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View of Zakopane from Butorowy Wierch
View of Zakopane from Butorowy Wierch
Flag of Zakopane
Coat of arms of Zakopane
Zakopane is located in Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Zakopane is located in Poland
Coordinates: 49°18′N 19°57′E / 49.300°N 19.950°E / 49.300; 19.950Coordinates: 49°18′N 19°57′E / 49.300°N 19.950°E / 49.300; 19.950
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lesser Poland
GminaZakopane (urban gmina)
Established17th century
Town rights1933
 • MayorLeszek Dorula
 • Total84 km2 (32 sq mi)
Highest elevation
1,126 m (3,694 ft)
Lowest elevation
750 m (2,460 ft)
 • Total27,266[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
34-500 to 34-504
Area code(s)+48 18
Car platesKTT

Zakopane is a town in the extreme south of Poland, in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. From 1975 to 1998, it was part of Nowy Sącz Voivodeship; since 1999, it has been part of Lesser Poland Voivodeship. As of 2017 its population was 27,266.[1] Zakopane is a centre of Goral culture and is often referred to as "the winter capital of Poland". It is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing, and tourism.[2]

Zakopane lies near Poland's border with Slovakia, in a valley between the Tatra Mountains and Gubałówka Hill. It can be reached by train or bus from the provincial capital, Kraków, about two hours away. Zakopane lies 800–1,000 metres above sea level and centres on the intersection of its Krupówki and Kościuszko Streets.


A postcard of Zakopane from 1916

The earliest documents mentioning Zakopane date to the 17th century, describing a glade called Zakopisko. In 1676 it was a village of 43 inhabitants. In 1818 Zakopane was a small town that was still being developed. There were only 340 homes that held 445 families. The population of Zakopane at that time was 1,805. 934 women and 871 men lived in Zakopane.[3] The first church was built in 1847, by Józef Stolarczyk.[3]

Zakopane became a center for the region's mining and metallurgy industries; by the 19th century, it was the largest center for metallurgy in the region of Galicia. It expanded during the 19th century as the climate attracted more inhabitants. By 1889 it had developed from a small village into a climatic health resort. Rail service to Zakopane began October 1, 1899. In the late 1800s Zakopane constructed a road that went to the town of Nowy Targ, and railways that came from Chabówka.[3] Because of easier transportation the population of Zakopane had increased to about 3,000 people by the end of the 1800s.[3] In the 19th century, Krupówki street was just a narrow beaten path that was meant for people to get from the central part of town to the village of Kuźnice.

The ski jump on Wielka Krokiew was opened in 1925. The cable car to Kasprowy Wierch was completed in 1936. The funicular connected Zakopane and the top of Gubałówka in 1938.

Because of Zakopane's popular ski mountains, the town gained popularity this made the number of tourists increase to about 60,000 people by 1930.[3]

During the joint German-Soviet invasion of Poland, which started World War II in September 1939, the town was invaded by Germany, and the Einsatzgruppe I entered the town on September 4, 1939, to commit various crimes against Poles.[4] In March 1940, representatives of the Soviet NKVD and the Nazi Gestapo met for one week in Zakopane's Villa Tadeusz, to coordinate the pacification of resistance in Poland. Throughout World War II, Zakopane served as an underground staging point between Poland and Hungary.[citation needed]

From 1942 to 1943, 1,000 prisoners from the German Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp were set to work in a stone quarry.[5] In 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans deported thousands of Varsovians from the Dulag 121 camp in Pruszków, where they were initially imprisoned, to Zakopane.[6] Those Poles were mainly old people, ill people and women with children.[6] In mid-October 1944, there were 3,800 registered Poles, who were expelled from Warsaw, and probably another 3,800 unregistered expellees.[6] In January 1945, the Germans retreated from Zakopane and the German occupation ended.


The Zakopane Style of Architecture is an architectural mode inspired by the regional art of Poland's highland region known as Podhale.[7] Drawing on the motifs and traditions in the buildings of the Carpathian Mountains, the style was pioneered by Stanislaw Witkiewicz and is now considered a core tradition of the Goral people.[8]


The Tatras are a popular destination among hikers, skiers, ski-tourers and climbers.


The High Tatras offer excellent opportunities for climbing. Świnica is (2,301 metres (7,549 ft) high, view from Kościelec.

There is a network of well-marked hiking trails in the Tatras and according to the national park regulations the hikers must stick to them. Most of these trails are overcrowded, especially in the summer season.

The High Tatras offer excellent opportunities for climbing (up to X UIAA grade).

In summer, lightning and snow are both potential hazards for climbers, and the weather can change quickly. Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons. In winter the snow can be up to several meters deep.


In the winter, thousands arrive in Zakopane to ski, especially around Christmas and in February. The most popular skiing areas are Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka.[9] There are a number of cross country skiing trails in the forests surrounding the town.

