July 15, 2023: I anticipated this for months: The Krakow Planty Run, through the park that rings Krakow’s old town. Thank heavens for “Planty” of shade!
The “Charon” heat dome has enveloped Europe for days. Italy, Spain, and Greece have had the worst of it, with highs of 118F predicted for Sardinia. The Greeks even closed the Acropolis! Central Europe has been no exception, with temperatures in Prague and Krakow about 15F hotter than monthly averages.
But that’s no excuse; I want this run!
Running the Planty
With the advent of cannon, medieval city walls and moats were of little use. So in the 1800s the Habsburg (Austrian) Empire had them leveled in their leading cities, creating beautiful parks in their stead.
Krakow’s walls become the “Planty”, from the Polish word for “flat” – a word every runner loves. This shady park circles the old town for 2.5 miles. I found two other routes on Great Runs and connected them for a hot but inspiring morning run.
While Krakow’s medieval history and architecture are interesting, the more recent past is dark. The WWII Jewish Ghettos were horrifying, and the atrocities of Auschwitz-Birkenau are just 42 miles to the west.
But there are bright spots of humanity here as well: Oskar Schindler’s factory (Schindler’s List) is east of the ghetto. From a nearby Nazi stone quarry, Karol Józef Wojtyła survived forced labor join the seminary. He become Pope John Paul II, and brought and end to the next evil – Soviet Communism.
Krakow’s history is worth a deeper dive, perhaps in later posts.
For now, enjoy a few joyous contemporary pics of this beautiful city from The Krakow Planty Run.