How it works

Hidden Krakow is a location-based novella in the form of a fictitious diary that unfolds a story about a worker in a steampunk version of Krakow in the year 2009. To unfold the whole story, the whole city has to be unlocked. But don't worry, you are not alone on this journey.

Go to a place in Krakow that is new for you and reload this page. If nobody has been at this place before, you get rewarded with a new piece of the story. And if anybody else does the same thing, you get the same reward. Let us unlock Krakow together, let us unravel the mystery of the steampunk "hidden" Krakow, one street at a time.


Krakow is currently 68% unlocked!

7th April 2009

Today was great. I just received my diploma in bio-mechatronics from the Krakow University for Pyrotechnics and Hydraulics, feels sooo good to finally hold this piece of paper in my hands after seven years of studies. Even though I loved my bioengineering courses I still think that pneumatic engineering is an outdated discipline... However, it is probably gonna take another 50 years to get rid of that..


8th April 2009

My first day as a free man (so to speak). Studies over, exciting times to come. So many possibilities. Some people received letters from the Wawel Company, but I am not sure if that is such a good idea. Such a big company. Maybe I should try and start with some smaller corporation or engineering office first. I really don't know yet. But first and foremost I can actually find a couple of days to enjoy the Krakow skyline with all the chimneys in the bright morning light.


9th April 2009

I just received a letter from Honorius von Krakauer, owner of the Wawel and Sons Mechship Ltd. Company. He heard about my work at university and he is willing to speak with me about the job. He is the richest industry lord in Galicia Dominium. An offer from him is a honour. Exciting times ahead.


10th April 2009

Finally set up this meeting with von Krakauer. I still have my doubts about Wawel Company, but I think it is worth giving it a try. I can still decline the offer, I guess. And only two days out of a regular life and I am already starting to get bored a bit..


11th April 2009

That interview went really well. Like, REALLY WELL. Means: I got the job, I signed the contract, and this is me now, Mister Mag. Archembald Skarbek, Assistant Technologist, Department of Life Simulation and Robotic Systems. Tomorrow is the first day at work, and I am really happy that I get the chance to learn so much more about robotics and bio-engineering technology. University is such a theoretical place, so having some hands-on practical experience will be really interesting!


12th April 2009

My first day as a member of the Wawel! Most of today's schedule was walking around the whole factory campus, getting my C-5 access permit for the security areas inside the factory. The campus is so huge, it almost took me an hour to find the right office.. I ended up getting only the C-2 access permit, which means I have to go through the whole registration process again in the next days. The bureaucracy in this company is insane, but no reason to wonder (Wawel has 750 000 employees!).


13th April 2009

I got a working space in the underground level of factory. This factory is so huge and has an enormous size! I lived in Krakow so long and I always look at Wawel Factory, located on Wawel Hill, and I have seen only a part of the complex - the chimneys and cool-coal aggregators but there is so much more. I can't wait to get the C-5 pass. My supervisor said to me that I will start with simple assembling the parts of all purpose (cleaning, washing, dusting) home bio-mech. I think this is way to low for my skills and knowledge, but everyone has to start from the bottom. I will see..


14th April 2009

My colleagues got me a cake for my second day at the factory. I am happy that most people are so nice here, the climate between the workers is good (unfortunately not so much between the workers and the managers). The only downside I see so far is that everybody has his designated working space, so you only see your co-workers during breaks. I hope it does not get too lonely down here..


15th April 2009

A letter from the Center for Advanced Biochemistry was in my inbox today. It was obviously routed incorrectly as it showed the name Doctor Pawel Jasinski on it. My first guess was that this was the person who had this inbox assigned before I joined the company. However I checked with my manager and he told me that no person with this name has ever worked in his department, but he will check if he is working somewhere else and forward him the letter. This company is so huge - even the managers have no idea who everybody is!


16th April 2009

I was trying to find the stairs to the top part floor of the factory today. Seems that a lunch break is not enough time for such a journey. It took me an hour to figure out where to go, but finally I think I know where it is. I will try to get up there tomorrow.


17th April 2009

Oh how mellow Krakow seems in spring daylight. All the grey chimneys, tesla coils, black wires swinging in the wind from one building to another, steam ascending from the streets inbetween the Resident Planning houses. I wonder how many of these people work for Wawel but have never seen what I have been seeing today on the rooftop in the 36th floor of the factory. Krakow is beautiful during the day.


18th April 2009

The pipes broke and my nice apartment was flooded with water today. Fortunately it happened in the early morning. It was a weird feeling to step out of my bed and into water before I had my first coffee. I do not even want to know what would have happened if I was not at home during that time. Thank god I have one of these small standard apartments that they give you in your final year of university. Sometimes I think it is a bit too shady, but well.. I have to keep it for the next years or I will lose my working permit, so I think I will make the best out of it.


19th April 2009

Sometimes I wished we had more than 10 days of holidays every year. Today was one of these days. Heavy workload, and no end in sight for the next days. I wished I had one of these helper robots that Wawel is building...


