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Krakow - Poland

Rynek Glowny, Krakow Wawel Cathedral, Krakow

Krakow is Poland's most popular tourist destination. Dating from the 7th Century the city somehow survived WWII intact and is now a lively destination, popular with all kinds of tourists.

Krakow's Old Town is located within the former city walls. Little of these still stand, but instead parks run along the former route of the walls providing a shady and peaceful respite from the tourist bustle. The centre of the Old Town is the immense town square (Rynek Glowny) - the largest in the whole of Europe. This huge space has the Renaissance 'Cloth Hall' at the centre and is surrounded by cafes spilling out onto the square. There's a 24 hour flower market to one corner, while the rest of the square teems with visitors and street entertainers. On the Eastern corner of the square is the stunning St Mary's Church.

South of the Old Town along bustling pedestrianised streets is the historic centre of Krakow - the Wawel Hill. Here stands the castle and cathedral, home to Polish royalty until the capital was moved to Warsaw. Even after this, royalty continued to be crowned and buried at the Wawel Cathedral. The Wawel Hill is full of museums and attractions and overlooks the Vistula River to the west of the city.

Further south of the castle is the former Jewish district of Kazimierz. Home to nearly 65000 Jews before WWII, the district is now very run down, with many abandoned synagogues and peaceful Jewish graveyards. This are is now seeing a resurgence with independent travellers with many hostels, bars and restaurants springing up.

 

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