The International Cultural Centre (MCK – Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury) is an institution founded in 1991 in the historic Ravens House. Its activities are focused on a multidimensional approach to cultural heritage. The ICC presents the achievements of European civilisation, cultivates historical identity and memory and encourages dialogue between cultures as well as the development of modern art.
Over the centuries, the Ravens House witnessed major events taking place in the city centre. It saw the Prussian Homage, the Kościuszko Uprising, Józef Piłsudski’s funeral procession, coronations, festivals, parades, rallies, state ceremonies, but also riots, demonstrations and revolutions.
The house itself served as an aristocratic palace, social lounge, the seat of the head alderman, bank, Nazi General Government headquarters, Committee of the Polish Workers Party headquarters, publishing house, dance school, bookstore, and since 1991 the headquarters of the ICC.
International Cultural Centre inaugurated its activity on 29 May of that year during the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) conference, when the representatives of the East and the West debated about issues of culture and heritage for the first time after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The exhibitions organised by the ICC in the International Cultural Centre Gallery focus on the wealth of 19th- and 20th-century art and architecture. The gallery displays paintings, graphics, photography, sculpture, posters, and architectural designs.
While the exhibitions focus on the achievements of Central European cultures, they also showcase European art in a wider context, presenting other continents, including America, Asia and Australia.
The programme consists of permanent cycles: the art of the avant-garde and early modernism of the first half of the 20th century; Polish artists working abroad; the winners of the Grand Prix of the International Graphics Triennale in Krakow; graphics from the collection of Polish Academy of Learning; 20th-century photography; and prominent architects of the first half of the 20th century.
Award-winning for its editorial quality, the ICC books are the showpiece of the institution. ICC publications are available in the bookstore located in the gallery and in mail order sales carried out by the in-house bookstore.
The ICC Gallery and Bookshop is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. Ticket prices range from 5 to 10 PLN. One ticket is valid in all exhibitions
The centre’s library collects domestic and foreign scientific literature devoted to problems of the broadly defined cultural heritage. The book collection includes more than 21,000 volumes and about 430 regular publications and magazines. The Reading Room houses 12 multimedia workstations for readers, where you can access four international databases.
The book collection covers the following areas: history and theory of culture, ethnography and identity of Central Europe, art, architecture and urban development, the literature on ethnic minorities, intercultural dialogue, historical city management, the protection of historical and cultural heritage, the relationship between culture and development.
The multimedia databases are: JSTOR, CEEOL, E-brary and Humanities E-Book. They provide access to electronic versions of full text articles from scholarly journals and e-books. There are also 16,800 books and 870 magazines in the databases.