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St Florian’s Gate, Krakow, UNESCO
St. Florian's Gate, or The Florian Gate, in Krakow, Poland, is one of the best-known Polish Gothic towers, and a focal point of Krakow's Old Town. It was built in and around the 14th century as a rectangular Gothic tower of 'wild stone', part of the city's fortifications against Turkish attack.
Barbican, Krakow, UNESCO
The pearl within Krakow's system of fortifications, the Gothic Barbican, affectionately known as “Rondel” ('The Saucepan'), was built to answer the Turkish threat that increased towards the end of the 15th century. Its construction in 1498-1499 was ordered by King John Albert (Jan Olbracht), who feared retribution after the failure of his Wallachian campaign. The project to demolish the city walls, carried out in 1817, was also originally intended to include the Barbican. This was, however, strongly opposed by Senator Feliks Radwański. It was thanks to his determination and persistence that a fragment of the neighbouring fortifications, including St Florian’s Gate and three towers, was saved. Unfortunately, the so-called “neck” was taken down during the development of the Planty garden ring around 1825. Krakow’s 'Rondel' is one of three Gothic barbicans that have survived to this day. The other two are in Carcassonne (France), and Görlitz (Germany). Krakow's is beyond any doubt the largest of the three and the one best preserved. The Barbican is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Krakow Central Railway Station, Krakow
The Krakow Central Railway Station is the largest and the most centrally located railway station in Krakow. The building was constructed between 1844 and 1847. A new underground ticket hall opened in February 2014, with waiting rooms, travel centres and other amenities. This is located to the north of the earlier platform underpass, and connected to the platforms by escalators. It also provides two new direct exits/entrances to the station complex, one from the lower level of Galeria Krakowska and another from the Regional Bus Station located to the east of the railway station. The current platform underpass will also be refurbished. As part of this large investment, all platforms and tracks have been replaced.
Plac Jana Nowaka Jeziorańskiego 3
St. Mary's (Mariacki) Church, Krakow, UNESCO
St. Mary's, called 'the heart of Krakow', is one of the most beautiful churches in Poland, and has the largest Gothic altar in Europe. It is famous for its legends and its stunning interior. For about 600 years now, from the highest tower of the church, called the Bugle, you can hear a bugle call, broadcast to the entire country. According to a legend, a trumpeter, who sounded the alarm at the time of the Mongol invasion, was fatally struck by an arrow. To commemorate this event the bugle stops abruptly in the middle of its call. St. Mary's impressive altar, by Veit Stoss, carved in the fifteenth century, is a jewel of the church. It is the most famous and largest altar of its kind in Europe. This masterpiece contains over 200 carved figures. St Mary's (Mariacki) is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Town Hall Tower, Krakow, UNESCO
The tower is the only remnant of the building of Krakow Town Hall, which reached halfway into the Main Square. From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the Town Hall was the headquarters of the municipal authorities. It was built around 1300 as a 2-storey stone construction, with a tower that served both defensive purposes and as a symbol of power and elegance. The most important of the halls in the tower was the so-called Izba Panska (literally 'the Lords’ chamber'). It was, at the same time, the council assembly chamber and the courtroom. Its rich furnishings was to be proof of the solemnity and dignity of the Krakow authorities. To keep the proper balance and to keep everyone forewarned, the cellars of the Town Hall housed a prison with its own torture chamber. Built from limestone and brick, the preserved tower used to be one of the most opulent towers in medieval Poland. During the renovation and reconstruction works carried out in the 1960s, its cellars were developed into a café that followed in the footsteps of the establishment that earned great renown in the Middle Ages as it served the best beer in Poland (from Swidnica). Since 1987, the cellars have also housed a stage of the Ludowy Theatre. The Town Hall Tower is a UNESCO world heritage site.
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Krakow Old Town, Krakow, UNESCO
Krakow Old Town is the historic central district of Krakow, Poland. It is one of the most famous old districts in Poland today and was the centre of Poland's political life from 1038 until King Sigismund III Vasa relocated his court to Warsaw in 1596. The entire medieval old town is among the first sites chosen for UNESCO's original World Heritage List, inscribed as Kracow's Historic Centre.The old town is also one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments, chosen in the first round, as designated September 16 1994, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland. The Old Town is known in Polish as Stare Miasto. It is part of the city's first administrative district which is also named 'Stare Miasto', although it covers a wider area than the Old Town itself.
