The history of Zakopane goes back some 400 years. However, the beginnings of this place are not exactly known. It appears to have come into being when the seasonal shepherds settlements became transformed into permanent abodes. It is understood that the Settlement prerogative ( missing ) was issued by King Stefan Batory in 1578.

And the name? It appears for the first time in documents in 1605 and most likely it has its origin in the Polish word "kopane" ("zakopane"), which once meant the area grubbed up for glade.

Zakopane's career as a resort and holiday centre began in the second half of the19th century. This was after the beauty of Morskie Oko Lake and the charm of Koscieliska Valley, had been discovered by some very well known Poles who had been setting off their trips to Tatra mountains. They were: Stanislaw Staszic (who was here in 1803-1805 )- scholar and educator, Ludwik Zejszner (1829) - geologist, Seweryn Goszczynski (1840) - the author of "Journal of Journey to Tatra mountains" and Zygmunt Steszynski (1840) - the author of the poem "Tatry in 24 Pictures" (1840) Nevertheless.

In 1845 a parish was instituted in the village known as Zakopane, and its first parish-prist The Rev. Jozef Stolarczyk made an accommodation and tourist agency offices of his presbytery.

In 1873 Tatra Mountains Society (Towarzystwo Tatrzanskie) was called into being. One of its founders, Dr. Tytus Chałubinski "discovered" beneficial features in the climate of Zakopane and provided it with a spa status (1886).

In 1875 organization of hydrotherapeutic institutions began. The first one was founded in Kuznice by Dr. Ludwik Ganczarski. One of the biggest - Dr. Andrzej Chramiec in 1887.

In 1888 the Museum of Tatra Mountains was established, and ten years later - an antituberculitic sanatorium.

In 1899 a railway Chabowka - Zakopane was open, which was followed by radical increase in the number of tourists.

In 1907 Skiers Association of Zakopane ( Zakopianski Oddzial Narciarzy ) began its activities. They opened a skiing school for civilians.

During the First World War two famous Polish writers Jan Kasprowicz and Stefan Zeromski were among those who were struggling for independence here. The latter would become a leader of a movement known as "Rzeczpospolita Zakopianska" ( Zakopane Republic ) in 1st November 1918.

In 1929 Zakopane had 15,000 residents, in 1939 more than 20,000.

In the time between the two World Wars the great ski-jump was constructed on Krokiew (1925), two sport grounds in Rownia Krupowa were opened (1929), the lift to Kasprowy Wierch was put into service (1936), the railway to top of Gubalowka was built (1937) and power generating station was opened in Kamieniec (1937).

Zakopane received it’s city’s rights in 1933. None of the cities in Poland is located as high in the mountains as Zakopane. It is situated at the foothills of Tatra Mountains, in the basin between the latter and the crest of Gubalowka. Its urban area is at an altitude of 750-1000 m above sea level; the centre (Krupowki and Kosciuszki street crossing) is located 838m.

above sea level. Due to high altitude, Zakopane has mountain climate.

During the II W.W. Zakopane was occupied by Germans and became “closed town” nur fur deutch.

After the Second World War Zakopane became even more fashionable than before. The town was developed. New hotels, holiday-houses and residential areas were built. Numerous sport and cultural events were organized, as well as folk and film festivals. However, with the development of the city its function as a spa town began to decline; the antituberculitic sanatoriums and many other health institutions have been closed down.


As early as in 1910, an international skiing competition took place in Zakopane, and in 1929, 1939 and 1962 the FIS World Skiing Championships took place in Zakopane. Students have taken a special liking for Zakopane where they had their Olympic Games, the Universiade, in 1956 and 1993; Zakopane won the gold medal for their organization twice. The development of skiing facilities has been thwarted by the establishment, in 1954, of the Tatra National Park which borders Zakopane in the south. The national park, with Poland's highest peak

In 1969 the World Championships in Biathlon took place in Zakopane. The town has frequently been host to the competitors participating in World and Europe Cups in alpine and nordic skiing (as eg. World Cup in ski jumping in 1980, 1990, 1996, 1998-2012).

© Ośrodek Tuberoza - Zakopane. Realizacja projektu: Verakom