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Kraków was to become an important hub for water transport. The idea came to light in 1901, when the Vienna State Council adopted the so-called the Koerber Act (from the name of the Austrian Prime Minister Ernst von Koerber, initiator of its adoption). The venture had a huge budget (1 billion kroner); it assumed the construction of new waterways...

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Kraków was to become an important hub for water transport. The idea came to light in 1901, when the Vienna State Council adopted the so-called the Koerber Act (from the name of the Austrian Prime Minister Ernst von Koerber, initiator of its adoption). The venture had a huge budget (1 billion kroner); it assumed the construction of new waterways within the monarchy. A water connection between the Danube-Vistula and the Vistula-Dniester was to be established. The act was passed in a mood of enthusiasm; its appearance mobilized the Kraków municipal authorities to broaden the city limits, because the river port was to be built in Dębniki, Ludwinowa and Zakrzówka, which would mean that profits from port operations would be taken by Podgórze (which would probably absorb these districts), not Kraków. The result was the creation of so-called Great Kraków, crowned with the annexation of Podgórze in 1915.
At the same time, work was undertaken on the construction of the planned waterways. In addition to the construction of the aforementioned canal, the Vistula embankments were established on both banks, up to the mouth of the Kościelnicki Stream and on the right bank thereafter. In Kraków itself, representative boulevards with retaining walls, strengthening the steep banks of the river, were created. On the occasion of the regulation of the Rudawa being undertaken, a new river channel was built, with its mouth in Zwierzyniec, near the Norbertine convent. The connection between the Vistula and the Danube, however, was not established, as the cost was much higher than expected. Furthermore, the project aroused the concern of railwaymen, who were afraid that  water transport connections would take part of their profits. The pressure of the railway lobby resulted in the expansion of railway lines and the gradual abandonment of the canal construction idea.
The “Vienna Waterway Act” of 1901 envisaged the construction of the Danube-Vistula Canal. How would this have looked for Kraków? The construction of the port of Płaszów was planned. The traces of this engineering investment have survived in the area surrounding  Skawina. The straightening of the Wilga channel in Kraków was connected with the construction of the canal. In 1907, the construction of boulevards commenced according to the technical design of the engineer, Roman Ingarden, the designer and builder of the Kraków water mains. Between Kazimierz and Podgórze, the banks of the Vistula were  included in the monumental retaining walls, finished in a style combining the influence of historicism and modernism. Their extension consisted of earth flood embankments (with masonry sections), of which elements had already been constructed between 1870 and 1900s. The main stage of boulevard completion ended in 1912; one port basin was built in Płaszów. The works were interrupted by the World War I; the process of regulating the flow of the Vistula — in Kraków and outside the city — was continued after the World Wars I and II. The concept of the port of Kraków was later abandoned.

Elaborated by Małgorzata Kanikuła (Museum of Photography in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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“Danube channel — Vistula — 2”

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