Krakow is filled to the brim with larger and smaller works of art left by street artists to be admired by visitors. While some murals were created during festivals such as ArtBoom, others grace the city’s streets illegally. And that only makes them more interesting.
Krakow is a city that encourages street art. It’s home to initiatives such as ‘101 Murals for Krakow’, initiated by local street artists who created a number of impressive works that brought together stunning multi-format paintings into the city’s urban landscape.
Kazimierz and Podgórze are known as districts that are particularly street art friendly in Krakow.
If you’re a fan of street art and happen to find yourself Krakow, here are some of the best examples of street art scattered around the city that are worth checking out.
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This mural entitled “Judah” was painted by Pil Peled, one of the most famous street artists in Israel. It was created in July 2013 as part of the annual Jewish Culture Festival. The lion is said to represent the struggle of the Jewish community to survive and preserve their culture through the tragic history in Krakow. It also represents strength. The child, on the other hand, stands for vulnerability and fear. Together they make a breathtaking work of art.
Józef Mehoffer House
The mural that graces a side of the Józef Mehoffer House was created as part of the Art Film Festival in 2012. Designed by one of the country’s most famous mural artists, M-City, the work is entitled “Mural no. 658”, which gives you an idea about the artist’s productivity. Currently, it’s the artist’s only work in Krakow. The mural depicts a dystopian vision of a city as a fortress or steam ship that is bombarded from all sides with bullet-like fish. Make sure to check out the atmospheric Meho Cafe garden in the courtyard of the museum.
Ding Dong Dumb
This might be easily Krakow’s most talked-about mural. It was painted by a famous Italian artist Blu in 2011. Why is the work so controversial? Because it explores the complex relationship between the Polish culture and the Catholic Church. On top of that, it’s located in the area of the former Jewish Ghetto. While the you’re in the neighborhood, you should check out another interesting work painted by Małgorzata Markiewicz in 2012. Located at the corner of Piwna and Józefińska streets, the mural is dedicated to the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz.
This stunning and complex mural depicts historical figures that were significant for the Kazimierz district, such as King Kazimierz the Great, who inspired its name, Prince Joseph II, the patron of this area when Krakow belonged to the Austrian empire, Karol Knaus, the architect of the district, and Helena Rubinstein, a former resident and cosmetics pioneer. This mural is very new – it was only created in 2016! – so be sure to check it out.
Plac Bawół 3
This breathtaking black-and-white more mural represents the Art Nouveau style at its best. Created by the Israeli group of street artists called Broken Fingaz, it appeared on these walls during the Jewish Culture Festival in 2014 to honor the memory of the Bosak Family, who used to live in this area for 400 years before it was transformed into the Jewish Ghetto in 1941. The style of the mural was inspired by Maurice Lilien, an artist who graduated the local Krakow Academy of Fine Arts.
Małopolska Garden of the Arts (Małopolski Ogród Sztuki)
This space houses several murals that were commissioned by the institution. You will find the building just off Szujskiego street, nearby the entrance of the Arteteka media library. These murals are real works of art and represent some of the best street art in the city. Moreover, they’re constantly changing – even if it’s a pity that some of the most breathtaking works disappear every year instead of being preserved permanently. Have a leisurely afternoon at the Pauza In Garden cafe located downstairs and admire the best Krakow has to offer in terms of street art.
This mural is a must-see for all science fiction fans. Dedicated to a native of Krakow, and famous science fiction writer, Stanislaw Lem, the work was created as part of the Conrad festival of literature by the artist Filip Kużniarz in November 2012. Imagining the future where mankind is dominated by machines, the mural is a stunning work of art and one of the most characteristic examples of street art in Krakow.
In 2013, the University of Mining and Metallurgy Krakow (AGH) held a contest for a mural. This large work created by a graduate of the Krakow University of Technology, Justyna Lubińska, was the winning design. The mural tells the story of technological innovation, contrasting the breakthroughs from past centuries such as the steam powered automobile, with those created today – for instance, the Large Hadron Collider.
Corner of Bożego Ciała and Meiselsa
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This is a stencil of the iconic image of Gene Kelly singing in the rain. The work appeared on this corner in spring 2014 and has become a classic stop in every Krakow street art tour ever since.
Galicia Jewish Museum
A couple of years ago, the Galicia Jewish Museum held a contest for art that would decorate their exterior wall. The winning design was created by the artist Marcin Wierzchowski and now graces the wall of the museum, depicting a towering Jewish menorah. Be sure to go downstairs to the basement club to see more interesting graffiti art.
Walking the streets of Krakow, you’re bound to notice the presence of a lively street art scene.
The fact that such initiatives are supported by cultural festivals and the city proves that street art has a real value Krakow.
The next time you travel to this street art gem, take your time walking the streets of Kazimierz and Podgórze districts and keep your eyes open – you might notice a work of art that was created as early as the night before.