Great news for swimmers and lovers of chilling out at one of Kraków’s best loved recreational spots. Finally, the seemingly never ending development of Zakrzówek has come to an end, as the park opens officially for swimmers.
Whilst the park is now open for swimming, there are not yet any lifeguards in place, the city have installed signage warning swimmers, they swim at their own risk. lifeguard safety and rescue cover will not start until 22nd June.
To answer some questions and share newly released information, I’ve added this brief update.
Q. Can you swim in the. in lake, outside of the new pools?
A. 100% yes, you can swim in the main lake outside the new pools – at your own risk – there are no lifeguards for the main lake.
This from the official ZZM website:- “Bathing outside the designated swimming pool and outside its operating hours is possible only at your own risk.”
Q. Can you have a BBQ/Grill in the park?
A. Officially No – for now at least. This extract from a report on city council regulations:-
“In the case of grilling, he referred to, among others, on the comfort of other users of the park, and in the case of bathing animals – on the dangerous terrain. – We have experience with Bagrow. Initially, barbecuing was allowed in certain places, but it became so common that it became a nuisance, argued Łukasz Pawlik, deputy director of ZZM. Similar experiences were pointed out by councilors Łukasz Wantuch and Jacek Bednarz. Director Pawlik, however, announced that barbecue areas will be designated in other parks, so as to avoid the accumulation of such activity in one place. He also did not rule out introducing changes to the regulations after some time, based on the experience from the first period of use.”
Q. Is the water clean?
A. Yes, relatively. The water is described as ‘crystal clear’, which in my previous experience as a diver, is often the case in water filled quarries. The city authorities state that the water will be subject to quality checks to ensure they comply with standards for this type of pool.
Swimmers using the guarded reservoirs, will be supervised by qualified lifeguards between 10.00 to 18.00, from 22nd June until 3rd September.
New safety regulations apply, and the public have been warned to be aware that there may be some minor work and clean-up taking place.
NEW PARK REGULATIONS
§ 6. 1. In the area of the Park it is forbidden to:
1) use facilities and devices in a manner inconsistent with their intended use;
2) scaring away and catching birds and other wild animals;
3) feeding wild animals;
4) use sound equipment without the permission of the Park Administrator;
5) grilling, lighting bonfires, leaving burning objects outside the places designated for this purpose by the Park Administrator;
6) touching electrical devices;
7) smoking tobacco products, including smoking innovative tobacco products, and smoking electronic cigarettes, with the exception of places designated for this purpose;
8) organise events without the permission of the Park Administrator;
10) 1 on platforms and other passages at a distance of less than 1.5 meters from the shores of the bathing area;
11) entering water reservoirs or bathing outside designated areas and entering water or bathing contrary to prohibitions;
12) entering water reservoirs for diving with equipment that allows breathing compressed air or other gas outside the designated zone;
13) performing jumps into the water, including from piers, shores of water reservoirs, cliffs, rock ledges and quarry wall protections;
14) entering water reservoirs or bathing people after using alcohol or substances with a similar effect;
15) use floating equipment without the consent of the Park Administrator, excluding kayaks, pontoons, mattresses, boards, inflatable rings;
16) mooring, coming to the shore and launching water equipment without the consent of the Park Administrator;
17) water pollution, in particular through the use of harmful chemicals, detergents and personal hygiene within water reservoirs and their immediate surroundings;
18) bathing pets or introducing them to water outside the zone designated for this purpose;
19) move outside the designated routes;
20) climbing rocks outside the climbing areas designated by the Park Administrator;
21) crossing the safety barriers (ropes, handrails, etc.), including leaning over the barriers and sitting on the barriers;
22) entering, climbing, destroying the quarry wall protections and using the Park protections in a manner inconsistent with their intended use;
23) entry and movement of any vehicles without the consent of the Park Administrator, excluding bicycles, electric scooters, personal transport devices, hereinafter referred to as UTOs, and devices supporting traffic [In the latter case, the regulations also provide for detailed restrictions similar to those in the Road Traffic Law, regarding e.g. a ban on leaving scooters in the park, driving under the influence of alcohol or not obstructing pedestrian traffic].
