Commune: Kraków (pow. Kraków, woj. małopolskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Landscape of the river valley.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
The gap of the Vistula River bordered by rocky hills.

Comparative assessment justification:
The unique example of the river gap developed within a small tectonic trough in the Kraków Upland.

Protection status and accessibility:
Rocky limestone bordered the Wisła (Vistula) river gap are protected since 1937. They are situated at the border of the Bielany-Tyniec Landscape Park.

Character of site: Gap of the river.

Area: 6 ha

Altitude: 215 m a.s.l.

Lithology: limestones, silts, clays, loesses

Discipline: Geomorphology, Palaeoenvironment, Tectonics

Process Age: Quaternary, Neogene, *all periods

Bedrock Age: Quaternary, Neogene, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
The Tyniec Gate is the narrowest part of the Vistula (Wisła) river valley. The gap is 2 km long and about 400 m wide. It is surrounded with rocky hills rising 30-130 m above the valley bottom. Five interesting sites of Jurassic limestones (Oxfordian) occur along the gate. On the left bank of the river, massive limestones passing laterally into bedded limestones with cherts crop out in the abandoned quarry in Piekary. The limestone tor, Okrążek, situated 300 m to the south is formed of massive limestones covered with loess. It is a famous archaeological site (Paleolit) explored both in loess and in sediments filling a small cave. The next rocky hill is a geological and historical site. It encloses the outcrop of Jurassic massive limestones, a small cave and traces of the medieval fortification at the top. The picturesque limestone tor, crowned with the Benedictine Abbey dated from Middle Ages, is situated on the right bank of the river. Huge blocks of limestones accumulated at the foot of the rocky wall derive from the rock-fall connected with the earthquake in 1786 AD. Bedded limestones with numerous cherts are accessible in the big quarry on the western slope of the Grodzisko hill. The gap passes along the tectonic depression filled with Miocene clays. It is surrounded with horsts forming particular rocky hills. The Tyniec Gate is a unique type of the gap, developed by selective erosion, which exposed old elements of the structural relief.


ALEXANDROWICZ S.W. 1955–Notes on the Origin of the Vistula Gap at Tyniec (near Cracow) (English sum.). Biul. Inst. Geol., 97: 271-295.     ALEXANDROWICZ S.W. 1956–Old Rock-fall at Tyniec near Crakow (English sum.). Ibidem, 108: 5-16.     ALEXANDROWICZ S.W. 1960–Geological structure of the vicinity of Tyniec (Cracow region) (English sum.). Ibidem, 152: 5-93.     ALEXANDROWICZ S.W. 1997–Evaluation and protection of Jurassic limestone rocks in Piekary near Tyniec (English sum.). Kwart. AGH, Geologia, 23, 2: 141-163.     MADEYSKA T., MORAWSKI W., ONIESZKO Z. & TOMASZEWSKI J. 1994–Stan badań osadów czwartorzędowych w stanowiskach paleolitycznych Piekary koło Krakowa (Polish only). Georama, 2: 59-67.     MATYSZKIEWICZ J. 1989–Sedimentation and diagenesis of the Upper Oxfordian Cyanobacterial-Sponge limestones in Piekary near Kraków. Ann. Soc. Geol. Pol., 59: 201-232.     MIŚKIEWICZ K. 2002–Project of the geoconservation of Podgórki Tynieckie (English sum.). Chroń. Przyr. Ojcz. 58, 2: 91-108