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Travel Guide to Krakow, Poland

Without a doubt, Old Krakow belongs to the most beautiful cities of not only Poland, but also the whole Europe. The beautiful metropolis, situated on the banks of the Vistula River, is known worldwide for its cultural and historical monuments. In this city one will find approximately 5,000 medieval buildings and more than two million works of art. Furthermore, throughout the year Krakow hosts numerous cultural festivals. Many people say that this city has a magical power.
Cuisine of Krakow for gourmet
Krakow offers to its guests numerous excellent restaurants, many of which have remained a favorite place for eating for townspeople and visitors for decades. Arka Noegro is considered the most...
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Emerged in the XIII century, the Old Town, "the Polish Florence", is rather small and it will take approximately half an hour to go round on foot. Old streets and buildings are located here around central Rynek Glowny Square (show on map ), which is, together with Piazza San Marco in Venice, known as the largest medieval square in Europe. The compact center of the city is surrounded by the green area of Planty . The southwest side of the city is the location of Wawel Castle that has been the residence of Polish kings for centuries. If you go further to the south, you will reach the Vistula.
Wawel Castle.
Wawel Castle Ensemble is the most important symbol of Krakow. It was built in the center of a limestone hill, and many years ago it was the family seat of the Polish dynasty of Piast. This was the place from which the fate of Poland was decided for six centuries, because Krakow was the capital of Poland in the XVII century. Of course, a large number of legends are connected to the church. The most famous one tells us about the "Wawel Dragon". This legend is still told to children throughout the country. It tells about a dragon that lived in a cave under the castle and that kept the whole city in fear. Only the brave shoemaker’s apprentice was able to stop it. He filled a sheepskin with sulfur and placed it on wooden legs in front of the lair of the dragon. The monster swallowed the “sheep” and died. The king offered the apprentice any award he wished, and the guy decided to make boots from the leather of the defeated dragon. Even nowadays, anyone can enter the world of legends and fairy tales by visiting the cave in which the evil dragon lives as before. However, this time it’s present only in the form of a statue.
Cultural sights in Krakow
The legendary Krakow Market Square remains the permanent symbol of the city. The square was founded back in medieval times. This is also the largest square in Europe. Market Square has a square shape...
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Do not forget that Wawel is not only a castle, but a castle ensemble. Inside it you will find both the royal apartments and a number of small chapels, the most famous of which is the chapel of Sigmund. The building itself is more like a building in the Renaissance style in Tuscany, rather than a God's temple.
Narrow passages and steep stairs will bring you to the bell tower, where visitors will see a huge Sigmund bell. Poles are very superstitious, and so they’ve come up with a myth concerning this place of interest. One is allowed to look at the bell as many times as he wishes. However, touching the bell can be done only once in a lifetime. When doing this, the hand you use to touch it has a crucial importance. If you touch the bell with your right hand, you will have good luck and love. If you touch it with your left hand, you will be lucky in money issues. Thus, visitors are invited to choose between love and money in their lives. Tourists, who decide to cheat and touch the bell with both hands in order to get love and money, will get none of them or the second. This ancient legend remains very popular with young people.
Krakow tips: making best out of
1. The amount of tips in local cafes and restaurants estimates 10%, but leaving a smaller sum is also acceptable. 2. Students are advised to purchase a special ISIC card, which allows you to get...
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However, Krakow has much to offer its visitors in addition to historical monuments and numerous legends. Fans of shopping are recommended to visit Market Square (Rynek). They will also find many opportunities to make a successful purchase in the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) , where a wide selection of historical gifts, decorations and other lovely items wait for their future owners. The Cloth Hall is a unique place, which, thanks to the atmosphere and the range of products, helps to look to the commercial world of the Middle Ages.
St. Mary's Church.
The church of Saint Mary is located near the Cloth Hall. In the Middle Ages the church performed the function of the city guard tower. The main altar of the church is dedicated mainly to the life of the Virgin Mary and it is opened only for a few hours a day. However, even with the doors closed the altar is very beautiful and unique. Its figures are made in the life-size, and because of this the altar seems to be particularly "alive" in the atmosphere of the old church.
Habits and lifestyle of Krakow inhabitants
Local people are very sensitive to the customs of their ancestors. It’s hard to find such a large number of interesting traditions and national holidays in any other city in Poland. Every year in...
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Every day a trumpeter goes up the steps of the bell tower of St Mary's, and sounds of «Hejnal» linger to all parts of the city. This sound is known as the musical symbol of Krakow. The age of this ritual is more than 750 years. This is a way to honor the memory of a sentinel, who was killed in the XIII century when he was sending the danger alarm. This is such an ancient tradition that at twelve o'clock the sound of the trumpet from the bell tower of St. Mary Church is broadcasted by radio stations in whole Poland.
Krakow Academy.
Krakow today is not just a city with rich and ancient history, but also a cosmopolitan European city thanks to one of the leading educational institutions in Poland, Krakow Academy (Universytet Jagielonski ) that is located there. Here, in 17 different faculties, study students from all over the world. Stanislaw Lem is known as one of the most famous graduates of the renowned educational institution. The Academy is worth visiting only because of the building in which it is located. The house is a fine example of the architecture of the XIV century. The courtyard with arcades and numerous small parts are made in the Gothic style. Gutters here are decorated with gargoyles. The Academy has its own museum, where visitors can see an old auditorium, a library, and, among other things, a collection of historical instruments.
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All about Krakow, Poland - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture and cuisine. Prepare your trip to Krakow together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the things to do in Krakow, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Travel guide by OrangeSmile B.V.