Krakow

Krakow, famous for its priceless historical monuments of culture and art, is Poland's former royal capital and one of the most attractive spots on the tourist map of Europe.

Besides history, art and an atmosphere all of its own, Krakow offers visitors entertainment and leisure: theatres, cabarets, clubs, cafes, bars, wine cellars and restaurants having something to offer for everyone. International festivals and other events are held either in the Main Market Square or at the foot of the Wawel Castle.

Also Krakow surrounding areas offer plenty of tourist attractions. Wieliczka is famous for being one of the world's oldest salt mines open to sightseers. The valley of the Prądnik River, part of the Ojcowski National Park, is a unique nature reserve with a fairy-tale landscape carved from limestone. The ruins of the Gothic castle in Ojców and the beautifully preserved Renaissance castle in Pieskowa Skała are two more reasons to visit the park. Just 35 km south of Krakow is the Beskidy mountain range, and 100 km further, in the Tatra Mountains, lies Zakopane, which is often referred to as "the winter capital of Poland".

Main Market Square Laid out in 1257, Cracow Main Market Square  has long been the social and commercial heart of the city. Witnessing a number of historic events, such as the homage to the King and a number of executions, the square now hosts a number of public celebrations and festivals. It is also a common meeting place for the tourists and the Cracovians alike. With its varied historic architecture, the famous Sukiennice, a multitude of outdoor restaurants, buskers, pigeons and mime-artists, the square is never boring to visit.Wawel Castle A royal residence untill the 17th-century, Wawel Castle is a place of national importance. A coronation place, a burial site of the Polish kings and the official residence of the Polish President in 1930, Wawel is a vessel of the nations' history. Since 1930, it houses the National Museum, host to several permanent ehxibitions, including the Royal Chambers, the Crown Treasury and Armoury, the Oriental Art Exhibition and the Lost Wawel Exhibition.Museums Cracow boasts some of the best collections in Poland. The National Museum in Wawel, the Jagiellonian University Museum, the Jewish Museum and Oscar Schindler's factory are only some of the museums  Cracow has to offer.Churches Apart from the Wawel Cathedral, visiting St. Mary's Church is also highly recommended. The stained-glass windows, the blue starred ceiling and the wooden alterpiece by Wit Stwosz will take your breath away. Other equally interesting churches include the late Barqoue Camaldolese Monastery, the 13th-century Cistercian Monastery, St. Francis's Basilica and many other buildings.    Vistula Boulvard Cracow's leisuire spot, suitable for walking or cycling, offering the stunning view of the Wawel Hill. The highlights include the popular Dragon statue and the Dragons Den, located at the western slope of the Wawel Hill.Eating Out and Entertainment From the budget milk bars to the most sumptuous gourmet restaurants, Cracow is packed with lots of dining places. A red beetroot soup, pierogi and zurek (a soup flavoured with fermented rye flour) are a must. For entertainment, choose from a variety of cinemas, theatres, and live music pubs, or taste splendid Cracow nightlife in one of Cracow night clubs.Kazimierz District No visit to Cracow will be complete without Kazimierz, the Jewish part of the city. A vibrant cultural and arts centre, Kazimierz hosts a number of cultural events each year, including the renowned Jewish Culture festival. Cosy cafes, narrow streets, cosy cafes and antique shops make it a unique place to visit.
Hotels in Krakow Hotel Sheraton KrakówSheraton Krakow Hotel is located on the bank of Wisla River near famous Wawel Castle with stunning views to both. Hotel is located just a 10-minute walk away from the Market Square at the Old Town and a famous Kazimierz. This 5 star hotel offers facilities and services up to the level that discerning travelers expect. Guest rooms are designed in an elegant décor with a contemporary Kraków style. Redbrick ApartotelRed Brick is the name of 16 luxurious serviced apartments located in one of the most historic and unique buildings in one of the most attractive places in Cracow. Red Brick Apartments offer you a great alternative to staying in a hotel. Guests may enjoy more space and privacy, but with all advantages of a high-class hotel. All rooms have been furnished and equipped to meet the expectations of both the tourist guests who come for leisure and those who come for business purposes. Hotel StaryThe Hotel Stary is located in the heart of the Old Town of Krakow. Elegant interiors evoke atmosphere of gothic combined in a harmonious way with present times. Precious materials, subtle decorations, exotic wood, oriental carpets, natural silk and best quality marble create unforgettable ambiance and emphasize uniqueness of STARY Hotel. Hotel SympozjumThe architecture of Sympozjum Hotel is modern and elegant, perfectly blending into the surrounding of the peaceful quarter of Cracow. Distinguished guests will certainly recognize the exceptional place where Sympozjum Hotel is sited. We offer you 80 luxury rooms: 73 double rooms, 2 professionally prepared rooms