Dzisiejszy wpis przygotowałam dla moich znajomych, którzy nie mówią po polsku, a coraz częściej pytają mnie o Kraków i w najbliższym czasie planują odwiedzić moje rodzinne miasto.
Krakow is becoming an incredibly popular tourist destination.
There is nothing weird about that; Krakow is a really awesome city.
A lot of my friends from different countries are planning to go there so I decided to make a little tour through my home-town.
Krakow is situated on the Vistula River, in southern Poland. The city, with a population of around 760,000, has the oldest university in Poland (Jagiellonian University) and one of the oldest in the world.
Krakow has always been one of the most important cities in Poland, centre of artistic, cultural and academic life.
What to see
I will split this tour on two parts.
The first one will include the Main Square and surroundings and the second one Kazimierz (Krakow’s Jewish district).
Main Square and surrounding
We can start our tour from seeing Barbakan (a fortified outpost) and then enter the city through the Florian Gate.
In the past the Old Town was encircled by a wall. There are still a few places where you can see remnants of it. The Florian Gate is one of its gates, was built in the 14th century as a rectangular Gothic tower.
From 1038 to 1569 Krakow was the royal capital of Poland. The whole Old Town is traversed by the Royal Road. Starting from Florian Gate we can walk Floriańska street down to the Main Square.
In the centre of the Main Square you can see the Cloth hall (Sukiennice), which in the past was a centre of international trade.
On the upper hall of the Sukiennice you can find the Art Museum with an exhibition of 19th-century Polish paintings and sculptures (free entrance every Sunday).
Under the Main Square there is a large museum (Rynek Underground). It was opened in 2010. Documentary films, multimedia, holograms, sounds helps to familiarise which Krakow’s rich history and imagine daily life a few centuries ago. (Admission free on Tuesday. Closed on every first Tuesday of the month.)
Apart from that, on the main square you can see the Town Hall Tower, the Adam Mickiewicz monument (Polish poet), the Church of St. Adalbert and St. Mary’s Basilica.
From the Main Square we can continue on the royal route through Grodzka street up to Wawel Castle, which is located on the hill next to Vistula river.
The whole Old Town is surrounded by Planty (on of the largest city parks in Krakow).
Kazimierz is a Jewish district of Krakow.
In the past an independent town inhabited mainly by Jewish people, Kazimierz now features an artistic district with many interesting pubs, coffee places and shops with handmade and unique items made by Polish artists. A centre of cultural and nightlife, the whole district has a special and unique style.
What to see:
In Kazimierz there are 7 synagogues; two of them (Remuh and Tempel) are open for tourists.
Szeroka street; Józefa street, Miodowa street, Wolnica (Market Square), Nowy Square,
Jewish cemeteries and a lot of small, cute, interesting streets.
Take your time and enjoy the atmosphere and unique places of Kazimierz. I am sure you will fall in love with this district from the very first moment.
Since 1988, every summer; Kazimierz hosts a Jewish Culture Festival. For one week streets, pubs and coffee places are filled with Jewish art and music.
What to drink and eat:
If you like hot chocolate you have to go to one of my favourite places. Nowa Prowincja, very atmospheric coffee place, located on Bracka street (off the Main Square).
For nightlife I would recommend Kazimierz. There you will find a lot of great pubs; just to mention a few:
Alchemia (street Estery 5)
Miejsce (street Estery 1)
Królicze Oczy (street Estery 14)
Piękny Pies (street Bożego Ciała 9)
Stajnia (street Józefa 12)
Typical Polish food : kotlet, żeberka, pierogi, naleśniki
You can try them in many places. I recommend : Gospoda Koko on Gołębia street (good and cheep food in a very nice underground establishment)
Vegetarian food is available in Nova Krova
The most important, when you are in Krakow, in Kazimierz: don’t forget to try ZAPIEKANKI. The best ones can be found in the central round building on Nowy Square. Don’t be surprised when you see a lot of people queuing in front of some small window. You will just have to wait a bit but it’s totally worth it.
A few useful links:
If you have a few days more you can olso visit Wieliczka solt mines and the Auschwitz Concentration Camp (around 1h away from Krakow) but obout those places I will write another time.