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Zakopane


A view of the Tatra Mountains from Zakopane.

Zakopane is a town in southern Poland with some 30,000 inhabitants (1995), situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodship (since 1999), previously in Nowy Sacz Voivodship (1975-1998). The town called the Winter capital of Poland lies in the southern part of the Podhale region, at the feet of the Tatra Mountains - with the exception of the Karkonosze mountains the only alpine mountain range in this part of Europe. It lies in a big glen between the Tatra Mountains and Gubalˇwka hill. Zakopane is the biggest Polish centre of mountain hiking and skiing. The town is visited by about 2,000,000 tourists a year.

The town is located at the highest elevation in Poland: its municipal region extends from 750 to 1000 m above sea level. The town area includes part of the Polish Tatra Mountains, with the highest peak called Mt. Swinica (2301 m). The central point of the town - the cross-roads of Krupowki and Kosciuszki Streets - is located at an elevation of 838 m. Such a high altitude means that Zakopane is situated in a mountain climate zone.

The very first documents mentioning Zakopane are from the 17th century and describe a glade named Zakopisko. Its further history was connected with the development of the mining and metallurgy industries in the region, and then with the progress of tourism. It has come a long way from being a little village to a climatic health-resort, often named the winter capital of Poland.