Krakow, with a population of nearly one million inhabitants, is one of the most frequently visited cities in Poland. It is an important centre of science with its renowned Jagiellonian University (est. 1364) – one of the oldest schools in Europe. The old city centre of Krakow has been enlisted as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. And its exceptional atmosphere and flair attract thousands of tourists every year. The city also offers a number of interesting tourist attractions what makes a visit to Krakow really worthwhile.
Main Market Square – The City’s Heart
Krakow’s Main Market Square is the largest Medieval urban center in Europe. The centrally positioned Cloth Hall, a construction from the turn of the 12th century, was originally designed for the cloth trade and greatly modified over the centuries. Overlooking the square from the east is St. Mary’s Church with its magnificent high altar carved by the Nuremberg sculptor Veit Stoss (known in Poland as Wit Stwosz).
The Barbican is a masterpiece of Mediaeval fortification art, and it is one of the three such structures preserved in Europe. The Florianska Gate was part of a system of defensive walls, fragments of which are still visible on both sides of the gate. The walls today serve as an out-door gallery for artists and vendors of art work. Along both Grodzka and Kanonicza Streets a number of historical buildings can be found. The old part of Krakow is surrounded by a beautiful park known as the Planty, a green oasis in the very heart of the city.
The Royal Castle
Royal Castle and Cathedral are located on top of Wawel Hill which commands a view of the whole town. The Wawel Cathedral witnessed royal coronations and funerals, and the Wawel Castle was the residence of Polish kings. The origins of this magnificent structure date back to the year 1000, but almost each epoch left its architectural trace within its walls. The castle museum has the unique collection of Flemish tapestries on display. Adjacent to the castle is the Wawel Cathedral, not only a splendid historical building but also a parish church as well as the national Pantheon where there are tombs of Polish kings, national heroes and poets of the Romantic period.
Kazimierz is a historical municipality on the outskirts of Krakow, city center, and today it is one of the city’s most up and coming districts. Kazimierz was home to the larger part of the Jewish population of Krakow till 1939. Here, we find the famous Remuh Synagogue and the Alte Schule, Poland’s oldest synagogue, today an important museum of the district. A visit should be made to the Templ founded by the local Association of Progressive Jews and the Wolf Popper synagogue. Every year in June/July, a Festival of Jewish Culture is held in the Kazimierz district. It attracts hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators from all over the world.
Source: Travel Poland