The alternative Poland on show in Wrocław

April 3, 2015

The spirit of resistance is alive and well in the post-punk underground of Wrocław, once Poland’s ‘fortress of Solidarity’ and set to be European Capital of Culture in 2016

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Hubert the anarchist is showing me around Centrum Reanimacji Kultury (CRK), a non-profit, post-punk commune epitomising the spirit of resistance in Wrocław (pronounced “Vrots-wav”), Poland’s fourth largest city. CRK’s courtyard is covered in street art, including early work by Mariusz Waras (aka M-City), and from rehearsal rooms I can hear violins and vocals that remind me of Warsaw Village Band.

Inspired by London’s Reclaim the Streets collective, Hubert set about developing this “DIY social/cultural centre” in Nadodrze, a downbeat former industrial area. Nowadays, he focuses on his band, Kurws, and, as a cultural activist, on protecting the right to drink alcohol outdoors on the city-centre island between two arms of the Oder river – home to summer gigs and screenings. Until recently, it was the only place in Poland where it was legal to drink in the open.

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