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Krakow news
Go to the news section of Krakow Info to see the current stories from the city.

Selected Archive News Stories of 2008 from Krakow Info

Year 2008 

New Year’s Fallout 
Three of Poland’s main cities, Krakow among them, are at odds over New Year’s latest revelries. Vying for the dawn-of-2008 merrymaking primacy, Krakow and Wroclaw dispute each other’s numbers of participants in New Year’s Eve open-air parties that both municipalities threw, 190,000 and 200,000 respectively, each figure by courtesy of local PR men. Anyway, they dwarfed Warsaw’s meager 20,000, which ignited an outcry in the capital city’s town hall that has publicly contested the above estimates.

Councilors Free Taxis 
Krakow’s City Council has voted to scrap ceilings on taxi fares for the city’s cabs from January 1, 2008. At the same time it has decided to raise the number of available taxi licenses for another 600. As Krakow taxi drivers hail the former decision, they openly despise the latter. The councilors believe that their exercise in free market will result in lower fares and better service. 

Wonder of Wonders 
Natives of Poland have voted the country’s seven wonders, i.e. sites most worth visiting. Two of them are located in the center of Krakow – Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle and Cathedral and the city’s central Rynek Glowny square together with the Old Town that surrounds it. Another of the Seven Wonders of Poland, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, is situated on the outskirts of Krakow. 

Smoking Fine 
Municipal police fined seven smokers and reprimanded 543 in the first ten days since a ban on smoking at bus and tram stops had come into force within the limits of Krakow in February. The cops promise to be less lenient with time and to fine smoking offenders as a rule. The penalty may be anything between 20 and 500 zlotys. 

Live in Krakow, Be Happy 
Living in Krakow is most satisfying, according to the Urban Audit Perception Survey, part of the European Union’s Flash-Eurobarometer project. Conducted last November by Gallup Hungary in 75 cities of the 27 EU countries plus Turkey and Croatia, cosmopolitan metropolis like Paris and London as well as some close-knit communities like Finland’s Oulu and Portugal’s Braga, it has revealed that 97 percent of Krakow dwellers are satisfied to live in their city. No other municipality can boast the same level of satisfaction among citizenry save Groningen in The Netherlands but only 75 percent of its denizens feel strongly so against some 85 percent for Krakow. By comparison, just sixty percent or so of the locals said they were satisfied, either strongly or somewhat, to live in Athens. Asked about concrete aspects of urban life, residents of Krakow assessed highest the integration of foreigners whereas they seemed unhappy about hospital health services. The survey involved 500 randomly selected individuals in each city. 

Europe's Biggest Shopping
Hungary’s developer, TriGranit, vows to construct Europe’s biggest shopping center in Krakow early next year. The sprawling Bonarka City Center, situated on a 19-hectare industrial wasteland four kilometers south of Krakow’s central Old Town district, will boast nearly 100,000 square meters of shopping floor area. The whole project will cost euro 500,000 to build, with office blocks and blocks of flats to be added later on, and will generate over 5,000 new jobs. 

Grave Finding 
The city’s corporation managing Krakow’s cemeteries has launched an online service that localizes graves at municipal burial grounds. The search engine available at http://www.rakowice.eu can find the grave of any of 280,000-plus people laid to rest at cemeteries of Bronowice, Grebalow, Kobierzyn, Mydlniki, Nowy Podgorski, Stary Podgorski, Pradnik Czerwony, Prokocim, Pychowice, Wola Justowska, and the newer part of Cmentarz Rakowicki cemetery. For the time being some command of elementary Polish seems necessary to feed it with required data, i.e. given names, the surname, and the date – approximate at least – of the burial. The service doesn’t cover Krakow’s Jewish cemeteries nor the church graveyards and crypts. 

14.5 Million Visited Malopolska 
In 2007 the Malopolska province, Wojewodztwo Malopolskie, attracted 14.5 million visitors, including three million from abroad, according to a survey commissioned by the local government and carried out by IPSOS Polska. Most of them came to Krakow. Among visiting foreigners Britons constituted the biggest segment, 14.4 percent, followed by Germans (10.9 percent), and Italians (8.9 percent). On average, a foreign visitor stayed four days in Malopolska and spent here an equivalent of 555 euro. 

