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Krakow's Old Town 

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  View of Krakow in the 16th century
View of Krakow published in 1617. The Old Town's skyline changed little since then.

Old Town Historical District in Krakow 

Krakow is Poland’s prime tourist attraction, a must with few equals in the entire Central and Eastern Europe. The place has been settled since the Stone Age at least. In 1038 Krakow became the capital of Poland and Polish monarchs took up their residence in its Wawel Royal Castle. The Old Town historical district in Krakow’s heart, Stare Miasto in Polish, is actually the medieval city established in 1257 by Prince Boleslav V, the ruler of Poland at the time. Its well preserved original grid of streets with the huge central Grand Square, Europe’s largest in the Middle Ages, seems the last stage in the perfection of medieval city planning. It is also the best example of that art.

In its long history Krakow underwent many ups and downs. The proud capital city of a mighty kingdom for centuries, it was turned into a sleepy borderland town of the Austrian empire in the 19th century. Then it became a vital center of Polish national awakening at the turn of the 20th century and the cradle of Poland’s rebirth, only to be reduced to backwater under communism. 

Now Krakow is nearly a million city ripe for restoration to European status. And the beautiful Old Town area remains its vibrant hub with numerous landmarks, museums, art galleries, music venues, theaters, university colleges, etc. on top of myriad shops, cafes, hotels and best restaurants in Krakow.

UNESCO entered the whole of Krakow's Old Town in the list of the world cultural heritage. 

Online videos from the Old Town in Krakow


Districts of Krakow


Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Cathedral

Grand Square

Basilica of the Virgin Mary's

Cloth Hall

Town Hall Tower

City Walls

Great Barbican

Planty Garden Ring

Collegium Maius

Kanonicza Street

Krakow mummies


Old Town map

  Wawel Royal Castle
Home to three dynasties of Poland's monarchs. Its stately halls and exquisite chambers are filled with priceless art, best period furniture and rare ancient objects. The collection of the 16th-century monumental Flemish
tapestries is matchless.

Wawel Cathedral
Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of superb church art. Its
giant bell of 1520 ranks with the world's largest. Most Polish kings and their family members are buried in the cathedral, its chapels and crypts.

  Grand Square
Krakow’s central Grand Square (Rynek Glowny), the largest plaza of medieval Europe and one of the world’s finest with its spectacular landmarks, has remained the hub of the city since the 13th century.

Basilica of the Virgin Mary's
The immense Gothic church, Krakow's principal temple since the 13th century, shelters the world's
greatest Gothic sculpture among its many excellent works of art.

 
  Cloth Hall
The world's oldest shopping mall has been in business for 700 years. The present Renaissance edifice dates from 1555.

Town Hall Tower
Krakow's leaning tower was built by the end of the 13th century.

 
  City Walls
700-year-old main city gate with adjoining mighty walls and towers.

Great Barbican
Awesome 500-year-old unmatched masterpiece of medieval military engineering.

 
  Planty Garden Ring
Park of 30 varied gardens among old trees round Krakow's Old Town historical district.

Collegium Maius
15th-century impressive Grand College of the Krakow university where Copernicus once studied.

 
  Kanonicza Street
The most beautiful of Europe's ancient streets,arguably.

Krakow mummies
Picturesque 17th-century church and monastery shelter numerous naturally mummified bodies in their crypts.

 

Other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Krakow and the Malopolska Province

Wieliczka salt mine

Auschwitz concentration camp

The Calvary sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska 

Malopolska's wooden churches

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