Today is National Independence Day (Narodowe Święto Niepodległości), a national holiday in Poland, when Poles commemorate the 101st anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic in 1918, after 123 years of partition

Across the country homes, buildings, streets, even buses and trams will be bedecked in the red and white national colours proudly displaying the national flag, including a 22m flag draped over Kościuszko Mound, whilst the Bernatka footbridge and Tauron arena will be illuminated in red and white.

Amazing image of Koscziusko Mound by Ciap-dron
Amazing image of Koscziusko Mound by Ciap-dron

In Kraków the main Independence Day events are:-

10am Independence Day Mass & Parade (1130) – Wawel Cathedral to Pl Matejko

The traditional Mass. will be held in Wawel Cathedral.  At the conclusion of the mass, (approx 1130) the  Independence Day military parade will begin from the Wawel Hill at the Katyn Cross, where wreaths will be laid. The parade continues along the ‘Royal Route’,  ul. Grodzka, to the main square and via Florianska to pl. Matejko.

1200 – The national anthem will be played from the tower  of Mariacki church

1400 – Rynek – Polish ‘white and red singing hits’
The public are invited to sing along to traditional Polish hits with well know Polish singers, leading the proceedings on stage. This year a special Independence cake will be available to those taking part. „IV Ogólnopolskie śpiewanie biało-czerwonych przebojów”.

Krakow Independence Run, Błonia.
The Krakow Independence Run (Krakowskim Biegiem Niepodległości), is described by the organisers as ‘a historic 11 km route, a charity event, more than 4,000 runners for 4 years and great fun!’
– 11km run – start at 14:00
– 1918m Krakow Independence Mile – start at 12:00
– competition for children – start at 11:00
For more information visit

1700-1900  ‘Joy of Independence’ Singing Lesson
The 75th Krakow Singing Lesson, will take place on the Rynek, led by performers from Loch Camelot cabaret. Songbooks will be given out to help you sing along.
You can read more about it here.


1030 – 1430 – Patriotic Tram


Once again the “Patriotic Tram”(tramwaj patriotyczny) will travel through Kraków.  On the tram young Poles from school choirs will sing patriotic songs. Passengers are encouraged to join in and will be handed song books, flags, badges, and leaflets to help get them in the mood. The tram will run around Planty from 10:30 until 14:30. Route:  Poczta Główna, Plac Wszystkich Świętych, Filharmonia, Bagatela, Basztowa, Długa, Dworzec Towarowy, Dworzec Główny, Poczta Główna.


Will there be right wing, (extreme or not) elements on the streets of Krakow? – yes, certainly.

Fortunately, Krakow has been largely free from the more extreme violent disorder caused by the extreme right wing groups which have, at times, afflicted Warsaw in past years.  Even in Warsaw, the parades have been free from larger scale disorder for the past few years, which hopefully will continue. There is always a large Police presence,  fortunately these events have mostly, (if not always), passed off without violence in Kraków.

In our opinion, there is no reason to stay at home or be afraid, based on some  media reports,  yes, there has been trouble in the past, though mostly confined to the Warsaw event.

Go out, enjoy the various events and parades and join the important traditional Polish celebrations of their Independence.

Images from Previous Independence Day Parade

© David McGirr

Be aware that due to the parades and independence day run, some streets will be closed and there will likely be temporary traffic congestion in the area of the events. Full details in the link below.

  Bus and Tram Route Changes (Polish)

Independence Day is also a national holiday with many shops and businesses closed.

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