With over 25 000 inhabitants, the Gmina of Zabierzów is one of the biggest Gminas in the Malopolska Province. Located in the immediate vicinity of Krakow, it covers an area of 99.6 km2. The Gmina has a rich history, scenic Jurassic landscapes and also a modern technical infrastructure. Its safety, high living standards and good investment conditions make it an attractive region for its inhabitants, tourists and investors.
The Gmina’s continuous dynamic development is mostly driven by a very good and convenient road connection from the centre of Krakow. The Krakow Airport, an A4 highway toll station and railway infrastructure are located here.The Gmina of Zabierzów has valid land zoning, a well-developed road infrastructure, a water supply network, sewerage, gas and power line systems, a modern education infrastructure and a local culture centre with a wide range of interests for children, youth and adults. The Gmina can also boast a very rich sports and leisure infrastructure. You will find a sports and leisure centre here, with an indoor swimming pool and a sports and entertainment hall for 260 people, a modern sports stadium, horse studs, tennis courts, many climbing spots and scenic tourist trails. Taken together, these factors are encouraging a rapid growth in the number of the Gmina’s inhabitants, tourists and investors. Thanks to a modern management and open climate of both the Gmina’s authorities and its inhabitants, the Gmina of Zabierzów is regarded as an attractive place with great prospects for dynamic and sustainable development.
The Gmina of Zabierzów is marked by a varied topography as it is located at the junction of three mesoregions of the Polish Jura Chain: the Olkusz Upland, the Krzeszowice Trench and the Tenczynek Prominence. The average height of the Olkusz Upland, also called the Ojców Plateau, is 400m above sea level. The upland goes down to the Krzeszowice Trench with a series of distinct faults in the form of steep and almost 100-metre high rock steps. From the south the upland’s gently rolling hilltops cut numerous stream valleys which form winding and rocky gorges, commonly known as the Krakow Valleys. The map shows the Szklarka Valley, Będkowska Valley, Kobylańska Valley, Bolechowicka Valley (the last two located in the Gmina of Zabierzów; probably most known and frequently visited) and the Kluczwoda Valley, which is situated further to the west. A similar topography is found in the Tenczynek Prominence, which is the biggest trunk hill in the Krakow region. Its plateaux, which usually rise up to 300m above sea level, go down to the Krzeszowice Trench in steep rock steps and are cut by numerous valleys, of which some are dead (e.g. Mardi Gras Hole, Kochanowski Gorge, Zbrza Gorge). The eastern parts of the Tenczynek Prominence, which lie within the Gmina of Zabierzów, are covered by the Zabierzów Forest, which is one of the biggest forests in the region of Krakow. The mesoregions listed above are divided by a tectonic hollow of the Krzeszowice Trench (several kilometre wide), which has a relatively flat surface. Along the bottom of the Krzeszowice Trench runs the Rudawa River, which turns southwards after passing Zabierzów, thus forming a gorge through the Tenczynek Prominence at the legendary Kmita’s Rock.
The geological composition of this area largely consists of Upper Jurassic limestone. These rocks (the remains of the deposited shells and skeletons of different organisms, such as crustacea, mussels, coelenterates, lampshells), are mostly made of calcium carbonate. They were formed in the warm and relatively shallow sea which covered the Polish Jura Chain about 160 million years ago. In the region of Krakow the Upper Jurassic limestone forms a 300-metre thick complex which shows much lithologic variety.
