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Kraków/Cracow Travel Guide
Friendly Medieval Polish City
Kraków or sometimes Cracow in English is a big city in southeastern Poland with very well preserved medieval buildings.
The city is called Krakau in German and Krakkó in Hungarian. For over 500 years (starting from 1038), it was the capital of Poland. But it also had strong cultural and political ties with Hungary and Lithuania. Kraków also had a substantial Jewish and German population.
The city lies on the Vistula River and has a population of over 750.000 inhabitants. In the metropolitan area it's over 1,4 million.
It is home to the ancient Jagiellonian University, which gave many talents to the World. Many famous German, Hungarian, Lithuanian intellectuals have also studied here. Among the famous poles who went to this university were Nicolaus Copernicus (astronomer), Jan Sobieski III (military leader of Poland and Lithuania), Pope John Paul II, Stanisław Lem (writer), Krzysztof Zanussi (film director), etc.
Due to the presence of such a big university, about 17 % of the city's population has a high education degree. About 100.000 students live in Kraków, about half of them study at the famous Jagiellonian University.
It's a large city that survived the stress of time and has lots of beautiful views to offer to travelers.
Despite its ancient monuments and abundant high culture-related riches, Kraków has an intense nightlife too.
These are the districts of this city: Stare Miasto (the old town), the Wawel Hill (where the Wawel Castle and the Wawel Cathedral are), Kazimierz (the former Jewish town), Kleparz and Wesola, Stradom, Piasek and Nowy Swiat, Srodmiescie Krakowskie.
Buy yourself a guidebook and plan your trip well. Tourists have problems especially when pronouncing or keeping in mind the difficult Polish names of the hotspots.
We recommend you the following "must see" places in Kraków: the Old City (Stare Miasto), the main marketplace (Rynek Glowny) is one of the largest medieval squares in the World, the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) is a large and ornamented old building located near the Main Square (perhaps the most often seen in photographs about Kraków), Wawel Castle (which was an ancient seat of Poland's kings), Wawel Cathedral, Kazimierz (the former Jewish district), Czartoryski Museum (contains a famous Leonardo da Vinci portrait "Lady with an Ermine"), Bunker of Modern Art (Bunkier Sztuki Wspolczesnej), Church of Saint Mary, etc.
Walking the streets can be a good idea for discovering souvenir shops and capturing great images with your camera.
You can get to Kraków by airplane, train, by road vehicle. The best way is by plane, because the airport is frequented by many low cost and major airlines as well. It won't be hard finding a good connection to this city. If you travel within Poland or within Europe, then perhaps the train would also be an option to be kept in mind.
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