The Highlights of Krakow

Kraków voted several times number one destination for European city breaks by tourists has much to offer. The reason is simple. Beautiful city center registered on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, cultural attractions and food are the highlights. What the visitors appreciate the most? That almost all attractions are within a walking distance from the Main Market Square.

The best way to see the “city’s best” is to join a free tour offered by freewalkingtour.com
This Polish foundation runs the tours based on tips every day. Professional tour guides will present you Kraków Must-see in a very digestive form. They combine profound knowledge of history with great sense of humor so that you could get closer to a Polish spirit.
The biggest Medieval square of Europe- simply impressive Main Market Square is the center of a historical city surrounded by ancient walls and beautiful park “Planty”.
The Virgin Mary Basilica is renowned thanks to an astonishing gothic altar carved in wood and a bugle tune played every hour on the hours from the higher tower.
The Cloth Hall offers a range of typical souvenirs from the whole country such as amber, wool, lace, pottery, cut-glass, wooden items etc.
You can’t miss The Wawel Hill with the castle and the cathedral. It’s a symbol of Poland since many kings lived here and their remains as well as of other heroes were buried in the crypts. Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting “Lady with an Ermine” is a highlight of the castle’s exposition.
Kazimierz is a district where you still can sense a mix of Catholic and Jewish tradition. Synagogues, ritual baths stand next to the basilicas and convents. It’s also a perfect place for a nightlife. Visit Alchemia, Singer and have a bite of local fast -food “zapiekanka” in a meantime.
Take the most romantic bridge in the city- Kładka Bernatka to go to the other side of the Vistula river. You will reach Podgórze, once an independent city, now a part of Kraków known mainly thanks to a modern history of Poland. This is where during WWII Nazis created a ghetto. You can’t miss an exposition in the former Schindler’s Factory nor in Apteka pod Orłem (The Eagle Pharmacy).
Don’t focus though only on the sad part of the history of this place. Go to see modern art in the Contemporary Art Museum (MOCAK) or Galeria Starmach. Climb to the Krakus Mound to see beautiful panoramic view of the city, explore the Krzemionki hill with St. Benedict Romanesque style church and 19th century fort.
If you want to travel back in time go to Nowa Huta, the only well – preserved and lively communist city among two ever established. You will be stunned by the outstanding plan of the city, social realist architecture and history which changed the image of Polish land.
Go off the beaten tracks and head to the Zakrzówek dam, the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec or visit Las Wolski (the Wolski forest) with a ZOO, an ancient convent, the fortifications and the mounds. A boat trip on the Vistula river is a perfect way to see this part of the city from a different point of view.

 

Joanna Hajdas

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