In this area rocky limestone is the most typical. Being most resistant to erosion, it was formed from other types, thus creating the rocks typical of the Polish Jura Chain, both in plateaux and in valleys. During the formation of the current land composition, after the last sea had withdrawn in the Upper Cretaceous period (80 million years), the alpine orogenic movements of the Tertiary period, in the Miocene (23 million years) to be precise, had the greatest influence on the current shape. The overlapping of the folding Carpathian Mountains onto the stiff plate of the Polish Jura Chain made it crack into different sized blocks and the mountains’ movements along the plates of the faults led to the formation of horsts, including the Tenczynek Prominence and the Krzeszowice Trench, a tectonic hollow. About 15 million years ago the Krzeszowice Trench was covered by sea, which left thick layers of argillaceous deposits. Beneath these were formed the faults which can be found on the edges of the Tenczynek Prominence. Today they appear as steep, rocky and ragged morphological steps. After the end of the Tertiary the formation of the valleys as we can see them today began. At first streams ran directly towards the Vistula River through the Krzeszowice Trench and Tenczynek Prominence, so carving their channels through soft Mioceneous residues. After reaching a harder substratum – and also as a result of the lowering of the level of the Vistula River – they were pulled eastwards and connected to form the Rudawa Valley. The lower parts on the Tenczynek Prominence were abandoned and in some cases reused by smaller flows, such as Sanka and Brzoskwinka. In the Quarternary i.e. the contemporary period in the Earth’s history (from 1.8 million years), the composition of the land took its current form. Older structures were largely covered by glacial deposits, such as loess on plateaux and hillsides, and sands were blown at the end of the glacial period (15 – 12 thousand years ago). A very important role in the formation of the land is played by karst effects, which involve the dissolution of carbonate rocks by rainwater. As a result karst springs, sink holes, drainless basin areas (e.g. in the Będkowska Valley), the typical local rock composition and, most importantly, numerous caves and rock shelters came into being. The geological composition can be explored further by following the red walking and educational trail. It passes through two old quarries in Zabierzów, where you can see different types of limestone which fill karts forms and Tertiary deposits and cut the rock faults.
Aleksandrowice – the first reference sources date back to the year 1401, after which the village was immediately taken over by the Kamiński. At the end of the 16th century, Stanisław Iwan Kamiński handed over his Aleksadrowice manor-house to the Cracow Calvinists, who intended to use it as a Protestant church. Back then, it was the only dissident centre in the area and its relocation in 1620 to Wielkanoc, near Miechów, brought an end to the reformation of Cracow. The Aleksadrowice manor-house fell into ruins almost completely over time and in its place, in 1900, Prince Dominik Radziwiłł, heir to the manor, built the existing, neoclassical mansion. Next to this is an annexe, constructed a little later, and further down by the road stand farm buildings erected at the end of the 19th century. The premises are surrounded by broad, rich greenery, ponds and a historic group of trees as well as by a partially preserved park.
Balice – a place more associated with Cracow than the gmina of Zabierzów, as the John Paul II International Airport Kraków – Balice is situated here. And history repeats itself, one may say, for in the golden 16th century the more prominent visitors, many of whom made stopovers in Balice on their way to Cracow, stayed at the royal-like residence of the Boner family, which later changed hands and belonged to the Firlej. Prior to wedding ceremonies, future queens were guests in the house: in 1543, the first wife of Zygmunt August, archduchess Elżbieta Rakuszanka, visited it; in 1553, the third wife of the king and a sister of Elżbieta- Katarzyna followed; future wives of Zygmunt III Waza, another king of Poland, started their wedding processions at the residence and walked toward Cracow. Later, in 1592 came Anna Austriaczka (Anne of Austria), followed in 1605 by her sister Konstancja (Constance of Austria). Henryk Walezy (Henry III of France) came to Balice twice in 1574, one visit being paid just before his coronation, and in 1596 cardinal Enrico Gaetano, an envoy of Pope Klemens VIII (Pope Clement VIII), came and held talks regarding the formation of a league of Christian powers against the Turks. Unfortunately, all the wars fought during the 17th century had a devastating effect both on the Boner residence as well as on the surrounding vineyards and orchards. At the end of the 17th century, Jan Szembek, another heir to the then tumbledown Boner mansion, built a completely new palace. However, it owes its present appearance to major reconstruction works conducted by the heir Prince Dominik Radziwiłł, between the years 1887-94. After the war, in 1950, the property of the Radziwiłł family was nationalised and handed over to the National Research Institute of Animal Production. During 1977 – 87, a thorough renovation was carried out, turning the residence into a conference and banqueting centre. It is surrounded by a vast landscaped park with a varied group of trees partly recalling the former Italian layout.
Bolechowice – What a beautiful place l So nice to look at, As if made for pastoral play (…) A forest, mountains, brooks and springs? Well, Bolechowice has all these things (…) – such were the words extolling the virtues of Bolechowice in a pastoral written in 1784 by Jan Paweł Woronicz, a poet, politician, archbishop of Cracow and Primate of the Kingdom of Poland. Maybe Woronicz composed these verses here, in Bolechowice, which partly belonged to the Cracow chapter due to an edict issued by Bolesław Wstydliwy (Bolesław V the Shy) in 1243; or even in the local manor, built at the end of the 18th century and preserved in its classical form since then. Bolechowice’s most famous landmark, however, is a gothic parish church, or to be more precise, its tall clock-tower built during 1912 -13. The oldest part of the sanctuary is a presbytery, from 1393, as well as part of the walls of a 15th century nave, later reconstructed in the 17th century and extended between 1912-13. The interior of the church is furnished mainly in a baroque style and worthy of attention is the main altar, with a painting from 1685 depicting the Crucifixion by Jan Trycjusz (Tretko), a court artist of the king Jan III Sobieski (John III Sobieski). Of earlier elements of the decoration, a piece of gothic artwork from 1410 – 20, found on the presbytery walls, is particularly interesting. It was discovered during the renovation works of the church that took place in the 1960s.