The water filled, former quarry of Zakrzówek, (flooded in 1990) has long been a much loved favourite for swimmers, walkers and a great place to chill and relax with family and friends.
This post-industrial area has now been transformed into one of the city’s largest parks.
Previously the area was ‘wild’ and fenced off in many parts, however the city purchased the land and undertook a 4 year long redevelopment, installing swimming pools, piers, platforms, loungers, and a visitors centre. The opening was initially scheduled for July 2022, but. you know, delays!!
The development, typical for Kraków, attracted a fair bit of controversy from locals and environmentalists who felt the development work took away the character of the place. The steel netting installed to protect from rock falls, was also the subject of a lot of negative comment.
The swimming pool consists of five pool basins of various depths, guarded by lifeguards:
- Pool 1: with a depth of 350 cm – zone for swimmers,
- Pool 2: with a depth of 80 cm – zone for non-swimmers,
- Pool 3: with a depth of 40 cm – zone for non-swimmers, with a paddling pool for children marked with white buoys,
- Pool 4: with a depth of 120 cm – zone for non-swimmers,
- Pool 5: with a depth of 350 cm – zone for swimmers.
There are also a number of land based developments.
Cross-country skiing trails, rollerblading and cycling trails, as well as gyms. The sports complex was developed in consultation with scientists from the Academy of Physical Education. The building with locker rooms, showers and a cafe is now ready. There will also be an observation deck. It is planned to build a Water Sports Center to be used by professional athletes.
To control the number of people on the floating platforms, entrants will receive wristbands. The piers have two functions: alleys for walking in unusual surroundings and places for resting and sunbathing.
“The platforms have already been tested. They can safely accommodate 600 people at the same time. But we know from the manufacturer that this limit is much higher and we will gradually increase it.
There are several meters of water below us, and yet we can feel safe here – Floating pools on this scale are something new and unique. So far, only a handful of people have been able to use this reservoir, and in places where it is shallower. Now that will change.” Piotr Kempf, director of the Municipal Greenery Authority in Krakow.
The visitor centre has a new ecology exhibition, you can read more about it on the ZZM facebook page.
BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS
I took photos of Zakrzówek in 2011, for an article in the Kraków Post, even back then access to the quarry, roads, and future plans were stirring up some heated discussion.
I returned a few weeks ago, when the development was nearing it’s completion and took photos of the changes.
History of Zakrzówek
If you are interested in the story of the area, over the years and it’s development into a park, check out some of the links below.
The German occupiers had detailed plans for Zakrzówek and the surrounding area. This pdf document, in Polish and English, details the German’s plans with maps and illustrations from the period. (source pk.edu.pl)
“Zakrzówek – the Nazi Vision of Transforming Right-Bank Cracow”
Zakrzówek – Did you know?
In 1938, Karol Wojtyla moved with his father from Wadowice to Krakow. In the same year he began his studies at the Jagiellonian University in the department of Polish philology. The outbreak of war prevented the continuation of studies. To avoid deportation to forced labor in Germany, Karol Wojtyla began to work in a quarry in Zakrzówek to the autumn of 1940. The late Pope wrote about this experience in his early journals, which preserved his personal memories. (source)
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, be careful. Booze & bravado are bad combinations. There have been a number of fatalities at Zakrzówek over the years. Jumping from rocks may be a momentary adrenaline rush, but can be deadly dangerous.
As a former Police Diver I’ve recovered way too many young people who’s day of fun ended in tragedy, and had to console their devastated families who, to a person, never believed it would happen to them.
David fell in love with Kraków 24 years ago, making it his home in 2011.
In 2020 he was awarded the title of Kraków’s Ambassador of Multiculturalism, by the President of Kraków, and is also a member of the GlobalScot network, representing Scottish culture and business abroad.
We’re always looking for interesting stories, events, characters or groups to feature. Likewise, if you’d like to join us, as a contributor, please get in touch.