Unloved Krakow: Liban Quarry

Just southeast of Krakus Mound in Podgórze lies the Liban Quarry. Utterly confusing, disturbing and beautiful, it’s a strange mish mash of natural habitat, former limestone quarry, WWII work camp and film set.

We first spotted it from the mound, then followed a path by the Podgorze Cemetery and made our way to the bottom. It seems to be technically not open to the public, but there’s nothing there to stop you going in. Inside is where things get weird. There are grand old rusting lime kilns and other bits of machinery that make me think ‘I wish I’d listened in limestone extraction procedures’ class.

Turns out the quarry was first established by Liban and Ehrenpreis in 1873, then in World War Two it was used as a labour camp (Podgórze was the site of the Jewish Ghetto and Plaszow Concentration Camp). In 1993 Spielberg used it to film the concentration camp scenes of Schindler’s List here, obvs not wanting to film on the site of the concentration camp itself. Bizarrely, the props were never fully removed so 17 years on there are barbed wire fences battling with brambles, looking all the world like the remains of an actual concentration camp, enough to confuse and disturb three exploring erasmus students.

Most strange is the pathway paved with cracked Jewish ‘gravestones’ – but they’re *not* gravestones, they’re fake, made from plaster casts of actual headstones.

A still from the film:

Makes for a confusing mix of scenery. On top of this, the fact that it is so overgrown means that there’s loads of snails and birds and rustling coming from the undergrowth.

It’s weird how this huge site, within walking distance from Main Square, is still abandoned and seemingly forgotten about. When we were there, a sunny afternoon, the only others about were two goths drinking cans on the cliff edge, and a young couple looking at the view (perhaps we ruined the mood by sitting nearby drawing).

There’s some abandoned buildings overlooking the quarry which I would no way want to be in after dark, and, just to complete the wtf quota, an army of multicoloured recycling bins being stored on the way back out (ie a gap in the fence in what looked like the right direction)
Pro of getting the the lend of a 50mm f/1.4 lens from Paddy: going mad on shallow depth of field. Con of lens: no overall pictures of the quarry :(

Click on images for larger size!

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6 Responses to Unloved Krakow: Liban Quarry

  1. Camille says:

    Hitler is a Tirówka! means that Hitler is a truck-stop prostitute. And Mycha is someone’s nickname :)

    • claire says:

      adding tirówka to my vocab, thanks camille.

      this place looks so spooky. we’ll have to watch schindler’s list and see if you recognize it.

  2. Paul Griffin says:

    having almost passed Liban Quarry by on past rips to Krakow, I’m intending to stop off here next year but to save a bit of seraching, what’s the best (and safest!) route into the site? Cheers.

  3. Fuchsia says:

    Hello! As far as I can remember, it was a tram from the centre, down Wielicka, then walking up the hill to Krakus Mound (which has a great view from the top anyway). From there you can see into the quarry and If you go around the back of the mound to the south, there’s a bit of path you can follow in between the cemetery and the quarry that leads down, and you’ll be led into the quarry near the machinery.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My wife and I went there when she was pregnant with our daughter. It was VERY stupid. The area is totally abandoned, we stood out as tourists of the beaten track. I would strongly advise that you go as a group and somebody knows if you are going there. Looking back, it was interesting but still gives me disconcerting dreams now.

  5. Bago says:

    I found this place by accident few days ago as my first trip to Płaszów camp. I have no idea there is that quarry so it was wonderful. There was a huge fog, so I found that towers while going further. Water was partly frozen. And surprisingly there were 4 deers. It was amazing experience, and that silence.

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