Brzezie – formerly divided into Brzezie Szlacheckie. A knightly property first mentioned in 1289. Also, Brzezie Narodowe, mentioned in around 1260 and which belonged to the Cracowian chapter. The remains of the park, created in the 19th century, and a granary from around 1920 remind us that there had once been a manor in the village. Nowadays it is to be found within the farm of the National Research Institute of Animal Production in Balice.
Brzezinka – the first mention of Brzezinka was made in 1427. Until modern times it was the property of the Cracow cathedral deanery. There was a manor in the 16th century, although no traces remain.
Brzoskwinia – even though the first mention of the village was not made until 1325, archeological excavations reveal that it already existed in the 12th century. Initially, it belonged to the local nobility and by the end of the 15th century the Tęczynski family claimed ownership of the land, which was part of the Tęczynski castle estate (in Rudno near Krzeszowice) until its nationalisation in 1945. It is worth pointing out that Brzoskwinia is one of the most prominent archaeological sites of the late Palaeolithic period i.e. 13-11 thousand years B.C. Between 1974-80, a flint mine was discovered within its territory, together with a set of pre-treatment workshops used for preparing the stones for further export.
Burów – although previously a separate village, from 1415, the date of its first mention through to modern times, Burów has been closely connected with Balice, due to their ownership relations. It was once surrounded by forests – probably the Puszczańskie – as a still-standing 600-year-old oak by the road to Kleszczów may indicate.
Karniowice –Due to an edict issued by Leszek Czarny (Leszek II The Black), in 1286 Karniowice became a knightly village and was later inherited successively by the Kmit, Tęczyński, Ossoliński and Morsztyn families. A local manor of the late baroque style, it is an extremely precious monument. It hails from the 3rd quarter of the 18th century. In 1860, Stanisław Mieroszewski, a Galician politician and the then heir to the relic, reconstructed it, adding skylights and a porch with a pediment bearing the Ślepwron coat of arms. Mieroszewski also renovated a baroque chapel that stands next to the manor, which had been built in 1624 by Jerzy Pipan, a Cracow pharmacist, doctor and the rector of the University of Padua (then University of Arts), who ruled Kamiowice for a short time. An altar with a marble, richly patterned antependium together with six marble epitaphs from 1665 – 75 have been preserved in the chapel’s interior.
Kobylany – the first mention was made in 1399, and until modern times, Kobylany was the property of the Cracow cathedral deanery. In the village there was also a manor with a farm, but the area in which they were located has been taken up by the buildings of the National Research Institute of Animal Production in Balice, and, of all the former buildings, only the manor chapel, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, has managed to stand the test of the time.
Kleszczów –prides itself on its scenic and ideal geographical location, near tranquil forests found in the vicinity of the towering Garb Tenczyński. First mentioned in chronicles in 1366, this noble village was an estate of Aleksandrowice at the beginning of the 15th century.
Kochanów – first mentioned in chronicles in 1470 as Chełm, the village developed from a little settlement by an inn which belonged to the Aleksandrowice’s estate. In 1896, Prince Eugeniusz Lubomirski, the then heir to Aleksandrowice, built a small, wooden manor meant for hunting. However, from its very beginning the manor functioned as a charity house for children and after the war was used as a school.
Młynka – the first records, dating back to 1418, suggest that Młynka was a noble village organised according to the German law. Please refer to Nielepice.
Niegoszowice – this once noble village was first mentioned in chronicles in 1373. It belonged to, among other families, the Niegoszowski, the Firlej, and, at the turn of the 19th century, to Michał Sołtyk, the dean of the Cracow cathedral chapter. During the first decade of the 19th century, Sołtyk built the current classical palace in the place of the former manor.
