Cracow is an amazing city, one of the most beautiful and the oldest towns in the middle Europe, it is also was the capital city of the Poland. Nowadays hundreds of thousands of Poles and foreign tourist came to see this beautiful city. Of course, you can find there a lot of beautiful monuments and cozy places. Unfortunately, it is very common to a lot of tourists (and I was one of them) does not have enough time to see everything in the city. Lucky we are living in great times in which traveling is easier than ever, all thanks to pages like a www.booking.com, quicktransfer.com or discovercracow.com but there is the couple of places which you must see even if you have only a one day.
This is the most important, and the biggest place in Cracow, it is also one of the biggest places in whole Europe, it is built on the square plan which one side has 200 m! The first historical mentions about building this place are dated back to 1257 yr. The surrounding tenements were built since XIV to XIX century. The Square was built to provide the merchant needs and travelers, it was also the center of the trade, administration and judicial. Until XIX the square was surrounded by taverns and inns. Today they have been replaced by luxury restaurants and cafes, but I found one thing (except buildings) which reminds tourists and locals about historical character of the place these are hansom cabs which are offering great sightseeing during the drive. The Main Square is worth to spend few hours on them but if you are short of time you should focus on the most important things one of them is St. Mary’s Basilica.
St. Mary’s Basilica
It is one of the biggest and most important churches in not only in Cracow but in whole Poland. When you will be in the main square it is impossible to miss this huge gothic building which was built since XIII to the beginning of the XV century. Koscioł Mariacki – that’s Polish name of this building is a great example of the gothic architecture. The front of the basilica is decorated by the two towers, one of them have 69 m another is higher and have 81 m. What is interesting in every hour on the higher tower is played a bugle call which is connected with one of the legends of the city. But remember that not only the outside of the basilica is interesting the real treasures are hidden inside the building. The main attraction is the altar created between 1477 – 1482 made and designed by Veit Stoss. This is the biggest altar in Europe, the characters placed on the altar have almost 3m and they are really impressive
When you will be planning to visit Wawel Castle you should also consider a way you will reach this monument, personally, I choose a walk through Kanoniczna street which is the most beautiful streets in Cracow. Believe me, if you choose the same you will not regret it on this street you can find buildings made in many styles, for example, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical all of this in one place in one street! The castle is placed on the hill you should know that this castle is the most important place for history and culture in Poland. In this castle there was the coronation of almost every polish kings, this is also the place where there were buried. What is more, on the Wawel castle are located the most important museum collections of the country, I think that after this short introduction you can’t miss this place, especially if you are interested in history.
The most famous legend of the city
The last but not the least – the story about Wawel Dragon. Wawel Dragon is a legendary dragon which was living in the cave at the foot of the Wawel hill, according to the legend one of the kings – king Krak sends his sons to kill the dragon, unfortunately, they lose the fight so they invented a trick. As a bait, they gave to dragon cowhide leather stuffed by sulfur, in that way they killed the dragon, but that didn’t end of story… To commemorate this well-known legend in 1972 near to the legendary cave appears the monument of the dragon which is blowing fire.
Wieliczka Salt mine
Wieliczka salt mine is one of the oldest mines in the Europe. Since 1978 the Wieliczka mine is placed on word heritage UNESCO list. This mine is working constantly since XIII century. The tunnels of which the length is almost 300 km are located on 9 levels whose depth varies between 63 and 327 m below the ground. Nowadays salt is used not only in the food industry but couple centuries ago it was so important that was one of the means of payment. Salt was so important in Poland that it constituted 30% of the income of the whole country. Today tourist can visit this historical place and walk through the amazing and breathtaking tunnels.
It was only a 5 main things which you have to see during your trip to Cracow, things which I saw in one, really intense day, but believe me, that was only a little piece of this amazing city. To know every secret stories, legends or historical place I think I have to spend a whole week there, and I will definitely do it in the next year.