Zakopane was fashionable from the beginning of our century and it has remained so. It was good to come here, to impress later – especially in the interwar years. Visiting him today is also in good taste, however, the opinion is gaining ground more and more, that snobi and the rich come to Giewont. Reliable tourists are saving the situation, who, continuing over a hundred years of tradition of hiking in the Tatra Mountains, they travel through Krupówki Street with backpacks as large as gas stoves, to follow the mountain valleys through the mountain valleys. People climb for different purposes depending on the season – in summer it is an adventure, "Completing trails", enjoying the space and proximity to heaven. Autumn, by the way, the most beautiful season in the mountains, it attracts slightly different tourists – lost, looking for themselves, wanting to cut themselves off from the lower world and other people with the wall of the Tatra Mountains. In winter, unfortunately, many find death through disregard for danger, lack of imagination and experience, stupidity, a sentence of fate.
Zakopane has long been hailed as the Polish capital of winter sports. The facilities were expanded – The Great Krokiew, three smaller jumps, ice rinks, cross-country ski tracks etc., this is where the eminent come from, famous athletes; Young staff is trained with particular care, although Stanisław Marusarz, multiple Polish champion in jumping comforted, that jumpers are not always born in the mountains. W 1998 r. a big question was asked, will it be in Zakopane in 2006 r. Winter Olympics, or not? Time will tell, Meanwhile, from December to March, cyclical prestigious skiing and tobogganing competitions still take place, snowboard and skating. But not only winter monopolized the sport. Recently, in the summer season, more and more interest is devoted to paragliding and mountain biking.
The town received city rights in 1933 r., but what a strange city it is. Look for yourself: except for a few rows of low tenement houses, built mostly at the beginning of the century – at Krupówki and partly at ul. Kosciuszko – will, boarding houses, single-family houses and cottages. As you can see, this urbanity is not based on the size of houses, nor in the width of the streets; has a justification in the importance of the place, in its uniqueness.
Actually, if not for the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane would not be there – the beauty of the Tatra nature, its partially preserved wildness evokes the archetype of an ancient environment. It used to be famous as a health resort. Today this function loses its raison d'être, because the air does not differ much from the fumes-covered air on the streets of Wrocław or Gdańsk. And although you have to climb high into the mountains to get the crystal gulp, no one will miss the tourist tax at the bottom.
Zakopane has always fascinated with the exoticism of the highlander people. Today, highlanders seem less romantic. Entangled in a big tourist business, thanks to which they can earn a lot of money for many years, they lost their good-natured and sincere countenance in the eyes of the visitors. They associate themselves as calculated, even greedy businessmen, unscrupulous traditions and folklore. Also on their account are critical remarks about the poor management of the city and the subordination of its interests, as an open-air museum, the interests of capitalism and free trade.
Zakopane at the end of the 20th century evokes quite mixed feelings. At first, it may present itself with dull gray and remnants of the climates of the communist era. You can also get the impression of the inconspicuousness of many historic famous buildings and simply miss them between flashy advertisements or modern, eye-catching objects – opinions are heard, that there is chaos, confusion of styles, there is no coherent urban concept. But these not-so-good impressions fly away in the face of the real Zakopane, which you will discover for yourself, dear reader. Because you have to discover them, looking at the old Kościeliska, venturing into Kuźnice, or inhaling the atmosphere of Atma. Sooner or later you will understand the beauty of the Zakopane style, created by Witkiewicz senior, and you will discover the inspiring power inherent in old interiors. Your own expectations and knowledge of the traditions of this strange non-city city will help you in this discovery. Or maybe it will, that you will discover yourself? Because what is buried, it has to be unearthed, and many wonderful treasures have been hidden in Zakopane. So get to work! Hello!
A sip of statistics about Zakopane:
• The largest town in Podtatrze, situated in Rowo Podtatrzański, in the outskirts of the Tatra Mountains,
• Belongs to the Małopolskie voivodship.
• The highest situated town in Poland, lies at a height 730-1000 m n.p.m.
• Counts approx 30 thousand. permanent residents, including approx. 5 thousand. comes from the old nineteenth-century highlander families, the rest are non-mountaineers from Zakopane.
• Visits them over 1,5 million tourists a year.