20th April 2009

I figured that I have to renew my working permit in the next weeks. This is such a hassle to do every half a year. They should at least make it easier for the citizens here. I mean I really get it if you do this for immigrants, but why for your very own citizens? Do they want us not to work? I do not get it.


21st April 2009

Today I was thinking about this strange letter again that I got almost a week ago.. I checked with one of the registrars of Wawel about where to find the Center for Advanced Biochemistry here in Krakow, but he had no idea what I was talking about. Who was this guy who had my job before I arrived? How can you work for a company that is not really existing? Maybe I can figure that out in the next days. For now, back to bed. Tomorrow is another day.


22nd April 2009

I ran out of coffee again. The monthly amount of coffee for everybody is just about not enough to come through the whole month. How do all the other workers do that? Am I drinking just too much coffee? Or do the others get more? Every month the same thing: No coffee and one more week to go until I am allowed to buy new one again. I should sleep more probably. Maybe that is what it means.


23rd April 2009

Guess what? I got my C-5 today. Finally getting access to the places where I can work on the stuff that I was really educated for. In a couple of days they will assign me to my new post, hopefully somewhere downstairs in the Restricted Robotics department. I am really excited. Unfortunately I did not have the time today to test out my C-5 access card, but I am wondering what kind of rooms I can open with that. So much more to explore at the factory.


24th April 2009

Fun day. I checked what I can open with my new card today. Turns out: not much. Unfortunately. But I got into one big storage room for old robot prototypes: I have never seen so many different robot models in my life, a lot of them I have never seen before at all. I wonder what they were all made for, what their purpose was and why they are in this storage now - actually I even wonder if they would work today. Some of them look so outdated, they probably would not even work with the new X-900 Tesla Dual Engine - so why are they keeping them?


25th April 2009

Turns out C-5 also opens other storages (I wonder if it opens all storages?). Today I got into a storage for genetic manipulation test objects.. Again, this stuff was so old (I guess somewhen around the 1920s when they started with genetic manipulations on animals - weird to see these experiments 90 years later).. I wonder if my grandfather did work on some of that stuff. I heard my father once say that he was working on classified genetic experiments for Wawel, but as my grandfather died long before I was born, I cannot ask him.. I would really love to know now. Maybe the registrar knows.. He is actually a nice guy, maybe he is able to help me.


26th April 2009

I got my new working space today. Underground level 16 (I did not even know that the factory had levels so deep inside of the hill). Highly restricted access. I feel like a secret agent when I am going through all the security scans and pass all the guards in the morning. So cool. And my first task: Finishing the leg part of the DH-44X, a new helper robot that will be released in two years. It is so interesting to work on this top secret new robot. Its design has so much improved, it looks really brilliant, like a big 4-legged squid. It is meant to help with communication tasks - I think for administration..


27th April 2009

In my new place I am left without any supervision and the finishing the DH-44X leg part was piece of cake for me so I went to explore Level -16. My pass was good enough to open another storage room. Lots of strange equipment. I have never seen something like this. Lots of wires, and glass. Reminds me of old steam powered computers but there was no steam inventory. What is this?


28th April 2009

I woke up feeling really sick and dizzy today. That never happens to me, especially with the usual daily medical standard treatment that is actually not supposed to happen. But these headaches today were terrible. I decided to take the day as vacation. I do not want anybody to know that my medical treatment might not work the way it should, I do not want the Medical Authority to come by my place and question me the whole day. I drank the last bottle of beer that I found in my room in an attempt to overcome my pain, but so far while I am writing this it does not seem to work. I finally understand how people must have felt everyday before they introduced the mandatory daily medical treatments. A strange feeling.


29th April 2009

I took a detour to work today walking through the Mariacki church next to the big main train station in Lubicz street. For a building that has been erected in the 1920s it looks so modern (and so huge with 76 tracks), I am still astonished.. and think it does not fit into the city at all. Typically 1920s modernist style, and all the people there seem to be in a hurry all the time. But all in all the day was nice. Nothing really special at work, just building more DH-44Xs and getting to know more of the new people. Down in Level -16 the ceilings are not that high and corridors are not that long, which feels a bit more like home and you do not feel that lost, especially when you leave as the last employee on that level. I somehow really like the atmosphere down here much more than in the old department. And the work is more exciting. My manager also said that they think about putting me in another position that has more to do with biomedical experiments for the robots. I am excited about that. The bio part of bio-mechatronics was always more fun for me.


30th April 2009

Today Honorius von Krakauer visited our level! That was a big honour for us. Even I was impressed of the appearance of our boss. He is truly the Lord Of Industry. Tall, well built, elegant and so imperious. He was walking around giving the smiles and small talks. He remembered all the name of the people. I also got the opportunity to speak with him. He asked me what I am thinking about DH-44X and I said (so stupid of me?!) that for me is a piece of cake and I could think about a few improvements and innovations in the mechanism and also its bio-mechatronics. He looked straight in my eyes and said that the best engineers were working on DH-44X. I got scared by his look but forced myself to tell him that if he give me a try I will prove that I am right. I would really like to get more into the technical details of the DH-44X specifications.


