Kraków Gasworks

The gasworks located at 16 Gazowa Street were built in the years 1856-1857 by the German Continental Gas Company of Dessau. The oldest gasworks buildings were designed by a German engineer, Seizig, and the first director of the plant was also a German engineer, Konrad Voss. Gasworks produced gas for Kraków until 1968.

In the first period of operation of the gas plant, in the 1860, gas was produced only for the purpose of lighting the city. The technology was based on the process of dry distillation of coal and gas obtained contained mainly hydrogen and methane as combustible ingredients.

Before the gasworks opened, the Streets of Kraków were lit by rapeseed oil and kerosene lamps. The first gas lamps, powered by gas produced in Kazimierz at Gazowa Street, flared on December 22, 1857 at the Market and soon on the main Streets of Kazimierz, Stradom, the Old Town and Lubicz Street as well. The strength of the light gas was calculated then using the Vienna method, ie. Converted to glow of wax candles. The lamps and lanterns of the so-called first class used in Kraków at that time consumed 5 cubic feet of gas per hour and shone at about the strength of 12 wax candles. The smaller, second class ones, consuming 4 cubic feet of gas per hour, gave light of 9 - 10 wax candles. The lighting power was regulated by a contract between the municipality and a German company. In 1864 gas supply to the other bank of the Vistula, to Podgórze, began as well.

In 1886 the city of Kraków bought the gasworks and from then on it was a municipal enterprise, which accelerated its expansion. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s, the gasworks produced ammonia, coal gas, and since 1907 also water gas by blowing steam into high-temperature coke. Until 1908, the Kraków power plant at Dajwór Street was a part of the gas plant.

The plant had its own water intake and water tower, as well as a railway siding leading to the Grzegórzki station, in the place where it today Galeria Kazimierz is located. Characteristic devices of the gasworks, unfortunately not preserved, were gasometres – cylindrical gas tanks. The Kraków gasworks had three of them, the last one – the largest – was built in the year 1900.

However, the developing city and industry needed more and more gas. In 1952 for the first time the city supply was supplemented with natural gas, i.e. methane, and since 1958 the production of coke oven gas to satisfy the needs of the city was taken up by the steelworks in Nowa Huta.

Production of gas in gasworks in Kazimierz was discontinued in 1968, but the old plant still houses the management of the gas plant, which today operates in the gas distribution business.

From among the historic buildings, the administrative buildings, a residential building with a garden, a former workers common room, a laboratory, the so-called new boiler and a water gas plant have been preserved. In several places in the city we can still see the gas lamps – they are located in the Cloth Hall and at the entrance gate to the gas plant.

The object is currently not available to the public.

More information:

M. Seifert, Rozwój Krakowskiej Gazowni Miejskiej w latach 1918-1928, Kraków 1929

Krakowska Gazownia Miejska 1856-1950. Katalog wystawy, Zakład Gazowniczy w Krakowie i Museum of Urban Engineering in Krakow, Kraków 2002