformed into a public garden. There were open air games, concerts, serenades and illuminations which all made the stay in the city more pleasant. Planty were protected by special guards who watched over the benches so that the workers, drunks and badly dressed people would not drink alcohol and lay across them.