Magical Cracow, an Old Medieval Polish City :: Fshoq! Travel Blog

Magical Cracow, an Old Medieval Polish City

City of Cracow - Old Town Square

When we think of one of the biggest European cities tourists used to visit, you probably have in mind such ones as Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Vienna or Barcelona. I still cannot believe anybody knows about Cracow (Krakow), a really beautiful historical city, the real gem of the Eastern Europe and a former capital of Poland.

Cracow is probably the best destination in Poland. It's an old-fashioned beautiful city filled with history, tourists, students, restaurants and enjoyable sights.

Cracow Old Town

Even though the Polish capital moved from here 400 years ago to Warsaw, this city still remains intellectual and cultural center. I mean it because I saw it and it was perfect.

Ok, I already showed you some of my own enthusiasm, so it's time now to give you a few reasons why you should definitely put the Cracow on your travel wish list.

Old town

Well, when a city has been around for as long as this one has, there are a lot of interesting things to see and do, especially in the Krakow's Old Town.

Clothing Hall (Sukiennice) in Krakow, Poland

Barbican and Florian’s Gate

If you will follow north, you will find the Barbican and the Florian’s Gate. It was a miracle, but those buildings survived the Second World War, so they are very old, dated to 14th and 15th century. The city government is very concerned about these buildings so they are well maintained and worth a visit.

Old Town Square

Called also in Polish "Rynek Główny". This is the center of Cracow and it's the biggest medieval square in the whole Europe. Take your time and enjoy this huge Old Town Square, by walking here a bit.

Mariacki Church in Cracow

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

In the center of the Town Square, you can see a big building called the Cloth Hall. The name comes from the building purpose because when Polish King built it in the 14th century, the people were trading textiles and fabrics here. You can find in Sukiennice some interesting shops at ground level, the gallery of 19th-century Polish art and a museum.

Mariacki Church (St. Mary's Basilica)

St. Mary's Basilica (called also the Mariacki Church) has been built in 1320 and reshaped in the early 15th century. You can see that one tower is taller than another one. Once it was a city watch tower, now it's the place from where you can hear "Hejnał Mariacki", the city's famous bugle call, which is played on every full hour.

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland

Wawel Castle

The Wawel Castle was built between 11th and 12th century when Polish capital city was moved to Krakow. During King Casimir III the Great all wooden buildings were changed to stone and the whole castle was rebuilt by Queen Jadwiga in late 14th century, including most of the towers and the defense wall. The Wawel Castle has undergone even more modernization in the 16th century.

Important: On the season, the tickets to the castle can be sold out even on the early morning, so it's always better to buy them through the internet to make sure you will visit it.

Inside of the Wawel Castle in Cracow

The Wawel Cathedral

The Wawel Cathedral was the burial site for all Polish monarchs and kings. If you want, you can visit crypts and see their tombs, even from 14th century. Also, all other Polish important people lies here: national heroes, poets, revolutionaries or generals. You can find here the tomb of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who died in the airplane crash accident in Smolensk.

Wawel Cathedral (on the left), Cracow.

The Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski)

Walking around the castle we can find the Wawel Dragon, known also as the Dragon of Wawel Hill, is a very famous dragon in Polish folklore and legends, which says that his cave was at the foot of Wawel Hill on the bank of the Vistula River.

Tip: From time to time (after every 10 minutes), the dragon will breathe with real fire, so it is worth to sit down and wait here a while.

Auschwitz Nazi Camp, Poland

Auschwitz

The Auschwitz Birkenau is not directly in Krakow, but it's near and if you are in the city you just must visit it, as it will be one of the most emotional trips in your life. This is our history and we shouldn't forget it to make sure things like here will never happen again.

About the history of this Nazi Death Camp, we can write books, so I will try to short it as much as possible. During the World War II Germans created in Poland many death camps, where they took Jewish and Polish people to work in inhuman conditions, so almost all of them died eventually. What was the scale? From 1942 to 1944 died here about 1,1 million people. it's more than a 1000 people during one day. Just imagine that.

Auschwitz Death Camp main gate with "Arbait Macht Frei" text.

When we talk about Auschwitz Death Camp, we probably don't know that there were three different, separate camps:

  • Auschwitz I - This was the first camp built by the Nazis as the SS headquarter. Many experiments and murders happened here. Nowadays it's turned into a Museum.
  • Auschwitz II (Birkenau) – This is the main and the biggest camp, where more than a million people were killed in the gas chambers and from the inhuman living conditions. It can be found about three kilometers from the Auschwitz I and you can also visit it.
  • Monowitz (called also Buna) – This was mainly a labor camp and it's now completely destroyed.
Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, which is on the World Heritage list of UNESCO, is a unique salt mine opened for visitors. It can be found in the city with the same name - Wieliczka, and you can get there by bus from Cracow.

You can get 327 meters underground to enter 287 kilometers of the Polish royal mine shafts, that between 13th and 18th century monopolized the global salt market. Discover beautiful chambers, corridors and even chapels and restaurant, all hidden deep under ground.

Famous Krakow carriages.

Other advantages

Krakow city can offer you a lot of things to do and places to go, but it's just impossible to write about all of them. If you want to experience it on your own, just must go and visit Cracow by yourself.

Affordable

One of the awesome advantages of this city (and the whole Poland) is that it's just cheap and affordable. For a meal in the restaurant, you will pay from 20 to 50 PLN (5.50 USD to 14 USD). Accommodation costs from about 15 USD (standard 6-8 bed dorm room) to about 50 USD (hotel private room with wifi and breakfast).

Polish Pierogi with Meat and Bacon

Bars and restaurants

There are also many interesting and tasteful bars and restaurants across the city of Cracow. You should definitely try the famous Polish pierogi and sausage bowl soup. When you will visit a restaurant to eat pierogi, try not only the ones with meat but also a dessert pierogi, for example with blueberries, they're awesome.

Summary

There's no way to write about all the tourist attractions in one single travel guide about Krakow city. I hope that I helped you to see why Cracow is an awesome city for travelers. It's a beautiful historical city where always something happens and you will have plenty things to do.

If you enjoyed this article or have some questions, please do not be afraid and leave me the comment in the section below.

Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!


4.75 | 4 votes
Comments: 1
  •   14th September 2018, 16:03

    Krakow is great! This text was translated automatically. Original text is below: Kraków jest super!

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