Kraków Travel Guide - Informations about Kraków.
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The royal capital for half a millennium, Krakow is one of the most beautiful European cities. Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest Polish Romantic poet called the city "the cradle of the old Commonwealth". In the past some called Krakow "another Rome". For a few centuries it developed as the seat of polish kings to reach its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries as the capital of Europe's biggest state. Poland of that time maintained close relation with Western Europe, but its main areas of interest lay in the central and eastern parts of the continent.

The wealth of the City attracted many famous artists whose masterpieces have survived until the present In the area of the Old Town alone there are several hundred historical monuments. In appreciation of the town's exceptional historic and artistic values, UNESCO included the centre of Krakow (together with the Wawel Hill and the districts of Kazimierz and Stradom) on its first list of the world's cultural heritage in 1978.
In Krakow, all roads lead towards the Marker Place. It is a specific salon of this city, where both tourists and inhabitants willingly come to linger. This, Europe's biggest square, is surrounded by period houses and palaces. On the market square there is only one, but very nice, 3 star hotel - Wentzl. Near Market Place there are also RT Rezydent hotel and brand new Amadeus Hotel In the middle of it stands Cloth Hall, which shelters former stalls under its Renaissance roof. The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Paintings, featuring the greatest collection of the famous Polish painters, occupies the upper floor of Cloth Hall. Towering over the square is the huge bulk of St. Mary's Church. It contains the pentaptych carved in lime wood by Veit Stoss (known to Poles as Wit Stwosz), considered the most valuable Gothic altarpiece in Europe.

The majority of historical Gothic and Renaissance monuments are located within the area of the Plenty - a parkland surrounding the Old Town, arranged in place of the pulled down fortifications. These historical buildings include the oldest colleges of the Jagiellonian University, churches, monasteries and convents, remnants of medieval fortifications with towers, the Florian Gate, and Europe's biggest Barbican.
There is also Kanonicza Street with its suggestive climate, lined with the 14th century houses. Located on that street is located 4 star Copernicus Hotel (in the neighborhood of the Royal Residence Wawel).
Krakow's jewel and the very symbol of Poland, Wawel is the historical seat of the Polish kings. The Royal Castle, built in the Renaissance style, has rich collections of old masters' pieces, period furniture and fabrics, Europe's biggest collection of tapestries, regalia, an armoury, and decorative art pieces. The coronation cathedral adjoining the castle is the treasury of national mementoes and splendid works of art. Inside are the tombstones of Polish monarchs. Particularly notable is the Sigismund Chapel, considered the most beautiful Renaissance chapel to be seen north of the Alps. If You wish to stay in Krakow in exclusive hotel near Royal Castle and Market Square we recommend the Radisson SAS Cracow

Tourist often visit Krakow's district of Kazimierz. It was a separate town in the medieval period. Expelled from the city, Jews came into Kazimierz towards the end of the 15th century. With the passage of time, it is here that the Jews of Krakow build Europe's main centre of Jewish religion, science, and culture. The historical sites include synagogues (the Old Synagogue houses the Museum of History and Culture of Krakow Jewry), old houses, and a cemetery with Renaissance tombstones. Noteworthy are the museums of Krakow. In addition to those already mentioned, we should add the Czartoryski Museum (Poland's oldest collection of Italian painting, Dutch artistic handicrafts, and ancient art); the Matejko House (where the famous Polish painter lived and worked); the Historical Museum of Krakow; and the Stanislaw Wyspianski Theatre Museum.
People say that Krakow, a city friendly to artists, is the venue of a culture festival that never ends. Here artists create works which, together with the historical heritage, add to the city's atmosphere, nowhere else to be found.

Krakow is often host to international seminars and conferences. Moreover it is excellent place to start different excursions to places of interest located nearby. Among them there are venues that are very well known like Wieliczka Salt Mine, the former concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, raft down Dunajec gorge, the highest Polish mountains in Zakopane, Pieskowa Skala castle or John Paul II Museum in his place of birth in Wadowice.
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