Kraków is a city that attracts thousands of tourists from Poland and abroad each year. Many of them head straight for the Market Square, where you can listen to the bugle call on the hour, visit historical churches and the Sukiennice archway, and have a tasty meal in one of many restaurants.
When visiting Kraków, it’s good to see a few other memorable places as well. Here are the most important ones.
Old Town in Kraków
The Old Town is a district full of historical buildings and treasures of architecture. Among them you will find a few in the Market Square, too. Other historical places include the fortified walls of the Barbican and the Florian Gate, which attracts artists presenting their works, as well as numerous churches in a variety of architectural styles.
When walking around the Old Town, it’s good to have a closer look at the Jagiellonian University with the Collegium Maius complex, and find mementoes of famous Poles, e.g. St. John Paul II or Nicolaus Copernicus, both of whom had a significant episode in Kraków.
The Kazimierz district
Almost every tour of Kraków includes a brief visit to the Kazimierz district – the former Jewish quarters. Once you reach it, you can visit synagogues that remember the best days of this district, and learn more about the tragic history of Jews dotted with optimism and kindness of those who were willing to help them out even in most desperate times. Mandatory stops in this area include the Ghetto Heroes Square (Plac Bohaterów Getta), the Pod Orłem Pharmacy and the museum of Oskar Schindler, whose history was the basis for Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List.”
The Salt Mine in Wieliczka
When visiting Kraków, it’s good to assign half a day for a tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which has been attracting thousands of tourists for years now. Deep underneath the ground there is an enchanting labyrinth of corridors carved in the salt walls. When walking along these corridors, you can marvel at numerous wonders of nature, such as the Chapel of St. Kinga, with beautiful salt sculptures, bas-reliefs and chandeliers.
The Museum in Auschwitz
When in Kraków, you can also visit the Museum in Auschwitz – a memento of the darkest episode in the history of mankind. In the Nazi concentration camp more than a million people of various nationalities were killed. This is a hard lesson in history, but also an important experience for everybody. When visiting the camp, you can learn more about its history and take a moment to pay a silent homage to all those who died there.