1st May 2009

I got a new position assigned. Seems that my meeting with von Krakauer yesterday was not that successful. I am no longer allowed to work on the DH-44X robots, but I am now in a team that works on a biomedical substance called Genetrak. I actually like the new group. Everybody works so much closer together than in the old team. And I am really interested in biomedicine research. I hope we can start a couple of testings tomorrow, I cannot wait to get some more hands-on experience.


2nd May 2009

We did some testing today with the new Genetrak derivate substance. The poor lab rats. That was always the part I hated about bio-engineering.. However, the tests went really well and the results are pretty much according to the expectations. I have not seen the specifications so far, but whatever it is, the testing looks promising so far.


3rd May 2009

I took a day off from work to finally go to the Work Authorization and Observation Agency to get my new work permit. I hate to do this and I hate the process: endless questions: Where were you born? What are your parents' names?... They have all these information in my file (I saw it, it is huge..), so why are they keeping asking? At least they were happy to see that I immediately found a job after graduation from the university. They don't like to see when people are not committing.. Actually I am wondering what my fellow students from university did after graduation. I have never met anybody at Wawel, which is strange when Wawel is the biggest employer in the city..


4th May 2009

I wanted to meet with my old pal from university today. I tried to find him down near our university. They told me that he lives near the prison for foreigners on Basztowa street. I never liked this area. The prison building is massive and grim. All this machine guns on the entrance. The grated windows with hollow green light from crystallized methan... It is scary and awful. I tried to call my friend via cinemaphone but he rejected my calls. I went to his flat in the evening. The light was coming from his house but he did not answer his doorbell. We had so much fun during studies, I will try to reach him again in the next days.


5th May 2009

After yesterday I tried to reach out to other people from my university. Nobody is willing to meet me. Everybody is just harsh and unpleasant. What is the big deal? Are they just envious I got this job? Since I started working on Genetrak I get a lot more stuff, I even could get real chocolate! That stuff is very hard to get, since the Ottoman Empire blocked the MonoRailTransEuropean Tunnels from Italy to North Africa. All this politics always make me angry. Thank God we live far away from the war. Anyway nobody wants to meet with me. My old professor mumbled something about working in Wawel is a shame. I don't really get that. Wawel company provides energy, mechanics, food, clothing, almost everything for people in Krakow. What is the problem everybody seems to have?


6th May 2009

Exciting day at work. I finally got the chance to take a peek into the specifications of the Genetrak substance. To be completely honest, I have never ever seen such a complicated compound in my life (admittedly I did not take so many biomed classes at the university). Genetrak seems to be a treatment for genetic sicknesses, but that is literally everything I can say about it.. It is such a big compound and we are only 13 people working on it, how are we supposed to engineer all of that? They told us it is brand new but it does look more like some other engineers have almost built most parts of the substance.


7th May 2009

Today we had a red alert in the factory. Everybody had to go to the safety chamber on level -15. The chamber was crowded - people from three levels came here. I have never seen so many Wawel workers in one place. Some of them looked like they never leave the factory. Our supervisor come to us and said that there was a minor accident on the assembling line of DH-44X but that the situation is now under control. In the evening we went to a pub for a "Red alert drinking night", it's a long tradition of Wawel workers. We went to a pub named Under the Tzar's Arse, they have the best Absinthe and opium in whole Krakow. A nice place! Lots of Wawel workers came, and we started to drink heavily. There was this guy who was shouting that DH-44X killed a man, and he saw this with his own eyes. "He ripped poor Igor into small pieces! There was blood everywhere!" - the guy was drunk as hell. Some friends took him, but he ruined the atmosphere and soon the drinking night was over. I could not forget the true fear in this guy's eyes. DH-44X killed somebody? It's impossible. The machine can not do this. It is not made for this.


8th May 2009

People at work are really nervous now, there are rumors about men from Special Division Y of Wawel Factory talking to people about the accident yesterday. Two of them came to me (real bullies) dressed like the Black Death Squadron. They were asking about Genetrak and my opinion about that accident (I told them that I don't know anything). After my shift, I didn't go straight to my flat. I went to our secretary office. The level was empty. Everyone else left.


9th May 2009

The government's Omega Team was here today. So it really was a big incident, else the government would not have come... I have only heard about the Omega Team before: Investigation robots, they do not communicate to anybody, they can not be reprogrammed once they have been started and they act completely independently. I like the technology, but their field of work is dangerous. They are outside of the law, and they only get sent out if situations have to be resolved fast and without anybody becoming suspicious outside of the factory. Seems that the drunk guy was really right. I still do not believe it is possible. I know the DH-44X specifications, they cannot kill. Completely impossible.


10th May 2009

It happened. Exactly what I thought. They re-located our whole team into the outskirts of Krakow, right next to the South Zeppelin station into a secret lab that they call the Laboratory for Bio-Cybernetics. And guess what some of the plates around the building say? Center for Advanced Biochemistry. Exactly what was written on the envelope that I got four weeks ago. I guess Doctor Jasinski must be working here somewhere, but I did not have the time to find out. This new building is so complex, it is hard not to get lost there..