Nielepice – this village, whose historical records date back to 1400, is distinguished by the cross displayed since the middle of the 1870s (the current one being from 1971) which stands on a towering and scenic rock. One of the most interesting details about Nielepice regards the remains of the German field reinforcements. In 1944, in the face of the oncoming Soviet offensive, the Germans built the so-called B-1 line along the Polish Jura Chain. Not only did it consist of earthworks (ditches, ramparts) but also, more importantly, of passive blockhouses, combat shelters, separate fire positions as well as shelters and sheds grouped together into defense facilities located in strategically important places. Here, in Nielepice and the neighboring village of Młynka, a defense facility secured the road from Cracow to Katowice. A similar facility, made up of 3 shelters, secured the way from Rudawa to Brzezinki.
Pisary – this knightly village was first mentioned in chronicles in 1319. Pisary was the residence to two lines of the Pisarski’s family: in the Middle Ages, the Topór line (the Topór coat of arms), called Ryterski and then, from around the second half of the 16th century through to the beginning of the 19th, to the Pisarski of the Śreniawa coat of arms. In 1884, the Potocki counts of Krzeszowice acquired the village and retained it up to the 1930s. Nowadays it is a historical relic with a vast manor complex, of which the most precious monument is a Renaissance granary: originally a brick manor tower from the beginning of the 17th century. Opposite, surrounded by a badly devastated park, there is a late classical granary from the first half of the 19th century as well as a brick barn from the same period. Radwanowice – legends attribute the creation of the village to the knight Radwan, who was supposed to have been hiding in the surrounding forest after Bolesław Śmiały (Bolesław II the Bold) had killed the Bishop of Cracow, Saint Stanisław of Szczepanów (Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów). The village was first mentioned in historical records in 1329. It was a scattered noble property. One of the most tragic periods in the history of the village took place during the war, under the German occupation. The locals were actively engaged in the resistance movement. In revenge, on 20/21 July 1943 the Germans pacified the village by brutally murdering its 30 inhabitants. In 1945, the ashes of the victims were exhumed and solemnly buried in Rudawa cemetery. At the site of the execution a commemorative monument was unveiled.
Currently, Radwanowice is known for its Fundacja im. św. Brata Alberta (Saint Albert Chmielowski Charity Foundation), which provides help for mentally disabled people. One of the co-founders of the Foundation was Zofia Tetelowska (died in 2003), who, in 1998, bequeathed her possessions, including a former manor, to the charity. The building dates from the middle of the 19th century. In 1911, the Austrians transformed it into a border station (the border of the annexed territory run through the nearby Szklarki Valley). It has recently been renovated together with the adjoining farm buildings. In addition, new annexes and a church, by which there is a remarkable John Paul II monument, have been built.
Rudawa – one of the villages in the vicinity of Cracow with the earliest authenticated historical records. Comes Jan, who died in 1185 and is also known as Gniewomir, presented the Cracow Chapter with the village as well as a church. From that moment until 1939, Rudawa belonged to the Chapter. The local parish church is a precious historical building. Its early Gothic presbytery, built around 1300, is considered one of the oldest brick buildings in the Małopolska village. At the end of the 15th century, the original wooden nave was replaced by one of brick, before eventually being reconstructed at the beginning of the 17th century. A wooden belfry from 1541 as well as a Renaissance extension from 1631 adjoin the nave. Among the mainly baroque furnishings of the church, the altar, probably from before 1617, is particularly worth seeing. A gothic picture of the Virgin and Child (Hodegetria type), from around 1450, rests on it and is worshipped locally. It is covered by a painting of Saint Anna Samotrzeć which comes from around 1600, the Mannerism period. The church is surrounded by a wall with a gate built before 1783. In one corner there is a mortuary, the so-called “tower-clock” and latter belfry are also to be found within.
At the beginning of the 20th century Rudawa turned into a Cracow holiday resort. In the vicinity of the train station, new brick villas started to emerge, possibly following the example set by Antonina Domańska, the author of famous Polish children’s books (“Historia żółtej ciżemki” and others), who in 1896 built a distinctive “house with a turret”. In the summer of 1908, the Noble Prize-winning novelist, Henryk Sienkiewicz, stayed there. During that time, every morning, a local, likable boy named Staś Tarkowski delivered fresh milk to the writer. Shortly afterwards, Sienkiewicz gave the boy’s name to the main protagonist of a highly readable book “W pustyni i w puszczy” (“In Desert and Wilderness”). Antoni Procajłowicz, a painter and graphic artist, who was frequently visited by Stanisław Wyspiański, lived in Rudawa. Stanisław Smolka, a professor of Krakow’s Jagielonian Univeristy and historical advisor to Henryk Sienkiewicz settled there, as did the pre-war and perhaps slightly overlooked writer, critic and essayist Karol Ludwik Koniński.
