Top Krakow Excursions
The second largest of Poland's cities, Kraków is also one of its oldest. This one-time royal capital, despite its conspicuously medieval nucleus, possesses a very modern outlook and features a winning blend of locals, students and culture-hungry travellers.
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Rynek G?ówny, AKA Main Market Square, is a great place to begin your Kraków voyage of discovery. It's the epicentre of social life in the city and features Europe's biggest medieval market, too. It's also been the star of many a film, including noted Polish director Krzysztof Kie?lowski's The Double Life of Véronique.
A historic district of great significance, Kazimierz is often referred to as the 'Jewish Quarter', and with good reason. Here you'll discover a plethora of synagogues, for example, as well as museums that provide much insight into the plight of Polish Jews before, during and after World War II.
Brought to greater prominence by Steven Spielberg's 1993 film, Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory now functions as a museum. Learn about everyday life for Jews during Nazi-occupied Poland – the ordinary families, the resistance fighters and the man himself.
St Mary's Basilica
Completed in the mid-14th century, Ko?ció? Wniebowzi?cia Naj?wi?tszej Maryi Panny (to give it its Polish title) is a Gothic structure with an unusually mismatched two-tower design. Inside, you'll find a quite remarkable wooden altarpiece that is the largest of its kind in the world.
Zamek Królewski na Wawelu (or Wawel Royal Castle) is an imposing, fairytale-like fortress that was constructed during the 13th and 14th centuries. The majority of Poland's royal rulers resided here but it has long since been open to the public. Discover ornate residential buildings, churches, defensive towers and art galleries. Venture beneath the castle and enter the so-called 'dragon's cave', which features a statue of the Wawel dragon, a mythical creature whose tale begins sometime in the 13th century.
Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie, or MNK for short, is the headquarters of Poland's National Museum (there are 11 more in the city and several more throughout the country). Contained within are three permanent exhibitions: Polish Arms and National Colours, the Gallery of 20th-century Polish Painting and the Gallery of Decorative Art. Another of this museum's many attractions is Lady with an Ermine, a stunning oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
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