Kraków

 

The ancient, royal city of Kraków...

... is a unique symbol of Polish national identity. Enchantingly picturesque, rich in relics of all epochs, it represents the thousand-year-long history of the Polish nation. Damaged by fires, wars and foreign occupation, it has always revived and continued to fascinate with its beauty. As long ago as the 11th century Kraków became the capital city of Poland. The Royal Castle and cathedral on Wawel Hill was the coronation and burial place of Polish monarchs. In the 13th century the layout of the city, which has been preserved till today, was established with what is still one of the biggest market squares in Europe (200 m x 200 m), a Gothic-Renaissance Cloth-hall (Sukiennice) and the Town-hall tower. The city fortification system was built in the 13-15th centuries, parts of the wall, four turrets and a barbican have survived to this day. The site of former walls has been replaced by a green belt called Planty. In the 14th century the Academy of Kraków (later the Jagiellonian University) one of the oldest universities in Europe was founded. Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik) was one of its students.

Kraków is renowned for its numerous old churches, including the Gothic St. Mary's Church famous for its magnificent altar carved by Wit Stwosz. Probably the most famous landmark in Kraków is Wawel Castle situated on Wawel Hill overlooking the river Vistula. This Renaissance castle boasts a beautiful arcaded courtyard, magnificent interiors and the famous the Flemish tapestries. After the partition of Poland (by the end of the 18th century), Wawel became a necropolis for national heroes (Prince Józef Poniatowski, Tadeusz Kościuszko) and poets (Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki).  In this period many museum collections were founded, such as the art collection of the Czartoryski Family (with Leonardo da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine"). Kraków is also the city of Karol Wojtyła (the pope John Paul II), the composer Krzysztof Penderecki, and many other famous people. Kraków is one of the greatest centres of science and Kraków University of Technology is one of its universities. In 1978 Kraków was entered in the UNESCO World Heritage Register.

For more information about the city of Kraków please visit: www.krakow.pl
Enterntainment zone (opera, music concerts, theatre, sport, ehxibitions) on: www.karnet.krakow.pl

MUST-SEE 

Wawel Castle 14th century.

Main Market Square 13th century.

Renaissance courtyard 16th century.

 

Kazimierz Jewish district 14th century.

Town Hall Tower 14th century.

Barbican 15th century.

 

SURROUNDINGS

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Salt Mine interiors

Salt statue of Nicolaus Copernicus

Underground lake