The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), Krakow, UNESCO
In the second half of the 14th century, the city mason, Marcin Lindintolde, built a solid hall – roofed and propped with buttresses – in the centre of the Main Square. Designed for trading cloth, it received a privilege from King Casimir the Great, which forced merchants arriving in the city to sell their own goods only in the building. Inside, the hall was filled with stalls. This Gothic building burned in the Great Fire of the City in 1555. The reconstruction, completed in 1559, gave the Cloth Hall a Renaissance architectural form, making it one of the most famous examples of the style in Krakow. Nowadays, The Cloth Hall holds elegant shops and cafés. A technical curio of the time was the gas lighting, that has remained operational up until today. A gallery of Polish painting from the National Museum was opened on the upper floor in 1883. The Art Nouveau interior of the Jan Noworolski café, with murals by Jozef Mehoffer and Henryk Uziemblo, is worth a look. The Cloth Hall is a UNESCO world heritage site.
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Stradom, Krakow, UNESCO
Stradom – an area of Krakow, part of the Old Town district. It was formerly the southern suburb of Krakow, located between the line of plantation and the Old Vistula riverbed. Stradom’s border from the west, south and east was formed by the Vistula river separating it from Kazimierz (today’s Dietel’s Plants),and from the north by the leg of the Rudawa River. The area was marshy and often flooded by the Vistula River. Currently, the main axis, as well as the transport route of Stradom is Stradomska street. In 1994, Stradom with the Old Town, Wawel Castle, Kazimierz, Piasek, Podgorze and the Nowy Swiat (New World) was announced as a historic monument.
The Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow, UNESCO
The Wawel Royal Castle, located on the Vistula river in Krakow, is one of the most important royal residences, as well as a symbol and a monument of Polish history and culture. Some time ago, knight tournaments and royal ceremonies were organised in its beautiful courtyard, surrounded by galleries, arcades and columns. In chambers and apartments, one could admire unique tapestries, paintings, murals, furniture and ornaments. Valuables that were owned by kings are stored in the royal treasury, while in the armoury, one can find the biggest collection of arms in the country. The Wawel Cathedral with Sigismund’s Chapel and the famous Sigismund’s Bell are also part of the castle complex. The Cathedral was a place where rulers were crowned, while in the gloomy tombs, kings, national heroes and great Polish people were buried – Zygmunt Stary, Zygmunt August, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Jozef Pilsudski, Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, among others. After the catastrophe in Smolensk, in April 2010, the presidential couple – Lech Kaczynski and his spouse, Maria – were buried here. One of the most interesting peculiarities of Wawel Hill is the legendary Dragon's Den, in front of which stands a bronze dragon, belching out real fire. The Wawel Royal Castle is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Kazimierz, Krakow, UNESCO
Kazimierz is a historical district of Krakow and Krakow Old Town, Poland. Since its inception in the fourteenth century to the early nineteenth century, Kazimierz was an independent town, a royal city of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, located south of Krakow Old Town and separated by a branch of the Vistula river. For many centuries, Kazimierz was a place of coexistence and interpenetration of Christian and Jewish cultures, its north-eastern part of the district was historically Jewish, whose Jewish inhabitants were forcibly relocated in 1941 by the German occupying forces in the Krakow ghetto in Podgorze. Today Kazimierz is one of the major tourist attractions of Krakow and an important center of cultural life of the city. The boundaries of Kazimierz are defined by an old island in the Vistula river. The northern branch of the river, the Old Visula, was filled-in at the end of the 19th century during the partitions of Poland and made into an extension of Stradomska Street, connecting the Kazimierz district with Krakow Old Town.
Basilica of St Michael the Archangel and St Stanislaus, Krakow, UNESCO
The Church of St Michael the Archangel and St Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr and the Pauline Fathers Monastery is a small outcrop in Krakow where the Bishop of Krakow, Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanow, was slain by order of the Polish king Boleslaw II the Bold in 1079. This action resulted in the king's exile and the eventual canonization of the slain bishop. Originally, a Romanesque church was built there. King Casimir III raised a new Gothic church in its place and since 1472 this shrine has been in the possession of a monastic community of Pauline Fathers. Between 1733-1751 the church received a baroque decor. It is one of the most famous Polish sanctuaries. The crypt underneath the church serves as a 'National Pantheon', a burial place for some of the most distinguished Poles, particularly those who lived in Krakow.
John Paul II International Airport Krakow–Balice
John Paul II International Airport Krakow–Balice is an international airport located near Krakw, in the village of Balice, 11 km (6.8 mi) west of the city centre, in southern Poland.