Zakopane hosted the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1929, 1939, and 1962; the winter Universiades in 1956, 1993, and 2001; the biathlon World Championship; several ski jumping world cups; and several Nordic combined, Nordic and Alpine European Cups. It hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1939, the first outside the Alps and the last official world championships prior to World War II.[citation needed]

Zakopane made unsuccessful bids to host the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2011 and 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships.


Krupówki Street
Romanesque Revival Church of the Holy Family

Zakopane is visited by over 2,500,000 tourists a year.[citation needed] In the winter, Zakopane's tourists are interested in winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, snowshoe walks, and Ice skating.[10] During the summer, Tourists come to do activities like hiking, climbing, bike and horse ride the Tatras mountain, there are many trails in the Tatras.[10] Tourists ride quads and dirt bikes that you can rent. Swimming and boat rides on the Dunajec river are popular.[10] Many come to experience Goral culture, which is rich in its unique styles of food, speech, architecture, music, and costume. Zakopane is especially popular during the winter holidays, which are celebrated in traditional style, with dances, decorated horse-pulled sleighs called kuligs and roast lamb.

Popular tourist activity is taking a stroll through the town's most popular street: Krupówki. It is lined with stores, restaurants, carnival rides, and performers.

During the winter and summer seasons, Krupówki Street is crowded with tourists visiting the shops and restaurants.[10] In the summer, a local market along Krupówki Street offers traditional Goral apparel, leather jackets, fur coats, shoes, and purses.[10] Venders also sell foods like the famous oscypek smoked sheep cheese, fruit, vegetables, and meats. There are also many stands with Zakopane souvenirs.[10]

Zakopane is popular for nightlife. At night there are always people walking around town checking out the different bars and dance clubs. Most of these bars and dance clubs are located on Krupowki street. These are the bars that are located in Zakopane: Paparazzi, Cafe Piano, Anemone, Anemone, Cafe Antrakt, Literatka, Winoteka Pod Berlami, and Karczma u Ratownikow. These are dance clubs located in Zakopane: Vavaboom, Finlandia Arctic, Genesis, Rockus, Morskie Oko, and Cocomo Go-Go Club.[1]

A scene in Andrzej Wajda's film Man of Marble (Człowiek z marmuru) was filmed in Zakopane, introducing the town to a worldwide audience.

The mountain scenes from the Bollywood film Fanaa were filmed around Zakopane.

International relations[edit]

Zakopane participates in town twinning to foster international links.

Notable structures[edit]

Notable residents[edit]


Notable visitors[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b GUS. "Powierzchnia i ludność w przekroju terytorialnym w 2017 r." Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Zakopane - What To See in Poland's Winter Capital". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Local history - Information about the town - Zakopane - Virtual Shtetl". (in Polish). Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  4. ^ Wardzyńska, Maria (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. p. 58.
  5. ^ "Zakopane".
  6. ^ a b c "Transporty z obozu Dulag 121". Muzeum Dulag 121 (in Polish). Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Zakopane Style Museum Zakopane | Poland". Zakopane Life. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  8. ^ "The Tatra Museum - The Museum of the Zakopane Style". Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Seattle Times - Scenic Zakopane". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f altius. "Things to do in Zakopane and Tatra Mountains". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  11. ^ Monika Piątkowska, Prus: Śledztwo biograficzne (Prus: A Biographical Investigation), Kraków, Wydawnictwo Znak, 2017, ISBN 978-83-240-4543-3, p. 327.
  12. ^ Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: Kalendarz życia i twórczości (Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: A Calendar of His Life and Work), edited by Zygmunt Szweykowski, Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1969, pp. 232, 235, et passim.
  13. ^ a b c Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X, pp. 458–63.
  14. ^ a b Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X, pp. 463–64.
  15. ^ Mateusiak, Tomasz (9 March 2011). "Zakopane: Maria Skłodowska Cure kochała Podhale". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  16. ^ 1878-1957., Döblin, Alfred (1991). Journey to Poland. Neugroschel, Joachim., Graber, Heinz., Mazal Holocaust Collection. (1st American ed.). New York: Paragon House Publishers. pp. 211–227. ISBN 1557782679. OCLC 21950967.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X, p. 463.
  18. ^ Waclaw Szybalski, "The genius of Rudolf Stefan Weigl (1883 – 1957), a Lvovian microbe hunter and breeder": in memoriam, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705, USA.
  19. ^ Madeleine Masson, Christine: A Search for Christine Granville, G.M., O.B.E., Croix de Guerre, with a Foreword by Francis Cammaerts, D.S.O., Légion d'Honneur, Croix de Guerre, U.S. Medal of Freedom, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1975, p. 24.
  20. ^ Photo of HRH The Prince of Wales Thursday 13 June 2002, walking "around the lake Morskie Oko during a walk at Tatras National Park on the final stage of his tour of Poland"


  • Stanisław Kasztelowicz and Stanisław Eile, Stefan Żeromski: kalendarz życia i twórczości (Stefan Żeromski: A Calendar of His Life and Work), Kraków, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1961.
  • Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X.
  • Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: Kalendarz życia i twórczości (Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: A Calendar of His Life and Work), edited by Zygmunt Szweykowski, Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1969.

External links[edit]