for the disabled and 5 elegant suites. The rooms meet the highest standards, have full multimedia equipment, direct Internet connection, own air conditioning system and full service. The Bonerowski PalaceThe Bonerowski Palace is situated in the heart of Krakow, on the corner of Św. Jana Street and the Old Market Square. It is seated in a meticulously restored and richly refurbished UNESCO edifice of the Middle Ages. The elegant interior of the palace contains both unique polychromes and beams, gothic column, antique stone safe, as well as modern forms and technologies, serving to the safety of the guests. The palace also prides itself on the Europe longest, 22-meter long chandelier. The palace windows face an incredible sight of St. Mary Basilica, Drapers Hall (Sukiennice), St.Wojciech's Church and the statue of Adam Mickiewicz. Hotel KossakKossak Hotel is a modern, design and boutique hotel located in the heart of Krakow. 60 rooms, 3 restaurants and modern conference centre will meet even the most demanding expectations. Unusual atmosphere results in our guests feel exceptionally, both business and rest purpose. Hotel Park Inn KrakówThe Park Inn Krakow hotel is nestled in the heart of Krakow's city centre and is within walking distance of famous attractions, such as the historic Wawel Castle and the Jewish district of Kazimierz. Offering 152 cosy guest rooms, 10 Junior suites and a fitness room and sauna, the hotel is an ideal platform to enjoy and explore the sights of Poland. With five modern and well-equipped meeting rooms and an elaborate ballroom, this Krakow hotel is also perfect for business guests. Hotel UnicusUnder the hospitable roof of the Unicus Hotel, at Florianska and Sw. Marek streets corner in Krakow, there the ways of travelers, business people, those in love and curious about the world, the lovers of culture and art and those returning here to find their memories and unforgettable adventures meet up. Hotel SwingThe four-star hotel Swing is a newly opened hotel in Cracow offering comprehensive accommodation and catering services at the highest level. The hotel convenient location enables not only an easy and fast access to the city centre but also a convenient access to major tourist attractions and sights that Cracow has to offer beyond its immediate city centre. Aqua Park, Multi-cinema, shopping centres and business centres are situated within a walking distance from the hotel. Hotel CopernicusHotel Copernicus stands on Kanonicza Street, Krakow's oldest street that winds its way toward Wawel Royal Castle – the historic seat of Polish kings. Amidst the neighbouring Renaissance townhouses Copernicus stands out with its expansive, Gothic façade. It is the only hotel in Poland affiliated to Relais et Châteaux – the exclusive French hotel alliance.
Top 10 attractions in Krakow Wawel Hill The Wawel Hill, situated on the left bank of the Vistula River, is perceived as an important historical site in Cracow, as this is where the King's Castle and the Cathedral are situated. It is here that the coronations of Polish kings as well as funerals for both kings and many other outstanding Poles took place.Wawel CastleThe Wawel Castle is the first renaissance castle and is one of Europe's finest examples of Renaissance architecture built in Poland. It is open to visitors and the many valuable works of art, and antique furniture are certainly worth seeing.Key attractions:-King's Representative Chambers -King's Private Chambers -Crown Treasury and Armoury -Archaeological exhibition "The Lost Wawel" -The "Art of the East" exhibitionWawel CathedralThe Cathedral, which is thousands of years old, was the place where Polish kings were crowned and buried. As time went by, the greatest Polish heroes, poets and saints were also laid to rest there. For this reason, Wawel became Poland's key necropolis.The Dragon's PitThe pit located at the foot of the Wawel Hill and the sculpture of the legendary dragon are one of Cracow's most popular tourist attractions. St. Mary's Church The gothic St. Mary's Basilica situated in the vicinity of the town square was built in the fourteenth century. Its main attraction is the world's greatest wooden altar, sculpted by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss). This church is also well known for its bugle-call played every hour from the top of one of the towers. This popular tune, played also on Radio One station in Poland, is always unfinished, commemorating a thirteenth-century trumpeter, who, according to legend, had his throat pierced by an arrow while he was playing this melody to announce the Mongolian invasion of Cracow. Town Square (Main Market Square) The Town Square, situated at the heart of Cracow's Old Town, is included on the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites. It is the largest medieval town square in Europe, measuring 656 square feet.In the past, it was a marketplace and the location for numerous official events. Today it is lined with cafes, restaurants, and clubs, and has become a meeting place and a hub of entertainment. Its surroundings include:St. Mary's Church Sukiennice (The Cloth Hall) Town Hall St. Wojciech's ChurchKazimierz Kazimierz is a district best remembered as a former Jewish settlement. It was founded in 1335 by Casimir III the Great. The