Zakopane (pronounced [zakɔˈpanɛ]) is a town in the extreme south of Poland. It lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. From 1975 to 1998 it was in Nowy Sącz Province, but since 1999 it has been in Lesser Poland Province
. It had a population of about 28,000 as of 2004. Zakopane is a center of Góral culture and is known informally as “the winter capital of Poland”. It is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing, and qualified tourism.
Zakopane is located in southernmost Poland near the border with Slovakia. It lies in a valleybetween the Tatra Mountains and Gubałówka Hill. It can be reached by train or by bus from district capital Kraków, which is about two hours away. Zakopane has an elevation of 800-1,000 meters above sea level. The town is centered at the junction of Krupówki and Kościuszko Streets.
The earliest documents mentioning Zakopane date to the 17th century, describing a gladecalled Zakopisko. In 1676 it was a village of 43 inhabitants. Zakopane became a center for the region’s mining and metallurgy industries; in the 19th century, it was the largest center for metallurgy in Galicia. It expanded during the 19th century as the climate attracted more inhabitants. By 1889 it had developed from a small village into a climatic health resort of 3,000 inhabitants. Rail service to Zakopane began October 1, 1899.
In March 1940, representatives of the SovietNKVD and the Nazi Gestapo met for one week in Zakopane’s Villa Tadeusz, to coordinate the pacification of resistance in Poland. Throughout World War II, Zakopane served as an underground staging point between Poland and Hungary.
From 1942 to 1943, 1,000 slave workers from the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp are in a subcamp working in a stone quary .