What to see in Cracow?
Main Market Square
The main square (Polish: Rynek Główny pronounced of the Old Town of Kraków, Lesser Poland, is the principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century, and at 3.79 ha (9.4 acres) is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe.
The Main Square is surrounded by old brick buildings and palaces, almost all of them several centuries old. Most buildings have acquired a neoclassical look over time, but the basic structures are older and can be seen in their doorways, architectural details and interiors.
Vast medieval cellars of the buildings are used as pubs, restaurants and cabarets. The square is lined with many restaurants and cafes. One of the most renowned, Pod Palmą (Under the Palm) at Krzysztofory Palace, was opened in 1876 by Antoni Hawełka, a purveyor to the imperial court in Vienna. It is the location of the Historical Museum of Kraków, above. Among the many tourism-oriented venues there is also the International Centre of Culture.
Probably the most famous of the oldest establishments is the Wierzynek's restaurant, remembered for the great feast of 1364 which, according to the legend, lasted for twenty one days and helped to reach a consensus between the monarchs of Europe.
Wawel is a fortified architectural complex erected over many centuries atop a limestone outcrop on the left bank of the Vistula river in Kraków, Poland, at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. The complex consists of many buildings and fortifications; the largest and best known of these are the Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral (which is the Basilica of St Stanisław and St Wacław).
Some of Wawel's oldest stone buildings, such as the Rotunda of the Virgin Mary can be dated to 970AD. There are also wooden parts of the complex which date to about the 9th century. The castle itself has been described as "one of the most fascinating of all European castles.www.wawel.krakow.pl
Kazimierz, Jewish District
Kazimierz is a historical district of Kraków and Kraków Old Town, Poland. Since its inception in the fourteenth century to the early nineteenth century, Kazimierz was an independent city, a royal city of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, located south of Kraków Old Town and separated by a branch of the Vistula river.
For many centuries, Kazimierz was a place of coexistence and interpenetration of ethnic Polish and Jewish cultures, its north-eastern part of the district was historic Jewish, whose Jewish inhabitants were forcibly relocated in 1941 by the German occupying forces into the Krakow ghetto just across the river in Podgórze.
Today Kazimierz is one of the major tourist attractions of Krakow and an important centre of cultural life of the city.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
The “Wieliczka” Salt Mine is one of the most valuable monuments of material and spiritual culture in Poland. Each year it is visited by more than one million tourists from all over the world. It is also a world class monument, featuring among twelve objects on the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. Today, the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine combines many centuries of tradition and modernity, the history of several hundred years and an underground metropolis with extensive infrastructure.www.kopalnia.pl
Schindler’s Factory Museum
Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory (Polish: Fabryka Emalia Oskara Schindlera), a former metal item factory in Kraków, is now host to two museums: the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, on the former workshops, and a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, situated at ul. Lipowa 4 (4 Lipowa street) in the district of Zabłocie (pl), in the administrative building of the former enamel factory known as Oskar Schindler's Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik (DEF).
Operating here before DEF was the first Malopolska factory of enamelware and metal products limited liability company, instituted in March 1937.
Ghetto Heroes Square
Ghetto Heroes Square in Cracow (previously Consensus Square) – square in the Podgórze District, 1941–1943 being a part of the Cracow ghetto. Jewish population was concentrated in the ghetto, before being transported to Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. Square was renovated after the war, current name was given in 2005 to commemorate the martyrdom of the Jewish nation.
On the square there has been situated an extraordinary monument, consisting of the 70 chairs-monuments. They have to stand for the former inhabitants of the district, that have been sent to concentration camp, leaving empty chairs in their homes. Chairs are standing in rows, like it was a case on appeal.
KL Auschwitz was the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers (Oświęcim, approx. 40 km from Cracow). Over 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives here. The authentic Memorial consists of two parts of the former camp: Auschwitz and Birkenau. A visit with an educator allows better understanding of this unique place.
More info about visits to be found on: www.auschwitz.org