Much of Krakow has barely been changed since 13th Century and this has meant that there are some beautiful, unspoilt medieval areas still almost intact, such as the Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square), which is one of the largest medieval market squares in Europe and Old Town, which has achieved UNESCO world heritage site status.
There are many top attractions in Krakow, both historic and modern and here are just a few of the best:
- Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) – this is in the beautiful main market square and is an original building dating back to the 16th Century. These days it is filled with market stalls and cafes, and is very popular with both visitors and locals.
- Kosciol sw Wojciecha – St Adalbert’s Church is also in the main square and is one of the oldest and most important churches in Krakow, dating back to the 10th Century. The impressive gothic brick built church of St Mary (Kosciol Mariacki) is also situated in the squire, which contains a stunning wooden altarpiece (the largest gothic altarpiece in the world) that was hand carved by the famous German sculptor Veit Stoss.
- Zamek Krolewski – This Royal Castle was the seat of the Polish monarchs from the 11th Century right through to the 17th Century, and is mostly built in Renaissance style, but it also has some attractive Romanesque and gothic features. The palace is now a museum open to the public and houses a number wonderful exhibits including the crown armoury and treasury, the royal private apartments and an excellent collection of Oriental Art.
- Katedra Wawelska – Wawel Cathedral is also known as the Royal Cathedral as it was historically the coronation site and final resting place of the Polish monarchs. The building dates back to the early 11th Century and contains some valuable cultural relics of the patron saint of Krakow and Poland, St Stanislaw.
- Muzeum Narodowe – the National Museum has exhibits in a number of individual buildings across the city, but the main collection of decorative art and work by 20th Century Polish artists is located in the main building at Aleja 3 Maja 1. Upstairs in the Cloth Hall is an excellent collection of work by 19th Century Polish artists.
- Muzeum Czartoryskich – Czartoryski Museum specialises ancient art and artefacts from Greece, Egypt, Turkey and the Orient, and there are also some very famous European works of art here including the wonderful ‘Landscape with the Good Samaritan’ by Rembrandt, and ‘Lady with an Ermine’ by Leonardo da Vinci.
- Muzeum Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego – Poland is famous for its many educational and intellectual achievements, and the Jagiellonian University is the second oldest university in Central Europe, having been founded back in 14th Century. Although the university was badly damage by bombing and ground fighting in WWII, many of the excellent old buildings remain including one of the oldest, the Collegium Maius, built back in the 15th Century, which is now a museum.
if not, come back tomorrow on journeyetc.com and see what's new :)