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Whether you're a history lover or not, a visit to Krakow in the South of Poland will find you immersed in the rich cultural past of the country's second largest city. Here you can discover the Gothic churches of Old Town, the stunning beauty of Rynek Glowny Square and the magnificence of Wawel Hill Castle.
The minute you arrive in Krakow you will be instantly immersed in history. One visit is never enough to see everything this fascinating city has to offer...
You can see from the minute you arrive that the city instantly surrounds you in history, thanks to the number of original buildings still found there. If you don't have access to a vehicle, many of the best attractions and sights can be reached on foot.
Starting from the heart of the city travelling out you can see how the changing architecture displays perfectly the way the city has changed and expanded over the years.
The Old Town is a great place to explore, discovering stunning Gothic churches, as well as many renaissance and Baroque buildings restored to perfection. In this extremely cultural part of the city you will find palaces, chapels, theatres and mansions as your backdrop. The Old Town is now very arty and the streets are awash with colour, art and intricate stained glass windows. If you need to pause and have a much earned rest, head to the famous Rynek Glowny main square, where you can relax over a coffee at one the many cafes and watch the world go by. The square is of course home to the stunning St Mary's Church and Watch Tower as well as the Cloth Hall building.
The city is a photographers dream as everywhere you turn you'll find a beautiful building or work of art. Kazimierz is a great example, as the old Jewish quarter offers picturesque streets and breath-taking renaissance architecture. Founded back in the 14th Century, the district hasn't changed too much despite the devastation of World War Two.
If World War Two history interests you then you shouldn't miss the amazing museums at both the Oskar Schindler Factory and Aushcwitz. Both sites are devoted to the stories of the many Jewish and Polish people who lost their lives during the war, with Aushcwitz showing visitors the exact site of the concentration camps. Schindler's Factory tells the story behind Oskar Schindler and the many Jews he saved by moving them out of Kazimierz. Both museums can be quite an emotional experience for those who visit, but definitely one that shouldn't be missed.
Elsewhere you can discover the opulence and beauty of the Royal castle at Wawel Hill. The Castle consists of magnificent state rooms, private royal apartments of the royal family and Wawel Cathedral. Get to the bottom of the old Polish legend of the Wawel dragon which is said to live just below the castle. Open daily there are many tours to follow to discover the castles rich history and, if nothing else, you shouldn't miss the amazing views out over the River Vistula.
Other attractions that are worth a visit include the old salt mines at Wieliczka, which started life in the 13th century and continued to produce table salt up until 2007. The mine is now a popular attraction, where you can escape down into corridors and tunnels to find amazing statues and even a lake over 400ft underground. Alternatively, spend an afternoon in the curious Museum of Pharmacy where you can discover a rich history of medicine through the ages from ancient apothecary shop recreations to row after row of traditional herbal remedies. Perhaps you'd like to hire a car and visit Poland's capital, Warsaw.
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