Krakow – a city of talking stones
The university city of Krakow is the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in southern Poland. This is an amazingly beautiful town, living in a halo of history, art, culture and folk traditions.
Krakow in 1978 was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The fairytale city is considered not only the city of “talking stones”, but also the city of legends. Even today in Krakow there are more than 100 active churches and monasteries, and on the street you can often see a beautiful nun as a Madonna or young people praying in front of the monument to St. Stanislav. Already around 900, Krakow was a rather noisy trading town. In 965, he received the official status of a city, and in 1000 became the seat of the bishopric. After 38 years, Krakow became the capital of the empire, led by the Piast clan. On the Wawel Hill, one of several limestone cliffs towering over the Vistula River, representatives of this glorious family established a fortress in which Polish rulers were crowned and buried from 1320 to the 18th century.
The Piasts did not leave Krakow even after the Tatars practically razed the city in 1241. Under the rule of the Piast prince, and later of King Boleslav V, and then his follower Casimir III, Krakow blossomed again. Construction was raging in the city, and a market appeared in a checkerboard pattern on an area measuring 200 by 200 meters. In 1364, the first Polish university was founded in Krakow, in which Nikolai Copernicus taught for some time. In the 14th century, the city began trading in cloth. As a transshipment point for fabrics, Krakow was so popular that its warehouses and cloth factories became peculiar pillars of trade. When planning the streets, the overall composition of the city was carefully considered. Today, tourists are delighted to admire the elegant houses, arranged in style. Large financial resources were invested in the arrangement of churches. The city is proud of Europe’s largest Gothic altar, measuring 11 by 13 meters, with 200 gilded figures of linden wood. The court splendor of the whole appearance of the former capital was given by Italian architects and artists, who turned Krakow into a pearl of the Renaissance.
In 1596, King Sigmund III as the capital of the state gave preference to Warsaw. Krakow nevertheless remained the cultural capital of this large country. Jewish communities, favorably received here from the Middle Ages, had a significant impact on the cultural image of the city. At the end of the 15th century, Jews began to settle in the Kazimierz region. It was here that at one time there was the largest ghetto in Europe. During World War II, 65 thousand Jews from this ghetto were sent to the Auschwitz-Brzezinka concentration camp. After many years of oppression and lack of rights today, Jewish culture is gradually returning to the Kazimmerz region. It was here that director Steven Spielberg made his film Schindler’s List. Each vercher quarters entices guests with incendiary “klezmer” music.
Statues of saints
For those who would like to get to know Krakow in more detail, they would recommend a trip along the old Royal Road leading from Florian’s Gate along Florianskaya Street, framed by fashionable clothing and silver shops and attractive pastry shops. The royal path lay to the main square of Rynek Glowny, where you can stop for a cup of aromatic coffee. Young people love to sit on the steps of the monument to the national writer Adam Mickiewicz, and a flower market boils in front of the pedestal, accompanied by the fervent music of musicians in colorful folk costumes. Grodzka Street will lead up to Wawel, with its castle ensemble looking at the city from a height. Guests of the city will almost never feel tired. The cozy and located atmosphere of the city, drunk with air from the nearby High Tatras, will always create a good, joyful mood for travelers. The spirit of the holiday is supported by numerous street musicians, cheerful flocks of students, intricate performances of mimes. The evening opens the gates of numerous wine cellars, where jazz sounds under the Gothic arches, cabarets dance, or simply pleasant music plays that can relax with a glass of wine after a busy tourist day.