Growing Pains of the Balice Airport 
As the projected number of passengers this year approaches the overall annual capacity of 3.5 million, Krakow’s Balice airport is bursting at the seams. Its further extension, to be completed in 2010, will eventually raise the volume to nine million passengers per year. The blueprint for new air terminal facilities provides also for a train station, a multistory underground car park, and an airport hotel.

British Royalty in Krakow 
British Prince Charles and his wife Camilla descended on Krakow on April 29 to open a Jewish Community Center at 24 Miodowa street. A five-story modern eyesore adjacent to the 19th-century graceful Tempel Synagogue, the building has come into existence thanks to the Prince of Wales who persuaded the World Jewish Relief, a UK’s charity, to finance its construction in the wake of his previous visit in 2002. Prince Charles himself nailed the mezuzah to the doorpost. After the opening ceremony he had a kosher lunch in the garden of Kupa Synagogue opposite. 

Formula One Krakow Hero 
The whole city rejoices at the win of Rober Kubica, a native of Krakow, in Formula One’s Grand Prix Canada race in Montreal. The triumph on Sunday, May 8 was the first victory in the career of the 23-year-old driver of BMW Sauber team and the first ever for a Polish national. Also, it has made Kubica the leader of this year’s F1 series ahead of the world champion, Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, and UK’s Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes McLaren. Montreal was Robert Kubica’s 29th race in Formula One. 

EU Pledges a Couple of Billions for Malopolska
Malopolska Province, whose capital city is Krakow, has secured euro 1.29 billion from the European Union’s funds for major infrastructure projects in the region in the years 2007-2013. Plus the EU separate grant to the tune of 590 million euros has been earmarked under the Human Capital program for varied measures to boost competitiveness of Malopolska’s workforce.

Honorary Doctor Steven Spielberg 
Krakow's Jagiellonian University has conferred an honorary doctorate on the Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg. He has been recognized for his 'cinematic artistry' and 'attachment to the tradition and humane values' as well as his ‘contribution to the commemoration of Holocaust’. Mr Spielberg authored famous movie, 'Schindler's List', that shows the tragedy of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. The Krakow University dates back to 1364 but it awarded its first honorary doctorate in 1816. Since then it honored this way 300-plus persons, outstanding scientists from Poland and abroad. 

Square Dancing for the Record 
Krakow holds the world record in simultaneous dancing. It was set on August 31, 2008 when 1635 couples of dancers waltzed at the same time for five minutes on Krakow’s central Rynek Glowny square. The record-breaking event was arranged by one of Poland’s television networks, TVN, with the Guinness Book of Records in mind.

Ultimate Cycling 
Organizers of the 65th Tour de Pologne have chosen Krakow for the finish of its course of 1259 kilometers in the late September, 2008. The race is part of the main Pro Tour professional cycling circuit alongside Tour de France, Italy’s Giro d’Italia, or Spain’s Vuelta a Espana with all top teams participating. The first Tour de Pologne took place in 1928. 

Spanking Few Film Festival 
Krakow has got a brand-new film festival in addition to the city’s several other cinematic events, including the 48-year-old Krakow Film Festival. The 1st Off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema screened 120 indie movies in four theaters and three clubs in the first five days of October 2008. Its international jury awarded the main prize of 100,000 euro to the USA’s Azazel Jacobs for his highly autobiographical ‘Mama’s Boy’. There was also another, parallel festival competition for movies shot with a cellphone where the prize money for the winner equaled the price of a professional camcorder. 

Krakow Lion Monster 
Krakow has got a local cousin of the Loch Ness Monster and the yeti. The creature has four paws, seemingly resembles a lioness or a cougar, and reportedly it was seen near village of Jeziorzany some 18 km southeast of the city center in early October and even filmed with a cellphone. Later the same day over 100 policemen, a counter-terrorist unit, two police helicopters, several squads of firefighters and rangers, plus paramedic ambulance crews tried to track and corner the mysterious animal. In the afternoon police infrared cameras apparently discovered it in the thicket of a field of maize. Yet over the ensuing night the creature disappeared. The hunt cost an equivalent of some 15,000 euro. 

