Kraków is said to be an unofficial cultural capital of Poland. Located in the South is an excellent place to visit either when on winter or summer holiday. It was granted by European Union the title European Capital of Culture in year 2000. When you visit Krakow you will stop wondering why it attracts seven million visitors per year.
The main landmarks are located near the Main Market Square, you will find there St. Mary’s Basilica and the Sukiennice Cloth Hall. If you are into old castles with many legends Wawel Castle is definitely a mustsee for you. Worth visiting are the National Art Museum, the Zygmunt Bell at the Wawel Cathedral, and the medieval St Florian’s Gate with the Barbican along the Royal Coronation Route.
If you want to experience something really exceptional – you must see Kazimierz after dark. It is the district of Krakow known for being home of Jewish community from the 14th century till the Second World War. With its unique design of houses, many petite coffie bars, pubs and live music everywhere catches your insides and gives unforgetable memories you can share wth your friends.
You should also find interesting Jagiellonian University established in 1364 by Casimir III The Great as the oldest institution of higher education in Poland and second in Central Europe. It’s Library is one of the largest in Poland and holding over 6,5 million volumes.
St. Mary’s Basilica
One of the most important historic buildings not only for Kraków, but for the whole Poland is St. Mary’s Basilica. This monumental gothic building in present shape was raised through 14th and 15th century. By the ned of 19th Century neogothic interior was put inside the basilica. You should pay attention specificly to the altar dedicated to Maria and made at the end of 15th century by Wit Stwosz, and to the late baroque cross by the same artist, which currently resides in the south part of the church. Chancel is closed with marvelous starry ceiling, which was made in the beginning of 15th century.
Sukiennice Cloth Hall
Krakow Sukiennice Cloth Hall is a beautiful, historic building, located in the central part of Main Square. Throughout the years Sukiennice were changing, that is why their current shape is not simmilar to the original one. In the lower part of the hall is designated for the merchants. Right below the ceiling you will find crests of Polish towns. On the first floor there is the Polish Painting and Sculpture od 19th Century Museum, which is the department of National Museum.
Royal Castle is an impresive historic residence, located on the Wawel Hill. Two stories building with three wings and a screen wing also measures 7040 square meters and has 71 halls. Both the exterior and interior are kept in renaissance, baroque, and partly in classical style. It holds a courtyard with arcade paths, five livable towers and an entrance gate. In the residence you can find donated by Jan Matejko in 1882 his famous painting ‘Prussian Honour’. Among the 8 permanent museum exhibitions five of them are in the castle, and the sixth – royal gardens, youngest of all, is a kind of the part of residence. In the castle you will find Representative Royal Chambers and Private Royal Apartments, Royal Treasury, Arsenal, and East Handcraft exhibition.
Archsee Basilica of St. Stanislav and St. Waclav commonly called the Wawel Cathedral is the place of royal coronations for Polish Kings and also their burial place. Up to present times it is also the place of burial for all next Kraków bishops. The Church was primarely raised as a three nave basilica, but as a result of remodelling curently in is hall based. The Cathedral is sourrounded by three towers. The north one, called Zygmunt Tower holds the famous Zygmunt Bell.
St Florian’s Gate
St Florian’s Gate in Kraków is the remaining part of the middle age city gates. Propably already existed by the end of 13th century. Through this gate lead the main road towards Kleparz near St Florian’s Church, here also started the royal road which ended in Wawel. Nowdays the gate is a a part of tourist path – ‘Defensive Walls’.
Wieliczka Salt Mines
Attracting over a million visitors each year, the salt mines in Wieliczka near Kraków date back to the 13th century, go down to a depth of over 300 metres and stretch over 190 miles in length, the underground tour itself stretches just over 2 miles and includes an underground lake and a large chapel as pictured.
The Stained Glass Museum
Permanent exhibitions and also demonstrations of the process of creating stained glass at the Stained Glass Museum in Kraków.
Interested in visiting?
Then you should check out Cracow Planet – one of the leading incoming tour operators in Poland. They offer the classical tours of the sightseeing of Krakow and Krakow – Auschwitz tours. They also have designed innovative and unique tours of Krakow that help tourism group and individual visitors experience the full effect of the one of the most beautiful city in the world.
Many thanks for use of photo to www.flickr.com/photos/larskjensen/2753376302
and salt mines picture to http://www.flickr.com/photos/byungkyupark/2648431635/