"City without God" Origin and changes of religious space new socialist and post-socialist cities

Organisers: Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka (Poland), Tomás Havlíček (Czechia), Katarzyna Kulczyńska (Poland), Justyna Liro (Poland), Izabela Sołjan (Poland)



The course aims to give students an insight into the tendencies and processes of new socialist satellite cities development. This type of cities were built in Central European in mid-1950s. By juxtaposing definitions and perspectives on Central European cities with those on Post-Socialist and Balkan cities, the course will combine a variety of approaches to cities of the region. In our project we want to pay special attention to the development of the religion in these cities.

Encountering not only similar development paths but also the political and social situation, as well as differences in urban development, students will develop a sense of regional characteristics, by understanding the logics and dynamics of the spatial framework of their church-state relations, religious and everyday life in socialist satellite cities.

Each lecture (30 mins) will focus on specific phenomena (such as church-state relations, public space, religious objects) by offering a picture in close-up of certain cities, such as Nowa Huta (contemporary district of Kraków, Poland), Havířov (Czechia), Eisenhüttenstadt (Germany).

Active Contribution

Case study (Nowa Huta, Eisenhüttenstadt, Havířov) (2 x 45 minutes long) seminar sessions led by geographers concentrated on questions such as identification and analysis of the distribution and meaning of the most important landscape elements in the city.

At all times the active contribution of the participants was expected, whether in the form of contributions to the seminars and work groups, as well as by way of presentation of their own comments and conclusions (for the topics, see below).


The seminars were supplemented by 5 hour excursion to Nowa Huta. The purpose of excursion is to show the relationship between the religious and the secular elements of space in Nowa Huta.

The route includes: Central Square, Mogiła Cistercian Abbey, St. John the Baptist, the Ark of the Lord, cross and the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


Deadline for registration: June 18, 2014

Registration via e-mail to Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka []

Applicants will be informed via e-mail to July 9, 2014.

Number of participants: min. 5 - max. 20.

Costs: ca. 10 PLN (tram ticket price)

Workshop schedule

Part 1, Wednesday, 20.08.2014, 9.00-10.45

9.00 - Theoretical background. Place of religion in socialist doctrine
(Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka)

9.30 - Comparison church state relations in Poland, Germany, Czechia and Hungary after the WWII

10.00 - New cities built in socialism. The reasons for the establishment, elements of public space and their functions during communist role
(Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka & TomᚠHavlíček)

10.45-11.15 - Coffee break

11.15 - Transformation of urban space socialist cities in transition (post-socialist city after 1990). Case study (Nowa Huta, Eisenhüttenstadt, Havířov). Identification and analysis of the distribution of the most important space elements in the city
(Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka, TomᚠHavlíček, Justyna Liro, Katarzyna Kulczyńska & Izabela Sołjan)

12.30 - Concluding remarks

Part 2, Friday, 22.08.2014

14.00-19.00 - Study excursion to Nowa Huta
(Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka, Justyna Liro & Izabela Sołjan)

Contact persons:

Elżbieta Bilska-Wodecka, Izabela Sołjan
Jagiellonian University
Institute of Geography and Spatial Management
7 Gronostajowa St.
PL-30-387 Krakow