Spa district in Swoszowice, Kraków
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Spa district in Swoszowice

Kraków

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19th-century complex of spa buildings with documented tradition dating back to the 15th century.

History

The local sources of sulphur water have been used from the Middle Ages. In the years of plague, citizens of Cracow fled to Swoszowice from “black death”. The sulphur water and its application in treatment of rheumatic and venereal diseases was described by the court physician of Stefan Batory - Wojciech Oczko, in a work published in 1578 in the Lazarus Printing House (Oficyna Łazarzowa). Since 1786, Swoszowice had been leased by Austrian officials. The beginnings of the spa resort are associated with Feliks Radwański, Jagiellonian University Professor and from 1807 - the owner of Swoszowice. In 1811, a bath facility comes into being (part of whose fittings have survived until today) and buildings for guests staying in the complex for treatment purposes. Radwański designed and founded spa house “Łazienki” (Baths) to which water was fed through wooden gutters, and founded a number of residential buildings for guests. The opening, in 1847, of the Cracow-Wrocław railway line was a severe blow to the spa resort, as this opened the way to foreign resorts. However, the interest on the part of balneologists has remained. The National Spa Company created in 1859 managed to recover the spa in Swoszowice from unfavourable conditions. In 1860, a single-storey building was constructed with transverse, one-storey pavilions called Baths, and then a restaurant and a meeting room building, as well as the so-called summer palace. The bath facility was comprised of a couple dozen tubes, inhalation stations by the spring, steam boiler to heat mineral water, gymnastics equipment, guest-houses, and mineral water depot. A spa orchestra performed in the park from time to time. In the 1990s, the complex started to flourish again. Health resort visitors were invited to the Residential House, “Palace” guest house (one-storey, wooden building with 19 rooms), and “Swiss” guest house (17 rooms). In the years 1914-1918, the buildings were used to accommodate military units, and in the bath building, a rubber manufacture was located. The 1920s mark also the time of reconstruction thanks to a loan incurred in the United States. The “Swiss” Guest House was renovated and the “Rose” villa was built. In 1942, Germans extended the Baths which were used for the recovery of the injured. The years after the war, along with the nationalisation of the spa resort in 1945, brought stagnation resulting from war damages and general condition of the country. In 1945-75, the resort was owned by the Natural Therapy Centre in Cracow. In the years 1950-1960, scientific analysis of mineral waters were carried out. In 1954, the buildings were taken over by the Central Administration of Health Resorts and entrusted for management to National Health Resorts in Swoszowice-Zdrój. In [?], the Municipal Natural Therapy Centre Swoszowice-Mateczny in Cracow was established, subordinated to the Health Department of the Presidium of the National Council in Cracow. In 1960s, the spa resort Swoszowice was reactivated by the establishment of the Cracow Health Resort Complex. In 1973, P.P. Zespół Uzdrowisk Krakowskich (Cracow Health Complex State Enterprise, as of 1999 a joint-stock company of the State Treasury) was officially registered, and in order to protect medicinal water deposits, Mining District Swoszowice was created. On 25 July 1973, Swoszowice was granted the status of spa (officially in 1974), granted by the Municipal Office of the City of Cracow. In 2007, the legal form and name of the company changed into Uzdrowisko Kraków Swoszowice Sp. z o.o.

Description

The Spa Park in Swoszowice is located between Kąpielowa Street and Piłkarska Street, among hills. The park area is estimated at approx. 7 ha. The park itself was created later than the spa. On the map by Mieg from the years 1779-1782, 2 ponds are visible in the place of the present park, as well as buildings connected probably to sulphur mines operating there. Around 1820, Radwański ordered drying the wetlands and orderly planting of young limes, elms, and hornbeams. The oldest part of the park, located in front of the building of Baths (from the east) and near the guest house, was created before 1831. It is marked on the real estate plan of 1850). The front façade of the building of Baths faces west, and the oldest tree specimens are located in its vicinity. Until 1880s, the area was extended and a wildlife park was created to the north from the Bath Facility, as well as the system of paths in the eastern and southern part of the park. The period after the war marks years of degradation of the complex. Important changes took place in the 1960s. Spa facilities were renovated, works were conducted in the park consisting in falling some of the old trees and tarring the paths, a restaurant and an office building were built. The spa park in Swoszowice with all surviving relics - both architectural as well as remains of the former spatial composition, constitutes an important landscape element and is one of few parks with such a broad set of plant species in direct vicinity of the city. The currently existing building of Baths is located to the south of Kąpielowa Street, in the park, in the south-eastern part of the spa, on a small hill descending to the west. The building - as it can be seen from the above description - was created in a couple of stages, and acquired its current shape as a result of multiple conversions. The most important of them included: conversion of 1860, when the northern part of the quadrangular building of Feliks Radwański of 1811 was modernised and the function of the building was changed into residential, as well as conversions from 1920s and 1940s, owing to which the building regained its original function. Of equal importance are works started in the southern part of the buildings in 2007, owing to which, after nearly two hundred years, a shape of the Baths similar to their original form of 1811 was restored. The façades of the two-storey, advanced side pavilions built on a rectangular floor plan are plastered. The western pavilion is freshly renovated. The storeys are partitioned by a cornice. The pavilions’ façade has three axes delimited by rectangular window openings with hoods. The corners of the western pavilion are buttressed along the whole height of the ground floor. The triangular gables of both avant-corps are decorated with reliefs with heraldic motifs in the form of the Eagle and Pahonia, placed in lavishly chamfered tondi, located on the outermost axes (on the left and on the right, respectively). The rectangular residential pavilions added in 2007 in the place of the former Liegehalle, have extended the existing side pavilions of the front façade to the south. The new buildings have similar appearance to the front pavilions, but are slightly higher.

The park is accessible until twilight, the palace - upon consultation with the administrator.

compiled by Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 12-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Bielak S., Park leśny w Swoszowicach [w:] “Aura” 2001, nr 6, s. 20-21
  • Broniowski A., Swoszowice w r. 1869, Kraków 1870.
  • Galczak W., Uzdrowiska polskie, Warszawa 1973.
  • Głowacka M., Historia i przekształcenia architektoniczne budynków Łazienek z uzdrowiska w Swoszowicach, „Teki Krakowskie”, t. XVI, Kraków 2009, s. 33-49.
  • Niechaj M., Historia Dzielnicy X; WWW.bip.krakow.pl
  • Pagaczewski S., Z tobołkiem za Kraków, Kraków 1979.
  • Marcinek R., Swoszowice. Studium historyczne do założenia parkowego, Kraków 2011.
  • Zejszner L., Podróże po Beskidach czyli opisanie części gór Karpackich zawartych pomiędzy źródłami WIsły i Sanu, "Bibliotek Warszawska", Warszawa, R. 1848, t. III, s. 105-107.
  • Zieleniewski M., Ilustrowany opis krajowych zakładów zdrojowo-kąpielowych, hydropatycznych i klimatyczno-leczniczych, Kraków 1894.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1811 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kąpielowa 70, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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