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Krakow History

The Beauty Of Zakrzówek Lake



Zakrzówek lake in Krakow

The story of how Zakrzówek was created is one that always amuses me. Up until 1991, Zakrzówek had been a limestone quarry, with Pope John Paul II even working there during the second world war.

Then on one fateful day in 1991, after the quarry had reached 180 meters deep, a water pipe was accidentally pierced and this beautiful lake was formed.

lake Zakrzówek
Photo by Sam Gillies

I have always imagined that a miner had started his first shift at the quarry, had finished his training and was left in charge by his supervisor who nipped off for the day only to return to find this where his quarry used to be.

krakow lake

This lake has always been one of my favourite places in Krakow, which has always been enhanced by being a place that tourists don’t seem to really know about.

That’s probably a good thing really, considering the lake has become officially prohibited. With a fence currently being found wrapped around the entire exterior.

However as you’d expect, there are multiple entry points, and if you’re happy to climb through a hole or hop over the fence then you’re able to enter inside and see the beautiful lake inside.

cliff jump
Photo by Sam Gillies

Cliff jumping and swimming at Zakrzówek

Inside you can swim in the blue water and also cliff jump off of some of the ledges. Cliff jumping off the one pictured above has always been a one of my favourite things to do in Krakow.

Although having witnessed an insane Australian jump off the highest ledge once, personally i’d stick to some of the smaller jumps.

Zakrzówek wildlife

There are absolutely some fish in the water though, so watch out for a rogue carp swimming beneath your legs. There have even been a few stories of snakes hanging out around the lake as well.

However, the sad reason it’s become prohibitive to go there is because of the multiple deaths that have happened over the years. In particular 2 this summer has resulted in the lake being officially ‘closed’ until 2021.

So caution is absolutely advised, don’t turn up drunk or drop acid and attempt to jump, and stay away when it’s dark.

Diving at Zakrzówek

Zakrzówek diving school
Photo by Sam Gillies

For years there’s been a diving school that has operated there, and there’s a multitude of fantastic videos you can find on YouTube where you can see the old mining equipment, cars and buses that still lurk beneath the surface.

However, the diving school remains closed until the lake officially opens up again.

BBQs at Zakrzówek

The areas that surround the lakes are also a great spot to have a BBQ, a couple of beers and just watch what is happening around the lake.

The future of Zakrzówek

With the City Green Board officially closing the lake for the next few years, I do wonder what will become of Zakrzówek. The cities plans are ambitious; paths, bathing facilities, playgrounds, restaurants, and a water sports center. This sounds fantastic if it happens but it’s certainly not going to be the relatively secluded place that it was. If tourists hadn’t heard of it before they certainly will in the future.

Read more from Sam Gillies.

Sam Gillies, the founder and editor of Best of Krakow. Purveyor of Krakow posts, lists, stories, videos and photos. Having spent various summers in Krakow taking tourists around, Sam spends his time in between Bristol in the UK and his favourite city, Krakow.

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Krakow Guides

16 Unusual Facts about Krakow



krakow facts

These facts about Krakow may just surprise you

1. Schindler’s List was filmed in Kazimierz.

2. A trumpet plays his trumpet four times each hour from the top of St. Mary’s Basilica.

The trumpet always finishes earlier, as it pays homage to the moment in 1240 when a trumpeter warning the city about an attack was killed by an arrow.

 3. There’s a shit load of pigeons in the market square

And not just that, they’re supposedly meant to be enchanted soldiers of a Duke from the 13th century.

4. Krakow’s university is the 2nd oldest in central Europe. It was founded in 1364

5. 200,000 out of 760,000 people in Krakow are students.

6. Which probably explains why 60% of Krakow’s population is younger than 45

7. A lake formed in nearby Zakrzowek in 1991 in an old quarry after the quarry was dug too deep and water was struck

lake Zakrzówek
Photo by Sam Gillies

8. Krakow was the capital of the Nazi ruled Central Government

9. There’s a massive head sculpture in the market square. It represents the head of the love god, Eros Bendato

10. The old town became a designated world heritage site in 1978 by UNESCO

11. In the market square on the wall of the cloth hall, there is a knife that is hanging from a rope

Apparently it’s the knife that a man used to kill his own brother after he built a tower that dwarfed his own. Fair enough…

12. Krakow’s market square is the largest in Europe

And it probably has more pigeons than any other as well…

13. The market square of Krakow was voted the world’s most beautiful square in 2013 by Lonely Planet

14. From 1038 to 1596, Krakow was the capital of Poland.

15. Pope John Paul II used to be the archbishop of Krakow.

john paul

16. In 2000, the European Union named Krakow the official European Capital of Culture

Read more from Sam Gillies.

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