Despite the fact that this magnificent castle ceased to be the official residence of the governors of the Commonwealth more than 500 years ago, it is still a special place uniting all the Poles. Wawel is not just a building. It is a symbol of honor, dignity, nobility, and essence of Polish culture. Since its building, it was the main center of Poland both as the seat of royal power and, when the capital was moved from Krakow to Warsaw, as a place of coronation and the last refuge of the lords.
Salt Mines in Wieliczka
Wieliczka salt mines are one of the most unusual sights in Poland not far from Krakow. They were formed naturally in the place where the sea was many years ago. The sea has gone but the salt remained. The mining of salt started in the 13th century and lasted until the 20th century. In the 15th century, the mines have opened its doors to many tourists. In 1978, they have been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe built in 1257. The construction gained its present appearance in the 17th-19th centuries, although it preserved Renaissance and Baroque features.
The main attractions of the square, besides the market, are Town Hall Tower, Church of St. Adalbert, Zbaraski Palace, Adam Mickiewicz monument, and St. Mary’s Church.
It is better to get acquainted with the ancient Krakow in the city historical museum, which is not like the other museums. Instead of boring corridors with posters, here you will see real ancient city walls, interactive screens, and holograms. In the museum, you can interact with any object – pound on an anvil, measure your growth, and weigh on the old scale.
If you are traveling to Krakow, you should definitely visit the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz. Locals believe that this amazing area has a special atmosphere, small streets and quiet and cozy courtyards, as well as tiny squares are filled with old Jewish architecture that will impress any tourist.
The Factory of Schindler
It is a modern museum that was opened in 2010 in the eponymous factory building. The museum tells of the horrors of the German occupation of Poland during World War II and the German factory owner Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews. The factory’s story became world famous after the release of Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List.