Funshop? Not So Funny 
A shop with legal drugs has opened in Krakow selling various over-the-counter alleged alternatives to illicit dope. The little store – labeled as a ‘funshop’ by its owners, a UK-based World Wide Supplements Importer – is hidden in the courtyard of a nondescript tenement house at Starowislna streets. It sells both chemicals and herbal concoctions and its customer base consist mostly of the young patrons of Krakow’s numerous night clubs. Legal as it may be, the merchandise can prove both highly addictive and hazardous to health, drug experts warn.

No Frills, No Fly 
Ryanair, the Irish no-frills carrier, has announced that it suspends all its flights from and to Krakow between November 4 and December 19, 2008. The airline’s management excuses itself by pointing to high fuel costs and high airport tax at the Krakow Airport. The airport has released a statement in response revealing that Ryanair demanded a blanket tax exemption in November and December and accusing the carrier of disregard for passengers. 

Remains of Gen. Sikorski to Be Examined 
Krakow Archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, has given permission to exhume the remains of General Wladyslaw Sikorski on November 25 and thus he has made possible a post-mortem. Gen. Sikorski, the wartime premier of Poland’s government in exile and the commander-in-chief of the Polish armed forces, was killed in a mysterious plane crash near Gibraltar on July 4, 1943. Blanket of secrecy thrown over the accident and some dubious official findings of the British authorities gave rise to a number of conspiracy theories. Recently Poland’s state agency responsible for investigating war crimes and human rights violations of the past, Instytut Pamieci Narodowej (Institute for the National Remembrance), has opened an inquiry into the death of one of the country’s most revered heroes. In 1993 Gen. Sikorski was laid to rest in the crypt of Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral alongside the Polish royalty and some other great Poles. 

Dalai Lama's Visit to Krakow 
The Dalai Lama arrived to Krakow on Sunday, December 7 to receive next day an honorary doctorate of philosophy conferred on him in October 2007 by the city's Jagiellonian University, Poland's oldest and most revered. The ceremony took place in the university's Collegium Novum, 24 Golebia street at Planty gardens, on December 8 at 9 a.m. In the afternoon, at 3 p.m. on the same day the Dalai Lama met Krakow's academic community in the Jagiellonian University's biggest hall, Auditorium Maximum at 33 Krupnicza street. After arriving to the Krakow airport at 9 p.m. on Sunday he had met the city’s nearly twenty Buddhist communities representing various branches of the religion. The 644-year-old Krakow university was Poland's first to award an honorary doctorate to the Dalai Lama. 

Santa Claus Is Legal At Last! 
Mayor of Krakow has lifted the ban on Santas wandering the streets one of his predecessors introduced more than 100 years ago. The then mayor Jozef Friedlein banned men disguised as Santa Claus as well as accompanying devils and angels from the city by the end of the 19th century because of frequent alcohol abuse among them. The century-old prohibition, albeit forgotten and disobeyed from time immemorial, has been repealed on December 2, 2008 – just in time for the parade of 100 Santas to be hold legally in downtown Krakow three days later. The organizers guaranteed sobriety of every Father Christmas

Thousands Feasted on Charity 
The homeless from all over Poland arrived in their thousands on Krakow’s huge Rynek Glowny central square on Sunday, December 21 to enjoy the traditional free meal in the run-up of Christmas. The organizers had supplied 150,000 pierog dumplings, 6,000 liters of mushroom soup, and 6,000 liters of stewed sauerkraut with mushrooms – the Polish traditional Yule dishes – among piles of other foods. And the city residents brought durable food products to hand them out to the homeless. One of them was the mayor of Krakow who also offered Christmas greetings.

Other Krakow's News Stories of the Past: 

Krakow info news of 2009

Krakow Info News of 2007

Krakow Info News of 2006

Krakow Info News of 2005

Krakow Info News of 2004

Krakow Info News of 2003

Krakow Info News of 2002


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