For centuries Krakow was the capital city of Poland; today it is the country's cultural?capital.?The fourth-largest city in Poland it is home to a multitude of museums, churches, art galleries and many more cultural attractions.
In 2000 it was named one of the nine "European Cities of Culture." Krakow is also home to the oldest university in Poland (Jagiellonian University) with its 100,000 students.
The young population, makes Krakow a fantastic destination for nightlife. Krakow was one of the few?major European cities to avoid being bombed during?World War II, thus preserving its beautiful skyline.
From the Gothic Wawel Royal Cathedral to the Renaissance Cloth Hall, Krakow is full of architectural wonders.
Krakow is located in the southeast of Poland on the banks of the Vistula River. The city is nestled between the Jura uplands and the Tatra Mountains.
Krakow Airport (also known as John Paul II International Airport) is the main airport, located in Balice, about 12km to the west of the centre. It is the second biggest airport in Poland.There are regular flights from cities across Europe. The airport is easily connected to Krakow city centre with bus service at least once each hour.
Budget airlines that operate service to/from Krakow:
Top Ten Things to See in Krakow:
1. Grand Square (Rynek Glowny) - Krakow's central square, arguably one of the world's most beautiful. It features many of Krakow's key landmarks including the Cloth Hall, Basilica of the Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert's Church.
2. Wieliczka Salt Mine - 900 years of mining have produced 200km aof passages and 2040 caverns in this vast salt mine.?The mines feature altars and statues sculpted out of salt. Located 10km outside Krakow centre, the mines are worth the trip.
3. National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe) - Divided out into several buildings, the museum features Polish and European art as well as many temporary exhibitions.
4. Auschwitz - The notorious Nazi camp is located 70km outside Krakow. Today there is a memorial and museum. Entry is free.
5. Kazimierz Town - Formerly a separate town, the ancient city is now in Krakow centre. The area has many?points of interest?including the Jewish Quarter with its Stara Synagoga (Old Synagogue).
6. Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski) - Situated on Wawel Hill, the former home to Polish kings is now a museum. Its rooms are filled with artistic and historic treasures.
7. Wawel Cathedral (Katedra Wawelska) - Also on Wawel Hill, the cathedral was the coronation and burial site for most Polish monarchs.
8. Kanonicza Street - The last section of the Royal Road, following the route from the city gate to the central square. It is debatably one of Europe's most beautiful streets.
9. Medieval Krakow - Though most of the city walls were pulled down in the early 19th century, the main city gate - Brama Florianska - and its adjacent towers have survived. A belt of public parks - Planty Garden Ring - have replaced the old walls.
10. Jagiellonian University - The oldest univeristy in Poland was founded in 1364. It is the alma mater of famous scientist Copernicus and Pope John Paul II. ? Photo Credit: Images from Flickr - Vipeldo
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