An Alternative Tour
It goes without saying that there are many things to do and see in Kraków. If you are a first time visitor you might just want to stick to the guide book itinerary and tick off all the historical sights and places.
However, if you are an art aficionado or if you just fancy something completely different then join the two-hour free tour of the street art in Kazimierz and Podgórze districts organised by Walkative Tours.
The street art concept is quite new and one that constantly evolves. New murals and graffiti are popping up all the time and the tour is very receptive to change. You can argue that street art is abundant in these two parts of Kraków as a way of beautification of yet unrenovated and grey buildings which is a contrast to the pristine city centre; an UNESCO world heritage centre.
Street Art in Krakow
Most of the street art in Kazimierz is legal and has been commissioned either to celebrate the annual Jewish Festival of Culture or as another art concepts (100 Murals for Kraków or Grolsch BoomArt Festival).
Meandering through the old streets of Kazimierz you will find murals that are very light hearted and very instagramable.
There are pieces that carry a political message like Ding Dong Dumb which is a criticism of the Catholic Church in Poland (the church bell forms a megaphone that shouts at the masses) or a form a protest like “For God’s sake, censorship is everywhere” done by a Polish Pikaso (photo above) when his original project was rejected by the authorities.
My favourite mural was the one depicting Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton in the style of the American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. It popped up during the presidency campaign in 2016 and shows Trump as a showman in a glitzy jacket and Clinton in a more conservative dress. However, it is the artist’s vision of impeding doom “Independence Day” style that draws the viewer’s attention. Are we still doomed?
Overall, most of the murals in the Jewish Quarter have religious or historical connotations. As with all art, the interpretation is subjective but it is good to have a bit of the background provided by the guide.
To get to Podgorze district, we crossed the Wisla River via Kraków’s own Love Lock bridge where colourful padlocks adorn the sides. I would say in Podgorze the street art is more educational. The murals here are big and mainly done on the side of the block of flats. Most of them were created to encourage people to pick up a book and read.
The tour finishes at the MOCAK ( Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków) which is just next to the Schindler’s Factory. Both are worth a visit but that’s for another day.