“The Ravens” House at 25 Main Square witnessed major political and historic events that played out in the centre of Krakow, as well as the everyday life of its citizens, fairs, celebrations, and cultural events. The Jesuits made plans for their church and collegium to be built in this location. Over the course of several centuries the townhouse served as an aristocratic palace, Krakow’s social salon, the district head’s office, bank, the seat of the NSDAP for the General Government, the office of the Committee of the Polish Workers’ Party, a publishing house, dancing school, and a bookshop. Since 1991 it has served as the seat and representative venue of the International Cultural Centre.
This comprehensive biography of one address in Krakow’s Main Square is a result of the work of many authors representing several professions and a variety of experiences. Kamila Follprecht reconstructs the history of the townhouse owners and residents since the 16th century until the present day. Adam Małkiewicz recalls the Jesuit plans for the building of a church and the order’s headquarters. Jacek Purchla reconstructs the 19th-century history of the building, as well as examines its complex history after the political transition of 1989. Żanna Komar presents previously unknown archive materials that shed new light on the changes introduced to the building’s structure during WWII. Moreover, the book features Andrzej Kurz’s text on the beginnings of Wydawnictwo Literackie, which was based in the Ravens House in 1956–1972, as well as Bronisław Maj’s essay on the decade of 1980s when “Student” bi-weekly magazine’s editorial office was based at 25 Main Square. The book closes with Michał Wiśniewski’s analysis of the 1998–2009 reconstruction and renovation of the building.
A History of an Address is a microhistory richly illustrated with archive materials and photographs which reflects the history of this exceptional place as well as the history of Krakow – a Central European metropolis. In the introduction, Jacek Purchla, the founder and long-term director of the ICC, writes: “Professor Andrzej Chwalba, the book’s first insightful reader and its critical reviewer, noted that the book is like a »Persian rug, thick, solid and visually attractive«. Let this carpet filled with our history and our memory be a testament of our respect and care for the heritage accumulated under the roof of »The Ravens« House at 25 Main Square in Krakow.”