From this side, a Polish volunteer!
Last time I showed you my beloved Warsaw, now I want to share with you another city that has a special place in my heart. Krakow is probably one of the few places in Poland that survived the war almost intact. The castle has been preserved, the wonderful townhouses and the old spirit of the city, which you will not find anywhere else.
Places worth recommending and seeing at least once:
- Wawel – The castle has been the residence of kings since the 11th century, the initial wooden one became a huge fortress after many reconstructions. Even if you don’t enter the castle, just walking around it is amazing, the huge castle complex includes several buildings including a cathedral with the tombs of kings. There’s also an amazing view of the Vistula River and a dragon lurking under the walls.
- Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) – Old Town Square – The fully preserved old market square with the Cloth Hall, whose history dates back to the 14th century and, like the castle, has been rebuilt several times, but has retained its former functions. There are still two rows of stalls selling jewellery, handicrafts and other souvenirs.
- Jewish Kazimierz – Krakow’s Kazimierz is a special place, shaped by centuries of Christian-Jewish neighbourhood. Jews appeared in Kazimierz in the mid-fourteenth century and until the early nineteenth century they lived in the “Jewish Town”, enclosed within the boundaries of today’s Miodowa, St. Lawrence, Wąska, Józefa and Bożego Ciała streets. It was an autonomous enclave – the Jews ruled there independently – they had only the king over them, on whose behalf power was exercised by the governor of Cracow. Today Kazimierz is one of the most recognisable places in Krakow. This district, teeming with cultural and artistic life, attracts especially those who want to feel the spirit of Krakow’s bohemia.
- Planty – a city park in Kraków surrounding the Old Town,The Planty was built on the site of the fortifications surrounding the city: the defensive walls (demolished at the beginning of the 19th century) and the moat and ramparts situated in front of them.It used to be a rubbish dump, but after revitalisation as much as 21 hectares (4 kilometres) of greenery surrounded the city and became one of the attractions. The city takes great care of them and it is pleasant to spend time in them.
Another thing is that there are plenty of synagogues in Krakow. I recommend to enter at least two or three of them and see how they look like. There is a fee to enter but it is worth it.
Each of them has its own amazing character. One is all white and has no decorations, and next to it there is another one all covered in red and gold.
These are just a few places, but there are many more. Just get out and go. Krakow always surprises, but only in a positive way.
Dominika, Polish volunteer, In Situ foundation in Sokołowsko