Last Updated: 16th Feb 2011
Krakow, Poland is one of Europe’s oldest, best preserved and most cosmopolitan cities. Miraculously the city survived World War II unscathed, leaving in tact a wealth of medieval churches, baroque architecture and the stunning Wawel Castle and Cathedral, it’s also Poland’s most visited city.
Sights and Activities
Wawel Castle and Hill
The Wawel Castle, a mix of Medieval, Romanesque, renaissance and baroque styles of architecture, was built as the royal seat of power in the 10th century. The interior of Wawel Cathedral is full of spectacular chapels, medieval tombs and sarcophagi – even a small but weird collection of pre-historic animal parts that purport to be the bones of the Wawel dragon.
Initially founded in 1335, Kazimierz was, until the 1820s, an independent town with its own municipal charter and laws. In the 15th century it became the Jewish quarter, at the time of World War II approximately 65,000 Jews lived in the area. It now houses the Jewish Museum with exhibitions on Jewish traditions. The restored Izaak’s Synagogue shows documentary films about life in the Jewish Ghetto.
Wieliczka Salt Mines
The Wieliczka Salt Mines were in operation for over 600 years. One of the city’s most visited attractions it is a World Heritage Site and you can tour part of the 9 levels of subterranean world. A unique and interesting place to visit the mines include the huge Chapel of St Kinga and a salt lake where you can make a lucky wish!
Rynek Glowny (Market Square) is beautiful and is the main square in the centre of Krakow. It is surrounded by numerous cafes, restaurants and markets selling cloth, amber, lace, woodwork and souvenirs.
Florianska is the main shopping district of Krakow is home to many boutiques as the increasingly upmarket as the Polish economy improves.
Krakow has a surprisingly diverse and lively night life, home to pubs and clubs catering to all tastes. The Irish Arms (ul. Poselska), Fusion (ul. Florianska) and Rdza (ul. Bracka) are amongst the best.