The Rise and Fall of the Iron Curtain

The Rise and Fall of the Iron Curtain

Day 1 – Kraków
Arrival in Kraków, meeting with the guide at the airport. Transfer to the hotel for a welcome dinner with vodka tasting. Introductory walk in the Old Town. Overnight in Kraków.

Day 2 – Kraków
After breakfast, there will be a lecture about the political background of the period before taking a guided walk around the Old Town of Kraków and seeing the architectural delights of a city left mostly unmarked by both war and ill-conceived building projects. Coffee & cake break in a typical communist café. In the afternoon, a visit to a perfect example of the Stalinist economic dream, the Nowa Huta Steelworks. This huge complex was deliberately placed by the authorities to create a healthy working class and industrial injection to a city that had strong cultural and aristocratic traditions. Nowa Huta eventually became a threat to its creators, with strikes breaking out frequently, paving the way for the eventual fall of communism. Visit of the Museum of Communism "SocLand", opened in Nowa Huta in 2001, where you can experience Communism and feel the atmosphere of the past. Dinner and overnight in Kraków.

Day 3 – Kraków – Zamość
After breakfast, a drive to the town of Zamość. En route, there will be an opportunity to visit the fortified baroque castle in Nowy Wiśnicz, with its inner courtyard and fine decoration consisting of frescoes and stuccowork. It was here in the early 1980s that a group of union leaders and opposition activists were interned. Arrive in Zamość, the "Renaissance Jewel" placed on the UNESCO List in 1992. Short tour of the town, dinner and overnight in Zamość.

Day 4 – Zamość – Warsaw
Breakfast, journey to Warsaw and en route there will be a stop at the former baroque palace at Kozłówka. Today, it is a museum with over 1000 17th-19th-century paintings, but it is also famous for its unique collection of socialist art. The collection includes sculptures of Lenin, Stalin and Marx and over 1500 paintings, drawings and graphics depicting everyday scenes from communist life. Continue to Warsaw, arrive at the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 5 – Warsaw
Over eighty percent of Warsaw was destroyed during the Second World War, and the re-building of the city coincided with the emerge of Socialist Realism. The principles of Socialist Realism presented an idealised version of reality, glorifying the achievements of Communism with buildings constructed on a monumental scale. The imagery often verged on self-caricature with its heroes being party workers, hearty wenches and muscular labourers. The symbol of this era in Warsaw is the Palace of Culture, a monolithic Stalinist "wedding cake" that dominates the city's skyline. Visit to the Church of St Stanislaw Kostka, a centre for Polish pilgrims, who come to visit the tomb of Farther Jerzy Popiełuszko. Renowned for his courageous sermons in defence of Poland's freedom, he was eventually murdered by Communist security agents in 1984. Dinner and overnight in Warsaw.

Day 6 – Warsaw – Toruń – Gdańsk
Leave Warsaw and travel north to Gdańsk. En route stop in Toruń, the birthplace of Nicholas Copernicus, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Arrive at your hotel in Gdańsk. Introductory walk in the Old Town before dinner. Overnight in Gdańsk.

Day 7 – Gdańsk
Gdańsk achieved world-wide fame as the birthplace of the independent trade union "Solidarity", formed in 1980 as a result of strikes led by Lech Wałesa in the "Lenin Shipyards". Lech Wałęsa later became the first President of Independent Poland. Tour of Gdańsk including a visit to the Shipyards & Solidarity Monument and Westerplatte Penisula, where the first shots of WWII were fired. Farewell dinner with a communist flavour and overnight in Gdańsk.

Day 8 – Gdańsk
Check-out for departure transfer to Gdańsk airport.

 

Krupnicza 3

31-123 Kraków

tel. +48 12 422 58 40

ic@intercrac.com.pl

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