The death of a dragon gave birth to this city: its bones reside in the castle to this day (or so legend claims). Such a legend suits Krakow, from its Royal Castle down to its most arty of cellar cafes.
Krakow, long heralded as the new Prague, is well established as a major tourist destinbation. At the height of summer, Poland's fourth largest city throngs with tour groups, all manner of tourist track and numerous cafes which seem to occupy most of the main square.
The magical city has largely been left intact since the Tartar raids in the 13th Century, which accounts for the largely unspoilt Old Town - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Laid out in 1257 the Main Market Square is one of the largest medieval market squares in Europe as well as remarkable set piece, fronted by elegant facades. It is dominated by the 16th century Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), which continues to perform its role as a trading area with its lively market stalls and cafes in and around the building. The surrounding lanes of the Old town are ringed by the Planty, a leafy linear park that follows the line of the Old Town walls. The large and impressive Wawel Hill to the South, is home to Wawel Castle, the seat of the Polish kings since the early 17th century.
One area that has seen traumatic times is the Kazimierz district: for centuries it was the centre of Jewish culture until the Nazis killed most of its residents and deported many of the survivors to the wartime ghetto of Podgorze and then into nearby Auschwitz. Kazmierz had largely fallen into decline since World War II, but the area is currently undergoing something of a renaissance in response to renewed interest brought about by the film Schindlers List.
The city's cultural heritage is mirrored in its intellectual achievments - the Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364 is one of the oldest in Europe.
If you do pay a visit and we encourage you to do so, spend a week there; you will be charmed by the sights, galleries and musea. Krakow never leaves one bored. After a week here in your excellent hotel, venture out beyond the city where there is also much to be seen.
Polorbis Holidays Ltd
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