Shedding light on Rynek Glowny

A mysterious – and tacky – structure has turned up on Rynek Glowny.It’s a big shed made of roofing paper. Krakow residents are wondering what it is. Because it’s attracting a lot of pigeons, some think it’s a roosting place.Others think it’s a tool-storage shed left behind by the workers who repaved the surface of the square.Japanese tourists happen by. One asks the guide if the shed is a tourist attraction. The guide assures him it isn’t.Finally, someone comes up with an “X-Files” idea: Maybe it is a secret entry to underground Krakow. The case was serious enough that Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the biggest newspapers in Poland, decided to do its own investigation.The newspaper first asked residents for their suppositions.”It looks like a doghouse, but maybe after the renovation the workers forgot to take it and birds took advantage of it,” said Stanislaw Kania, walking in the square with his family. “No,” his wife said. “There is going to be a monument to pigeons in Krakow, so maybe they are testing how it will look, although it’s strange they’re doing it here.”     Although the structure appears to the uninitiated as if it could be a pigeon coop, people who know scoff at that idea. There is no hole so birds can enter and no shelves inside for the pigeons to roost on, the experts say. “But the place definitely is ideal for pigeons,” said Krystia Bednarz, a pigeon fancier. “It is made from  material that they like and it is near people who feed them.”  Finally, Andrzej Zaborski of the City’s Public Works Department (Krakowski Zarzad Drog) solves the mystery for everyone. As usual, the explanation is more mundane than exotic.”It is a ventilation hole,” Zaborski explained. “It reduces humidity in the Market’s underground and in this way protects it against mold. We put it there at the recommendation of a heritage conservator.”The city is going to open a museum underground to allow people to see historical artifacts that archaeologists excavated.The shed is a cheap ventilation system – but Zaborski hastens to add that it’s only a temporary fix.He said the shed will disappear when work on the underground museum commences, though nobody knows when that will happen.”I can only promise that somebody will clean the area around the shed,” Zaborski said. That will be a challenge, given the number of pigeons on Rynek Glowny.

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