About Kracow

Kraków (Polish pronunciation: ['krakuf] ) also Krakow, or Cracow, is the second largest and one of the oldest city in Poland, situated on the Wisla River in the Malopolska region. The city dates back to the 7th century. Krakow has traditionally been one of the leading centre of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic centre. It was the previous capital of Poland.It is not a simple task to describe the unique character of Cracow to those who still have not had the opportunity to visit this city. This uniqueness is primarily due to the rare cultural heritage embodied within the city walls. Here, in the year 1000, a Roman Catholic bishopric was founded. Here, the residential royal castle was constructed on the Wawel Hill, becoming the site for the coronations and burials of kings, as Cracow was the capital of Poland from the 11th to 17th century. Here in 1364, the Cracow Academy was established, the first Polish University (today renamed the Jagiellonian University).

 The city image has changed during the past centuries. During the Middle Ages, Cracow was a safe, rich, fortified city surrounded by walls with 55 towers (fragments of the city fortification have been preserved to this day). During the Renaissance, Cracow became the centre of progressive ideas, with a culture that concentrated the most outstanding humanists, writers, architects and musicians. Even a few centuries later, while the city was going through an economic decline during the period of Modernism, quite probably the whole of the Polish artistic elite found its haven in Cracow. City life focused around the Market Square, the second largest in Europe after St. Mark’s Square in Venice.

 

Only few European cities have such a distinct medieval architectural layout as Cracow does. When we look down the city roofs we will see an exceptional checked pattern of streets, which are surrounded by fragments of the surviving city walls. This view evokes the exciting picture of a medieval fortified town surrounded by city walls. The walls were strengthened with 47 towers and had a total length of 3 km. Eight main gates led to the town. Only one of them has survived. The walls not only safeguarded the citizens but also the priceless pearls of architecture inside. The medieval fortification system survived until the 19th century. The local authorities decided to demolish the walls and replace them with a strip of green land around the city called the Planty. Now it forms an oval city park, a rarity in the world, which extends around the Old Town.

 

Tradition interlaces with modern times nearly everywhere you go, and each stone has its own history. There is a multitude of architectural monuments estimated at six thousand buildings and other types and forms of construction. Thanks to the extraordinary accumulation of cultural wealth, the city was registered as one of the 12 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is impossible to describe or even list all the tourist attractions in Cracow. One can be sure, however, that each tourist will discover his or her own magical Cracow. While some will follow the footsteps of Nicholas Copernicus, others will be interested in sites linked with John Paul II. Some will be fascinated by the worldwide unique underground corridors of the Wieliczka salt mine, and, yet others will wander around the alleys of the Jewish Kazimierz district. Still others will stand enchanted in front of the Wit Stwosz altar.

Magic Cracow: http://www.krakow.pl/english/

Cracow guide: http://www.krakow.travel/ http://cracow.travel/