whole district was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites – the first such case in the world. Steven Spielberg's movie, Schindler's List, was shot in 1993 almost entirely in Kazimierz. Seven synagogues One of Kazimierz's key attractions are its seven synagogues: Old Synagogue, Izaak's Synagogue, Kupa Synagogue, Remuh Synagogue, Tempel Synagogue, Tall Synagogue and Popper's Synagogue. They have various architectural styles: from gothic, through renaissance, baroque up to contemporary modernism. Before World War II there were over 90 synagogues used as houses of worship in Cracow. Only two remain open today. The Barbican and St. Florian's GateThe BarbicanThe Barbican – a circular Gothic bastion- served both as the town's main entry path, and as its key defence. It was built by the end of the fifteenth century, and still remains in excellent condition today. According to experts, between the fifteenth and eighteenth century it was a fortress which proved impossible to conquer.St. Florian's GateOne of the eight defensive gates in the wall which was built around the city of Cracow at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth century. It used to be the town's main entry point, and this is where the King's Road begins, leading to Wawel. Sukiennice (The Cloth Hall) Situated at the heart of the Main Market Square, this renaissance building is one of the city's most recognizable structures. During its golden age in the 15th century, Sukiennice was a major centre of international trade and the source of a variety of exotic eastern products like spices, silk, leather and wax, while Cracow, in turn, exported textiles, lead and salt from the Wieliczka Mine. Czartoryski Museum The present building dates back to 1878.Much of the Museum's collection which the Nazis looted was recovered, but some 840 artefacts are still missing, including a painting by Raphael. Apart from the paintings, exhibits include collections of armour, weaponry, carpets and ceramics, as well as numerous ancient Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman treasures. Nowa Huta Nowa Huta was intended to be the first real socialist town. According to the communist rulers' plans, working class ideals were intended to eliminate clerical and conservative elements still present in the mentality of the inhabitants of Poland's former capital. History, however, took a different course: the first confrontations, related to the permission to build a church, occurred in the 1960s. In the 1980s Huta became the centre of an uprising against the communists. The removal of the Lenin monument in 1989 became a symbol of the fall of communism. Wieliczka Wieliczka salt mine is one of the most popular and most frequently visited tourist attractions in Poland. It is also one of Europe's oldest industrial enterprises which has operated continuously since the 13th century! The tourist route is 3.5 kilometres long and leads through over twenty beautifully decorated chapels, charming underground lakes and well-preserved traces of mining operations. The exhibition includes unique mining machinery and facilities used for vertical and horizontal transportation of salt. There is also a display of craftworks related to the mine's past made by artisans. Auschwitz Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp in German-occupied Europe. Here the Germans carried out their planned genocide, i.e. extermination of entire nations, mainly Jews and Poles. The number of victims is difficult to establish to this day – most probably about 1,100,000 people of 28 nationalities perished in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. The majority of them were Jews transported from various countries.
The name of the King's Road (Via Regia) derives from the coronation and welcoming processions which travelled along this road towards the Wawel Hill, when Polish kings visited Cracow. The same road was also taken by royal funeral processions. Therefore, it became a route of both joy and sadness, hosting many important events in the history of Poland. The key points of the King's Road are (in order):St. Florian's Basilica St. Florian's Gate Floriańska Street Town Square Grodzka Street, Senacka Street, Kanoniczna Street the Wawel HillWhen taking this route, it is also worth paying special attention to:The Barbican The legendary Michalik Pit, the home of Jan Matejko St. Mary's Church with its famous altar by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss), the Church of St. Wojciech Wierzynek restaurant, commemorating the organizer of the famous Wierzynek Feast Church of Saints Peter and Paul, and Church of St. Andrew the Wawel CathedralWhen sightseeing at the Wawel Hill, the following tourist attractions are a must:the Cathedral with Tombs of the Kings Sigismund's Tower with five bells, including the famous Sigismund Bell King's Representative Chambers A collection of approximately thirty sixteenth century tapestries of Sigismund II Augustus Crown Treasury and Armoury, containing the famous coronation sword of the Polish kings – Szczerbiec The legendary Dragon's PitThis route will help you memorize key Cracow tourist sites, as it gives you an outline of the town's history, and an insight into its unique character.

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