The city of Krakow, Poland has been nominated as " The Culture Capital of the world " in the year 2000. UNESCO as well as the European Community announced this. There are few special places on earth, which bring a gift of such Cultural Heritage to all humankind. The city has constantly set examples to improve the quality of our lives, while challenging us both in Science as well as Art. As far as culture is concerned, very few spots hold such a long record of consistent tradition within it's own physical boundaries.
At a time when so much of the world tries to tackle, buy or embrace the meaning of Culture, Krakow, just through it's own natural course in history, may just hold many of the answers. In a world of accelerating technology, but growing isolation between us humans, the city provides the best thriving example of how a setting may just solve the eternal puzzle of what culture really is. We try to grasp the reason behind the impersonal coldness encroaching our world. The reason may simply be that through the course of urbanization being North Americans, we have chosen the route of the quick fix instead.
The plan is to produce an in depth, entertaining, ethnographic documentary film, or a look at Krakow through the eyes of experts as well as those of innocence, being that of youth. This will be achieved by dabbling in a historical and contemporary study of the city's art, music, architecture and lifestyle. A few chosen characters with their own zeal and yearning for the answer to the meaning of culture will thus take us on this journey of discovery. The plan is to use the very finest of academic know how and combine it with the forays of expatriate Poles, as their children and friends discover what had always been viewed as a very distant "old country " before.
Our controversial odyssey will therefore pass and examine the architecturally faceless mall, the six lane highway with one driver in each car, as well as North American icons such as Las Vegas as we try to emulate " culture " in our own way. There will even be an attempt to see the " raison d'Étre " of our present " lost youth ", the punks, the skinheads, as they struggle with trends and fashions, while they seek a true identity.
While cities such as Paris, Vienna and Rome grew into enormous " megalopolis " proportions, Krakow remained relatively small in comparison to its sheer age. Today greater Krakow has only one million inhabitants while the old city alone holds only 150, 000 people. Yet Krakow, a city of the same size as Vancouver, Canada, manages to support 17 regular theatres, seven days a week, as well as 43 museums. This raises the question, is art perhaps only a rare commodity for mainly an elite audience here, being North America, while it is the masses or the people who support it in places like Krakow? What is the reason for this? These are just some of the answers we hope to achieve with the documentary.
The filmmakers goal is to portray a feeling of such enchantment with Krakow in the audience, which will make anyone question the very essence of their own purpose, roots and existence. It is our intent to treat the case of Krakow as one of, not just a city, but an almost living organism, which can not help to, but actually perpetuates culture's growth.
KRAKOW FACT SHEET & HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
In Paleozoic times the region was noted as being full of places where tools were manufactured.
Only the Mongols in 1241 ever managed to destroy a large portion of the city. Even through that time there were buildings left standing which date back to 750 AD.
Krakow's importance dates back to 1250AD when the city was offered to take on Christianity of it's own free will, while the rest of the world had it forced upon them through religious wars or totalitarian conquest.
The city was an east-west link between the Byzantine Empire of Constantinople and to the Black Sea and beyond.
In 1364 Jagelonian University was established. One of its students discovered that the sun, not the earth was the center of the universe. That student was Mikolaj Kopernikus who studied in Krakow between 1491 And 1495. It was also here that North and South Americas appeared for the first time on any globe. That same globe is still on display in Krakow today.
There are nearly 500 art organizations and associations in the city alone.
The first and only time in history, the Russians were ever officially defeated in a war, was by the Poles in 1920. It was then, when Joseph Pilsudski led an army departing and staging the attack from Krakow. Then, he drove the Russian army from Poland right to the gates of Moscow. This was a task which both Napoleon as well as the Nazis failed on.
A major American Revolution visionary and hero was Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Kosciuszko was a world renowned freedom fighter who also contributed to the American Revolution. He made his pledge of allegiance in Krakow in 1794. His work is recognized around the globe as landmarks such as the highest peak in Australia is also named after this man.
In 1978 , the bishop of Krakow is announced as Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.
Also in 1978 Krakow was declared as being part of the world's twelve greatest heritage sites. This was declared by the entire European Community
There are 2.3 million officially sanctioned pieces of art in the city alone. 1.6 million of these are in public museums . 700,000 are adorning the real estate belonging to the Church.and private collections.