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Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and the former capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. With origins in the Stone Age, the city has grown to be the second largest in the country and is home to Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world, as well as several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Krakow features a wealth of history, with age-old structures, beautiful architecture, and fine art galleries that showcase pieces by world-famous artists. Take your time exploring Krakow's abundance of things to do and see, absorbing its heritage during your stay.
Krakow was developed over many centuries and its neighborhoods are filled with an astounding range of architecture. While touring the city, look for fine examples of architectural styles from Gothic and Renaissance to Art Nouveau and Postmodern.
Old Town - Krakow's Old Town is part of the city's historic center and was the political center of Poland from 1038 to 1596. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Polish Historic Monument, the Old Town is home to the vibrant Main Market Square, where you can find the iconic Town Hall Tower and Cloth Hall, once a major center of international trade. The Royal Road of Krakow passes through the Old Town and is marked with some of the city's most prominent historic landmarks.
Kazimierz - Kazimierz is a historic district in Krakow and is separated from the Old Town by the Vistula River. The district is known for its picturesque renaissance buildings and historic Jewish quarter. Visit the Old Synagogue, which dates back to the 15th century and was one of the most important synagogues in the city until the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Kazimierz hosts the annual Jewish Cultural Festival, Europe's largest celebration of Jewish culture and music.
Wawel - Also known as Wawel Hill, Wawel is a fortified complex perched above Krakow's Vistula River. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex consists of landmarks like Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, as well as buildings like the Rotunda of the Virgin Mary that date back to the 10th century.
Krakow was named the European Capital of Culture in 2000, and with 28 museums and public galleries plus an abundance of Polish Renaissance art, the city does not disappoint. Visit major landmarks like the National Art Museum, which features nearly 780,000 works with a focus on Polish painting, or the Czartoryski Museum, which houses famous pieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Krakow is also home to famous performing arts venues like the Julius Slowacki Theatre and the Krakow Philharmonic, home to the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Opera Krakowska, where 200 opera and ballet performances are staged each year.
Spend your vacation in Krakow visiting its wealth of historic sites. In addition to famous buildings like the 16th-century Wielopolski Palace and the elegant Brick Gothic church of Saint Mary's Basilica, the city is home to green spaces like Planty Park and the Botanic Garden of Jagiellonian University where you can stroll among thousands of flowers and plant species. Near Krakow is the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where you can explore the somber history of World War II in the region. In Krakow itself is Oskar Schindler’s Factory, which now operates as a museum devoted to the wartime experiences in the city. For a look at a lighter piece of history, visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which opened in the 13th century and features 4 chapels carved out of the rock salt by miners. Experiencing the cuisine is a must-do in Krakow as well, as the city is known for its hearty and protein-rich diet, Obwarzanki bread, and flavored vodka.