The wind in the willows | Royal Młynówka Park - the longest park in Poland
Let's be honest; this place is probably an attraction only for residents of Kraków who are looking for green walk routes in the city. You will not find any monuments or other tourist attractions here. What makes it unique (apart from its length, over 7 km)? To me, it is a historical background.
The park stretches along the old riverbed of the Młynówka (the millrace) - a water canal that used to set city mills in motion. The first mentions of it come from the 13th century. In the fourteenth century, it was expanded into a modern system at that time, which not only set the city mills in motion. It also provided water to the inhabitants of Krakow and the surrounding villages; irrigated the surrounding ponds and filled the defensive moats. The canal had reinforced banks, there were water damming devices on it, and the bottom was lined with brushwood, which purified the water. Medieval engineers created a system of wooden water pipes through which drinking water flowed to the city and the Wawel Royal Castle itself. It was a very modern and ambitious undertaking for those times.
The water supply system was destroyed during the Swedish invasion in the 17th century. From that time, the inhabitants drew water from the wells until the beginning of the 20th century. The water channel was still functioning, making the city mills in motion, but it was deteriorating. From the beginning of the 20th century, Młynówka was gradually filled up, as it frequently flooded and caused massive damage in the area. This process ended in the 1960s. Today only about 2 km of dry riverbed remain.
From this story, an idea was born. The first cleaning works began at the end of the 90s. A few years ago, the project "The Royal Młynówka - the longest park in Poland" was created. The project is being implemented gradually, thanks to the initiative of the inhabitants and money from the civic budget. Until recently, the area through which the dry Młynówka riverbed runs was very neglected and didn't encourage walking. Now there are alleys, benches, and information boards. And this is not the end of the work!
So, let's see what it looks like today.
We enter the park - a dry riverbed can be seen here very well. The wind in the willows sings about the old times, kings, and medieval engineers.
This part of the park is the most pleasant - it leads through undeveloped areas. While walking around here, it's easy to believe we're on a little trip out of town.
But we're still in the city :)
The route's most beautiful green section is about 2.5 km long. On one of Krakow's streets, I look at the Młynówka bed for the last time - in the other section, the channel is completely filled in, and only the path that marked its medieval course remains.
Młynówka disappeares for good, and we are entering the "real" city. There are still about 5 kilometers to go, and you could ask me what a pleasure it's to walk over an hour through a loud and crowded Kraków. And here there is a surprise - the route runs almost all the time along the alleys of city parks. Of course, there are places where you have to cross the street, and it's impossible to forget that we are back in civilization, but the walk is still a great pleasure.
The park officially ends in the center of the city, at Grottger Avenue, but I continue my walk. Nearby, there are two forts of the Krakow Fortress, the city's defense system from the 19th century, of which I am a great fan. I've already shown them to you, so just a few photos today.
Bastion III "Kleparz"
Fort „Warsaw Lunette”
I only discovered the Royal Młynówka Park and learned about the canal's history less than a year ago. And I have been living in Krakow since I was born! I'm sure many stories like this one are still waiting for discovery. As I've said many times - I love being a tourist in my town :)