Kraków is one of the oldest Polish cities. The city attracts a lot of tourists from around the world. We will start sightseeing from the Old Town. Kraków Main Squere is Europe’s largest medieval market square. You will see most of the attractions simply by walking. Spectacular Cloth Hall surrounded by historic tenement houses, the most famous artistic cellar in Kraków - Piwnica pod Baranami, as also as St. Mary's church - one of the most important church in Kraków, built in the 14th and 15th centuries. We will continue our trip along Florianska Street. You will see a lot of small shops here in colorful, historic tenement houses. At the end of the Street, you will find the Florian’s Gate, and behind it, Barbican - historic gateway leading into the Old Town. From the other side of Barbican there is a Planty Park. From here we will go towards the Wawel Hill. You will see the symbol of Kraków – Wawel Castle. The amount of time you spend there depends on you as Wawel offers up to 6 various exhibitions. According to us the most interesting ones are: Royal Private Apartments on the first floor and State Rooms on the second floor. On the Wawel Hill you can spend some time admiring architecture of the castle from picturesque hill garden and visit Wawel Cathedral to see the tombs of some Polish monarchs. You shouldn’t also forget to visit a legendary dragon’s den just by the Wawel Castle and take a photo of the famous dragon while it blows fire. After Wawel, it's time for Kazimierz – Jewish district of Kraków. Walk from the Wawel to Kazimierz takes about 15 minutes. Here the Krakow guide will tell the history of the jewish district, show the most important churches and attractions of the Christian part and then take a walk through the streets of the Jewish city, where you will see Krakow synagogues, the old Jewish cemetery and learn about Krakow's Judaica.
There are many speculations as to where the city's name came from. The first one was given by the traveler Ibrahim ibn Jakub (Cracova) from around 966. According to the chronicler, Master Wincenty, known as Kadłubek, the city descended from the prince who ruled the areas of former Poland. During his reign, the dragon monster was killed. Grateful subjects, after the ruler's death, founded a town called Gracchovia, which gave birth to Krakow.
In the past, Krakow attracted great scientists and artists from all over the world. It is thanks to them that there are many unique historical monuments, representing the most important trends in European culture. Each place has its own history, and many interesting legends and anecdotes remain in the memory of the inhabitants.
When visiting Krakow for the first time, it is impossible to get to know all its attractions. So let's get to know the most important monuments of Krakow, from which visitors will be able to start.
Located in the bend of the Vistula River, the Royal Castle on Wawel is one of the top highlights in Kraków. For centuries, it was the seat of Polish kings and a symbol of statehood. In 1930 the Castle also became one of the most important museums in Poland. In the castle there are six permanent exhibitions - Representative Royal Chambers and Private Royal Apartments, the Crown Treasury and the Armory, Oriental Art, The Lost Wawel and Wawel Recovered. During the tourist season, the route through the Dragon's Den is also open.
At Wawel, the Gothic Cathedral with Romanesque relics is very valuable - the cult center of St. Stanislaus. In the basement of the Cathedral, there are Royal Tombs open to visitors - the resting place of kings, princes and national heroes. Here is also the Sigismund Bell - the most famous Polish bell and the largest one, funded by Sigismund the Old, which is used during the most important church and national ceremonies.
The Market Square in Krakow is one of the largest and most beautiful Markets in Europe. St. Mary's Church, towers over the Kraków Market Square, is the greatest ornament of its. Every hour a bugle call is played live by trumpeters from the higher tower of the church, called Hejnalica. In the middle of the square there are the Cloth Hall. On the eastern side of the Main Square, between the Cloth Hall and the exit of Sienna Street there is Adam Mickiewicz monument - a place of meetings, performances by street artists, and a landmark on the Krakow market square. The 70-meter-high Town Hall Tower located on the Market Square offers a wide panorama of the city, while inside is a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. There are many beautiful tenement houses around the square, which add charm to this place. Many of them have restaurants, pubs, also outside. Under the Main Market Square in Krakow, there is an interesting underground tourist route that allows visitors to get to know the the fascinating medieval Krakow, using the latest technology. The entrance to them is in the Cloth Hall.
During the stay in Krakow, it is also worth seeing the Jewish district - Kazimierz. Visitors can start the tour from Wolnica Square with the 18th-century Town Hall. The town hall currently houses the Ethnographic Museum, which presents collections of folk art. A short distance away is the Corpus Christi Church, a great example of Gothic architecture in the form of the Church of St. Catherine, the Church of St. Trinity Church and St. Michael the Archangel and St. Stanislaus the Bishop Martyr along with the adjoining Pauline Monastery. There are beautiful synagogues here. The main synagogue of Kazimierz is the 17th-century Kupa synagogue. Jewish services are held in the Tempel synagogue, as well as cultural events and concerts. The oldest surviving synagogue in Poland, the Old Synagogue, is located at Szeroka Street. It houses the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, The History and Culture of Jews. On Szeroka Street there is also the Na Górce synagogue, the Wolf Popper synagogue, and the Remuh synagogue, founded in 1553, called the New Synagogue, unlike the Old Synagogue. Adjacent to the Remuh synagogue is the Jewish cemetery, one of the oldest in Poland and Europe.
There are also two frequently visited museums in Kazimierz – Galicja Jewish Museum and Oscar Schindler's Factory. The mission of the Galicia Museum is to make people aware of what was destroyed by the Holocaust and to leave the memory of Jewish culture in contemporary Poland. Meetings with a Holocaust witness are also possible there. At Oscar Schindler's Factory, visitors will hear the difficult and terrible history of Polish Jews and Krakow under German occupation.
The best way to experience Krakow is to go on a guided tour. With a number of knowledgeable guides ITS Poland will create a prefect tour for everyone. Apart from a captivating sightseeing full of stories of old and fascinating trivia this may be combined with a tasty lunch or dinner in one of Krakow's restaurants and a comfortable bus transfer to and from your hotel.