Tramway depot complex, currently a museum, Kraków
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Tramway depot complex, currently a museum

Kraków

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A complex of municipal transport facilities, unique on an European scale.

History

The tramway depot complex was established in the years 1882-1888, originally as a horse tramway depot. It underwent a conversion from 1900 to the First World War. On 25 November 1881, the city of Cracow signed with the Bank of Belgium an agreement on the organisation and maintenance of horse-drawn railway in Cracow. The tramway depot complex was built in stages - in the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century. The first facilities were erected by a company incorporated by the Bank of Belgium which was granted the concession for the construction and operation of the first tramway lines in the city from the Municipality of Cracow. The oldest facility (which has been preserved until today) - a horse tramway depot (the oldest tramway lines in Cracow were operated by cars drawn by horses until 1901), as well as stables and administration and warehouse buildings were erected in 1882 according to a design by H. Gérona, which was modified at the request of magistrate services, as a result of which a building with wooden frame with brick filling (“timber framing”) came into being - a type of architecture very rare in Cracow. The horse tramway depot was extended in 1896 according to a design by Tadeusz Stryjeński and Zygmunt Hendel. In 1900, in connection with the electrification of tramway lines, the complex was extended. A set of interconnected halls for a narrow-gauge electric tramway was built, comprised of a depot, workshops, and a power plant. The administration buildings and auxiliary facilities were also converted at that time. The extension was designed by Karol Knaus. The building constructed then are made of brick. The other buildings, which came into being in the years 1912-1913 (control rooms and standard-gauge depots) as well as in the 1920 (bus garages and workshops) constitute probably the oldest horse tramway depot. The buildings are of timber frame type. In the end of 1950s and in the early 1960s, tramways ultimately disappeared from the depots at Św. Wawrzyńca Street, and the depots was adopted for bus workshops and warehouses. Since 1998, the depot complex has been housing the Municipal Engineering Museum.

Description

The complex is located in the Cracow district of Kazimierz, on both sides of Św. Wawrzyńca Street (the facilities on the odd side of the street are owned by the Municipality of Cracow, while on the even side - by the Canons of the Lateran), near former gasworks and a power plant. The area of approx. 12,000 sq. m. in total includes 11 structures. Two of them originate from the years 1882-1888 (they were converted a couple of times in later years), eight facilities were built in the years 1890-1913, and one in 1928. The construction and extension works were carried out with participation of known architects and constructors of Cracow: Karol Knaus, Zygmunt Hendel, and Tadeusz Stryjeński.

The complex (15 to 17 Św. Wawrzyńca Street) includes:

1. Narrow-gauge tramway depot built in 1900 according to a design by Karol Knaus

2. Tramway workshops (hall) built in 1900 according to a design by Karol Knaus

3. Tramway power plant - complex of generation, boiler, and battery room halls built in 1900 according to a design by Karol Knaus for the needs of the tramway system

4. Horse tramway depot built in 1882 according to a design by H. Géron. In 1896, it was extended according to a design by Zygmunt Hendel and Tadeusz Stryjeński.

5. management and administration building of the tramway company, erected in 1882 as a single-storey structure, originally used as one of the two stables of the horse tramway. Along with the electrification of tramway lines, the building was converted in 1900 according to a design by Karol Knaus and was used thereafter for administrative purposes

6. Horse tramway stable built in 1882 as one of the two stables of the horse tramway. Originally a single-storey building, in 1900, in connection with the electrification of tramway lines, it was converted according to a design by Karol Knaus and was used thereafter for administrative purposes

7. Standard-gauge tramway depot built in 1912 as the depot of the Cracow Tramway Company for 12 tramway cars.

8. Bus garage built in 1928 according to a design by Edward Ronka in connection with the launch of regular bus lines by the Municipal Electric Railways of Cracow.

9. Mechanical workshop constructed in 1928 according to a design by Edward Ronka

10. Tramway control room built in 1912, in connection with the launch of standard-gauge lines and depots.

11. six-track hall of standard-gauge tramway at 12 Św. Wawrzyńca Street, built in 1913 according to a design by Karol Knaus; it features timber frame walls

The whole complex is unique both due to wooden architecture with brick filling and variegated facilities related to municipal transport preserved in the form of a one, consistent complex.

The depot is accessible during the opening hours of the Museum.

compiled by Olga Dyba, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 10-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Dyba O., Duda J., Pochwała S, Dawne zakłady rzemieślnicze i przemysłowe Krakowa. Kraków 2000. Dyba O.,
  • Duda J., Zabytki techniki na terenie Krakowa i województwa krakowskiego (w:) Ochrona zabytków techniki, przemysłu i sztuki inżynierskiej, „Zeszyty Naukowo - Techniczne Stowarzyszenia Inżynierów i Techników Komunikacji w Krakowie”, z. 26, 1993, s. 37-55.
  • Muzeum Inżynierii Miejskiej - katalog. Kraków 2007.
  • Dyba O., Duda J., W drodze do muzeum techniki w Krakowie. Biuletyn Inżynierii Miejskiej w Krakowie, z. 3, 2010, s. 48-57.

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1882-1888
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Św. Wawrzyńca 12, 13-17, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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