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Cracow. Destroyed stairs in Nowa Huta like Polish Machu Picchu. It is surrounded by tape and covered with moss

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They call it “Polish Machu Picchu”, because like the old Inca city, they are a picture of a wildly overgrown ruin. The devastated stairs in the Szkolne housing estate in Kraków’s Nowa Huta district have been sealed off with tape for years, and there are no plans for renovation so far. “It’s a masterpiece of ancient engineering,” the residents joke. However, it is not funny for the elderly and disabled, for whom broken grades are a serious obstacle.

Everyone sees the stairs. Overgrown with moss, surrounded by tape, devastated. Inaccessible to the residents of Kraków’s Nowa Huta, who have been walking their heights through the green for years. At the steps in the Szkolne housing estate, you can see the well-trodden paths that have been created over the years. How long? Nobody knows. Residents admit that they themselves do not know when the stairs were last opened.

Stairs like Machu Picchu on the Szkolne housing estate in Krakow’s Nowa HutaKrakow for Residents

“Polish Machu Picchu”, “art of ancient engineering”, “an attraction we need, but we don’t deserve”

The appearance of the stairs covered with greenery reminds the inhabitants of the ruins of the famous Peruvian city of Machu Picchu. It is hardly surprising, because “ruin” is a word that comes up in our conversations with the inhabitants of Nowa Huta several times. In online maps, the place was jokingly described as a tourist attraction. Visitors to “Nowu Hutu – Polish Machu Picchu” praise the construction for its unique atmosphere, the show of “ancient engineering” and for the possibility of free sightseeing with the family. “Green concrete is an attraction we need, but we don’t deserve,” writes Michał. Minuses? “They don’t sell fridge magnets or other souvenirs,” Agnieszka complains.

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Stairs like Machu Picchu on the Szkolne housing estate in Krakow’s Nowa HutaKrakow for Residents

However, the matter is much more serious than it might seem. ‘I’ve been working on these stairs for seven years now and I don’t remember them ever being open. Once, however, they were in a better condition, although they were still surrounded by tape – Mr. Radosław tells us. – About five years ago, a failure was being repaired in this place, then heavy equipment drove onto the stairs. The excavators destroyed these steps to the rest – he adds.

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So far, the stairs have not been repaired. From time to time, the youngsters break the tape for fun, which soon reappears in its place.

Trouble for seniors and people with disabilities

For the residents of Nowa Huta, the characteristic stairs are everyday difficulties. Nearby there is a boarding school, a theater, a sports center and – right next to “Now Hutu” – the Municipal Day Care Home. Its services are used by the elderly and people with mobility disabilities, whose jokes about the devastated passage between two levels of the pavement are less amusing.

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– Bearing in mind what is the purpose of the buildings around, the city is obliged to repair the stairs. They must be adapted to the needs of the elderly and people with physical disabilities. This is a problem for everyone, because you can clearly see that the ground is trampled on both sides of the stairs. Residents inevitably use the green area as a route – tells us Małgorzata Szymczyk-Karnasiewicz, Nowa Huta activist, initiator of the social campaign “We need sidewalks offline”. The social worker points out that the stairs should not only be repaired, but also adapted to the needs of people with disabilities.

Szymczyk-Karnasiewicz believes that the many years of neglect of the stairs is “shocking”. – It is certainly possible to fix this situation, because we have intervened many times in matters related to pedestrian infrastructure in Nowa Huta and they usually ended positively. Now we also hope that the office will pay attention to the needs of residents – emphasizes the activist.

Councilor intervenes in the matter of “Polish Machu Picchu”

In the matter of “Polish Machu Picchu”, the intervention was announced by councilor Łukasz Gibała, the leader of “Krakow for the residents”, who announced that he would submit an interpellation on this topic. – The stairs have been taped off because they are most likely a safety hazard. And if they pose a threat, they should be renovated – emphasizes the councillor.

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The politician believes that the matter is urgent. “I hope to get it repaired this year.” It should not be a significant expense, especially for a city with a budget of PLN 8 billion – says the councillor. A possible renovation will most likely have to be approved by the city conservator of monuments, because the urban layout of Nowa Huta is entered in the register of monuments.

We sent questions to the press office of the magistrate regarding the unusual “tourist attraction” on the Szkolne estate. We are waiting for answers.

Author:Bartholomew Plewnia

Main photo source: Krakow for Residents

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