EXCLUSIVE: Trashed aquarium to re-open

Kraków’s famous aquarium is to re-open on October 20, just four months after the previous owner vacated the building amid a legal wrangle, leaving the owners with a 700,000zł repair bill.

The new-look aquarium at ulica Sebastiana 9 will include a display of fossils, stuffed animals, and live, exotic specimens. However, members of the public will only be able to visit part of the planned total exhibition, as more time and money is needed to complete repair work and install new exhibits.

The initial exhibition will focus on the natural history of the trade route running from Germany through Śląsk (Silesia) and Małopolska. It will include a display of stuffed wolves, lynx, wildcat, eagles, bears, and deer. There will also be a pool with live specimens of fish such as pike and carp. The museum’s star exhibit – a woolly rhinoceros – will be on show, alongside skeletons of other prehistoric species, and the lives of medieval insects will go under the microscope for visitors to explore. The natural history museum in Gorlitz helped organise the exhibitions.

The building is owned by Kraków’s museum of natural history, part of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The museum claims that the former tenant who ran the aquarium, American hostel owner Nathan Gendreau, owes around half a million złoty for rent. Mr Gendreau denies the claim. He left the building in June, shortly before bailiffs were sent in. When authorities arrived, they found broken fittings, trashed fish tanks, and other damage to the interior.

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