In Krakow, there are more and more foreign tourists every year - they can be seen in open-air cafes, shops, in Krakow's squares and streets. They are attracted to Krakow by the person of John Paul II, by the film about Oscar Schindler that they have watched, but also by monuments and museums. However, another phenomenon, parallel to this "traditional" tourism has appeared recently and it is focused around Krakow's pubs, clubs and restaurants.
We are obviously talking about "kraking" or "cracking", which ows its name to internauts, playing with the names Kraków and Cracow. It's worth noticing that the word is not at all as new: it is known by chemists (as the name of a chemical process), by hackers (cracks - illegal acess codes) and by drug addicts (crack means cocaine which hasn't been purified). As you can see, the possibilities of associations are numerous, yet "kraking" has recently come to mean "having fun in Krakow".
"Kraking" is all about forgetting oneself, getting to know local night life, experiencing many unexpected situations, taking advantage of cheap alcohol and romping about with beautiful Krakow's girls. This is, at least, how kraking is usually understood. The fashion for our city is particularly popular among English-speaking tourists, who were attracted to this old city not only by an unusual atmosphere of Krakow by night, but also by prices. The amount of money that they would have to spend to have fun in Britain during one weekend would be enough here to have a few weeks fun, even including the prices of plane tickets.
For that reason, the sight of large groups of weekend tourists who have fun in Krakow's pubs from Friday to Sunday and walk across the Market Square, or along the narrow streets of Kazimierz in search for new impressions is no longer surprising to the citizens of the city, and it even became a "natural" element of Krakow's landscape. "Kraking" is, of course, a source of profit for airline carriers, and owners of clubs, restaurants, hotels and hostels, as well as all those who provide services for the English-speaking fun-makers.
The fact that the new phenomenon is a gold mine does not have to be proved, and Krakow as a brand name becomes more and more popular in the world, and it can really make money. No wonder, then, that the City Promotion Department of the Promotion wants to use this advertising, and are planning to use the terms "kraking" and "cracking" in creative advertising of the city abroad. So far, both these words have a positive overtone - foreign holiday portals write at lenghth about the history of Krakow and about the places where you can have fun, while nobody writes about cocaine and breaking computer codes. Yet, time will show if the expectations of the City Promotion Department are not too far fetched. After all it's clear that weekend tourists do not invade Krakow's galleries, museums and theatres, but clubs and restaurants. What is most interesting to the tourists is the nightlife in Krakow, and stereotypes connected with it, which became an integral part of the imagination ofof the enthusiasts of "kraking".
There are, then, two aspects of "kraking" - one is the fashion for Krakow, which has become the source of profits for many people and has been powerful for economy, the other is the purely commercial phenomenon, and as such raising many controversies.