What to see in Krakow, itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest, including the historic center, Wawel Castle, Cathedral and salt mines.
Located on the banks of the Vistula River, Krakow is located at the foot of the Wawel Hill in southern Poland.
It constitutes the largest cultural and artistic center in Poland, where the University of Jagellonia is located, which is the oldest in the country.
Capital of the country until the end of the sixteenth century, Krakow has a medieval historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Its urban layout includes the Wawel hill, the urban core of Kazimierz, and the Stradom district.
In Stare Miasto, the old city that constitutes the medieval center, the market square is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe, where elegant buildings overlook.
Of the medieval walls surrounding the old town, only the Florianska gate remains, as well as a section of wall that was built in 1499 near the main gate.
At Wawel, a hill that was inhabited since the Paleolithic, important traces of the country's history and valuable artistic testimonies are preserved.
The buildings that characterize the complex are the Castle and the Cathedral.
The Castle, with its airy Renaissance courtyard, a masterpiece of the Florentine architects Francesco della Lora and Bartolomeo Berecci, preserves important art collections and the royal treasure with the Crown jewels.
The Cathedral of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus, built in Gothic forms between 1320 and 1346, is the National Shrine of Poland, formerly the seat of the coronations of the monarchs of Poland.Recommended readings
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Inside there are the tombs of the Polish kings starting from the fourteenth century and the funeral chapel of King Sigismund I, which was built from 1519 to 1533 by Bartolomeo Berrecci and defined by many art historians as the most beautiful example of the Tuscan Renaissance north of the Alps.
Kazimierz, a neighborhood wanted by Casimir the Great, was the center of the religious and social life of the Jews of Krakow, until their deportation took place en masse during the Nazi occupation.
In the outskirts of the city there are the salt mine in Wieliczka, the Tatra Mountains, the city of Czestochowa, famous for its Sanctuary where the icon of the Black Madonna with the child is preserved, very dear to the Polish people, the Ojcow National Park and the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, a tragic testimony to very painful events, today a place dedicated to memory.
In Wadowice, which is located about 50 km from Krakow, Karol Józef Wojtyla was born, who became Pope John Paul II, who studied at the Jagiellonian University, was ordained a priest in Krakow and, subsequently, received episcopal ordination in the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.