The most popular way to discover the highlights of the historic city centre is to trace the Royal Route which for centuries has been followed by the monarchs as Krakow used to be the capital of Poland. The route includes Barbican – medieval fortification, St. Mary’s Basilica with a magnificent wooden altar by Veit Stoss, Sukiennice – the Cloth Hall, Main Market Square, St. Paul and Peter’s church, Wawel Cathedral and Castle.
From the year 1000, when the bishopric of Krakow was established, Wawel has been at the heart of Poland’s history. Located here, the Royal Castle has been the seat of Poland’s kings from the 11th to the early 17th century. Today this is one of the most visited places in Krakow each summer overrun by tourists attracted by rich collection of royal tapestries, tombs of kings buried in the cathedral and by mysterious dragon’s cave lying at the foot of the hill.
Da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci's in Krakow
Krakow is one of just six places in the world that can boast a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. And there are known only three his female portraits of which Krakow’s Lady with an Ermine is arguably the most beautiful. It’s also in the best shape after the 500-plus years that elapsed.
Jewish Quarter in Kazimierz – Krakow
Jewish life before the World War II in Krakow was very vibrant, diverse and colourful. Cultural and religious life flowered for centuries. Its unique atmosphere is still present in Kazimierz quarter. The oldest preserved synagogue in Poland is situated there, as well as one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries dating back to XVIth century where the world-famous rabbi is buried – Remuh – Moses Isserles.
Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory
The story of Oskar Schindler became famous thanks to the Oscar award winning movie “Schindler’s list” based on the book by Thomas Keneally “Schindler’s Arc” which presents the story of a Nazi who came to Krakow during World War II. He took over a factory for economic reasons and used Jews as a cheap labor force. Over time he started to help Jews and rescued them from transports to the concentration camps.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Every year about a million tourists from all over the world visit the famous Wieliczka Salt mine to admire the historical chambers hewn from the living rock salt, as well as salt sculptures, brine lakes, and underground chapels. The mine was inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Auschwitz, the largest Nazi German death camp, became a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Shoah to the entire world. Operating today on its premises is a museum that at the same time is a memorial of remembrance.
Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec
Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec is situated picturesquely on a limestone promontory by wild banks of Vistula river. The first monks came here in the mid-XI century. Within the complex of the abbey, there is a gothic cloister, gothic-baroque church, and baroque monastery buildings. Benedictine spirituality is the foundation of the abbey’s existence. Monks still organize here retreats, seminars and meditations.
If you wish to improve your knowledge of Krakow please visit official city tourist guide Krakow Travel.