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Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wieliczka, UNESCO
The history of salt mining in Wieliczka reaches back to the 13th century, and the site is the oldest active mine in the world. The mine presents all phases of mining technology development in individual historical periods. The mine is spread over 9 levels, and includes 2,040 chambers and 360 km of galleries creating a mysterious labyrinth. Unique altars, monuments and entire underground chapels are carved in the salt together with low reliefs and chandeliers, transporting visitors to an extraordinary, fairy-tale world. In the mine, there is an underground post office, a restaurant, a cinema, as well as a sanatorium in which allergy and asthma are treated. Concerts, performances, balls also take place there. The mine in Wieliczka, along with the mine in Bochnia are UNESCO world heritage sites.
Sanctuary, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, UNESCO
The sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was established at the beginning of 17th century and it was designed in imitation of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. The originator of its construction was Kracowian Mikolaj Zebrzydowski. There is a baroque basilica with a miraculous painting of Our Lady of Kalwaria, a monastery and a baroque and mannerist complex of churches and chapels. All buildings and symbolic locations of the Passion of Christ and the life of the Mother of God are picturesquely incorporated in the landscape of the Beskid mountains. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a UNESCO world heritage site.
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Bochnia Salt Mine, Bochnia, UNESCO
The Bochnia Saltmine is Europe’s oldest industrial plant, operating uninterruptedly for 742 years (1248-1990). Today, it is a tourist and spa destination, nicknamed a ‘leisure den’. Created by salt miners, Bochnia has a lot of attractions to offer to its visitors. At the level of 220 m (722 ft), there is one of the most interesting underground tourist routes. You may expect some unforgettable experiences, such as a slide down a 140 meter (460 ft) ramp, once used for transportation of the salt, or a boat trip across a saline-flooded chamber at a level of 230 m (755 ft). A variety of events are held underground, such as film screenings, concerts, theatrical performances and discos. You may also play basketball or take part in an underground relay race. Bochnia also has an underground spa facility and an underground restaurant. All those with a taste for an unusual experience may spend a night at the mine’s salt room. It is a great proposal for an extraordinary weekend. One of the most interesting underground tourist routes at the level of 220 m. A UNESCO world heritage site. The mine in Wieliczka, along with the mine in Bochnia are UNESCO world heritage sites.
Ecological, educational SOLAR/SUN FARM, Stryszow
It is the seat of ECOCENTRE for The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside - ICPPC,whose founders are Jadwiga Lopata and Julian Rose. On the farm you can see and learn how to operate the latest technologies along with the old, traditional ones. On this self-sufficient farm covering an area of 2 hectares, vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown,; a special kind of sheep, Wrzosowka, alpacas and green-legged chickens are bred.
Holy Father John Paul II Family Home, Wadowice
The Holy Father John Paul II Family Home in Wadowice was the family apartment home of Karol Jozef Wojtyła, the future Pope Saint John Paul II. It is located at 7 Koscielna Street in the city of Wadowice in southern Poland. It is a historic house museum that preserves this historic structure and houses a collection of objects that belonged to the future pope’s family. The museum also commemorates John Paul II’s life and his work in Poland until he left Krakow, Poland, for the Vatican, in 1978.
St. Leonard's Church, Lipnica Murowana, UNESCO
St Leonard’s Church in Lipnica Murowana dates from the end of the 15th century and is one of the oldest and most precious wooden churches in Malopolska, entered onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003. According to tradition, it was built in 1141 on the site of a pagan temple hence, supposedly, the so-called Swiatowid’s pillar, a back support for the altar. The church’s interior is decorated by painting (polychrome) from various periods, from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 18th century. The chancel is decorated with: The Crucifixion, The Last Supper and the Last Judgment, while the nave has scenes from The Passion and The Ten Commandments. Among the precious fittings are: a rare processional feretrum with a bas-relief of the Holy Trinity and a music box (still working).
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Aushwitz-Birkenau (German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp) Memorial and State Museum, Oświęcim, UNESCO
Auschwitz is known all over the world as a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. It was established in 1940 by the Germans in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish town annexed to the Third Reich by the Nazis. Its name was changed to Auschwitz, which also became the name of the Concentration Camp. The camp was established because of the mass arrests of Poles and, as a result, the number of prisoners was way beyond the capacity of existing "local" prisons. Initially, Auschwitz was set to be another concentration camp in a series the Nazis had been building since the early 1930s. It functioned in this role throughout its existence, even when, beginning in 1942, it also became the largest of the death camps.
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The Museum of Felicja Curyłowa, Zalipie
To get a general insight about Zalipie and its culture, visit the Museum of Felicje Curyłowa. She was the famous painter from Zalipie. Houses painted by her in her own yard have become even during her lifetime an ethnographic attraction massively visited by tourists.