Krakow

Krakow is an historical city with cobbled street bursting with colour and culture. Krak贸w was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town with Wawel Royal Castle was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world.

馃檪 Picturesque. Affordable. Proximity to key sites.

馃檨 Nothing negative to report.

THREE things that we did not know about Krakow:

  1. One of the dominating features of the Old Town鈥檚 Main Market Square, St. Mary鈥檚 Basilica is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. From the outside, you鈥檙e drawn to its looming brick structure, with its asymmetrical twin towers. The taller of the 2 displays a bright golden crown on top of its Gothic spire. Step inside the church doors and you鈥檙e treated to an explosion of colour. From the breathtaking kaleidoscope of 14th-century stained-glass windows illuminating the altar, to the brightly coloured wall paintings and the mesmerising deep-blue ceiling, twinkling with golden stars, it鈥檚 worth every bit of time to explore. Visit on the hour to hear the famous bugle call sound from the top of the tallest tower.
  2. Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory has now become a fascinating interactive museum in Krakow鈥檚 bleak industrial district. Schindler, the Nazi industrialist, became famous for saving the lives of 1,200 Jews by employing them to work in his factories during the Holocaust.
  3. Auschwitz stands as a poignant and stark reminder of the dire conditions Jews faced during the Holocaust of World War II. A journey to this infamous extermination camp is sobering, emotional, but altogether unmissable. It was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps and now serves as a moving memorial to the 1 million Jews who lost their lives there.

Paul and I are fortunate enough to have our wedding anniversary on a Bank Holiday weekend which means we always get to go away and celebrate. This year we chose Krakow. After an easy flight we were transferred to the City Square which is where our apartment was situated. A HUGE old communist type of place with the only downside being the flights of stairs that we had to climb. Poor Charlotte had succumbed to a tummy bug and did not feel great.

The Main Square, also known as Main Market Square, is the biggest Medieval plaza in Europe. Its 40,000 square meters are truly astonishing. The Main Market Square (Rynek Gl贸wny in Polish), designed in 1257, is considered Krak贸w’s city center and has an important historical, cultural and social significance. We headed there for a quick lunch.

We then did a City Tour to get our bearings in a little trolley. Poor Charlotte had to jump off to be sick! It was a handy way of getting around!

We stopped at Ghetto Heroes Square, Krakow, Poland. The empty chairs are powerful. The chairs look back to the square’s history, and the empty furniture that was discarded there. The chairs聽convey man’s inhumanity towards man.

We stopped at Schindler’s Factory

That evening Charlotte decided to stay in the apartment and sleep while we went out for dinner. We sampled Schnapps!

The Square really comes alive at night.

The next day we did the tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp which was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. It was a sombre and sad place. This was the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centres. Over 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives here.

Next stop was the Wieliczka Salt Mine, in the town of Wieliczka, southern Poland, lies within the Krak贸w metropolitan area. From Neolithic times, sodium chloride was produced there from the upwelling brine. The Wieliczka Salt Mine reaches a depth of 327 metres (1,073聽ft), and extends via horizontal passages and chambers for over 287 kilometres (178 miles). There are massive salt crystal chandeliers. YOu can worship in St. Kinga’s聽Chapel, deep in the Wieliczka聽salt mine.

Charlotte fortunately felt better and joined us for dinner.

The next day we wandered and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the Square.

A great long weekend.

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