Rząska – was originally, in the 14th century, a noble property. Between the middle of the 16th and the beginning of the 20th century it was divided between Clerical Rząska, belonging to the St. Mary’s Basilica in Cracow, and Noble Rząska. However, in 1915, another part of the village was acquired by the cardinal Adama Sapieha and soon it became the property of The Congregation of Albertine Sisters, who after 1950 turned a former 19th century manor, surrounded by a historic park, into a convent. Nearby, there are two ecological sites: “Podgołogórze”, with an area of 6.75 ha as well as “Uroczysko w Rząsce”, which covers 59.1 ha, protecting ponds and reed fields, water meadows and the sites of endangered species of swamp violets. Szczyglice – like Rząska in 1374, this village was originally divided into clerical and noble parts, but, as mentioned in historical records, was already part of the Balice estate by the 15th century.
Ujazd – first mentioned in reference sources in 1388. Ujazd remained a noble property as, in the 15th century it belonged to the Tęczyński, in the 18th to the Męciński, and, most recently, to the Albrzykowski in the in the 20th century. Of the former manor complex, only the remains of the landscape park from the end of the 19th century can be found. The park is surrounded by a historic group of trees.
Więckowice – the village was first mentioned in chronicles by Jan Długosz in 1440. He possessed it as a result of a prebend provided to him by The Cracow cathedral chapter. In 1804, the Florkiewiczowie acquired the properties of Więckiewice. In the second half of the 19th century, the family built the existing neo-gothic manor, adapted in 1953 for the needs of the current nursing home. The manor is surrounded by a vast landscaped park.
Zabierzów – with a population of 4600, Zabierzów is the largest and most developed village in the gmina. It is first mentioned in historical records as Rogoźnik, in 1254. It has, up to the present date, been the property of the congregation of Norbertan Sisters from Zwierzyniec, an administrative district of Cracow. In the 18th century, two conflagrations took place after which it was rebuilt in the form of a linear village stretched along the historic Gościniec Śląski, i.e. today’s road 79 Krakowska Street. By the road there is an impressive church from 1908 -1938, whose Gothic-like and relatively simple design is enlivened by a detached belfry. An obelisk standing opposite the old mill, near Rudawa, is a very interesting monument of contemporary history. It was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the Gestapo’s arrest of the Pogan family on 3 July 1943. Moreover, it reminds us that in 1941, the Pogan brothers Marian and Mieczysław, organised a group of forces to stay behind, called ZWZ. This was later transformed into the first partisan detachment of the Cracow’s AK Kedyw (AK- the Home Army; Kedyw – the acronym of Kierownictwo Dywersji,Polish Directorate of Sabotage and Diversion).
Zelków –. almost in the middle of this historically royal village, first mentioned in chronicles in 1403, stands a monument to Pope John Paul II by the Cracow sculptor Władysław Dudek.
With a population of 22000, Gmina Zabierzów is one of the largest gminas in Małopolska Voivodeship. It is located in the vicinity of Cracow and covers an area of 99.6 square kilometers. The Gmina has a rich and diverse history, picturesque Jurassic landscapes and modern energy infrastructure. Due to its safety, high living standards and investment opportunities it is an attractive and friendly place for inhabitants, tourists as well as investors.
Good communications with Cracow city centre support the continuous, dynamic development of the Gmina. The Kraków-Balice International Airport, an A4 highway entrance and a railway line are all to be found within the area. The Gmina Zabierzów has a current land utilisation plan, well-developed transport, water management, sewerage, gas and energy infrastructure. It also boasts contemporary educational facilities as well as Local Government Cultural Centre offering a wide range of activities for children, teenagers and adults. Furthermore, there is a broad range of recreational facilities in the Gmina such as a sports centre with an indoor swimming pool, sports and show arena seating 260 people, a modern stadium, stud, tennis courts, numerous climbing sites and stunning tourist trails. All of this means that the number of inhabitants, investors and tourists is still growing. Thanks to good management skills and the openness of both the local government and its inhabitants, the Gmina Zabierzów is regarded as an attractive place with excellent prospects for a rapid and steady development.