In Krakow you should wear comfortable shoes. This city in southern Poland is one of those places that proposes a long walk through history, taking leaps that take us to distant and unknown events but also to other closer moments in which characters and events remembered by all emerge. So lace up your shoes and hit the road. Where? By the highest point of the city: Wawel Hill.

The mound is not only the highest landmark, it is also the oldest area. A space that was already occupied by the first kings of Poland. Medieval monarchs with names like Casimir III or Sigismund I that don’t sound familiar to us, but that were key in shaping the Polish nation, whose first capital was precisely Krakow.

As a good capital, here was the official residence of the monarchy. And although Poland has long ceased to be a kingdom, the Wawel Royal Palace remains magnificent and today is one of the most visited monumental attractions in Krakow. Many are satisfied with taking a walk around it and the history of architecture, since the complex perfectly captures various aesthetics, from medieval forms to Baroque art, passing through the elegant Renaissance. However, it is better not to resign yourself to the packaging and enter the rooms of the palace.

There are different types of entrance and routes, because there is a lot to see. Among the most ostentatious are the 12 state rooms overflowing with paintings, period furniture, tapestries and any opulent object you can imagine. A feeling of richness that is maintained during the visit to the royal apartments. And as the culmination of the tour, you can still visit the Gothic area where the armory and the crown treasure are exhibited with the jewels worn by Polish sovereigns for centuries.The rooms of the royal palace are scattered on Wawel Hill.

Monarchs who for the most part also remain buried in Wawel. Specifically in the neighboring cathedral of Krakow. A temple inspired by the same concept of sumptuousness as the palace, since it can overwhelm such an overwhelming accumulation of sarcophagi, effigies, liturgical and artistic objects, altarpieces or sculptures… By the way, one of the most universal Poles performed his work as archbishop here : Karol Wojtyla, that is, Pope John Paul II and whose memory is a constant during the entire stay in Krakow.

We must not forget that Poland is a deeply Catholic country. Something that is well evident in this city, where temples accumulate wherever you look. For example in its other great monumental epicenter, the Market Square or Rynek Glówny. There rise not one, but two historic churches. So different from each other, as attractive both.

The center of the Rynek Glówny is occupied by the Town Hall tower and the Cloth Hall

On one side, breaking the square’s perpendiculars and parallels, stands the brick-built Santa María basilica on one corner. Unmistakable for the red tone of its facade and its two unequal towers. One of them elevated to more than 80 meters, which turned it into a fabulous watchtower for lookouts. On the other hand, the other church, that of San Adalberto, is less grandiloquent, but surely more charming, since it is located within the square like an enormous jewel box with white architecture and a greenish dome.

While the center of Rynek Glówny is occupied by the Town Hall tower and the Cloth Hall. In this space lies the name of Plaza del Mercado, since the fish market has always been the meeting point for merchants from here and there. Although today the merchandise that predominates today is mass-produced souvenirs far from Poland.Carriages ready to give tourists a ride through the Stare Miasto.

After all, the square is the point of reference for all tourists. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised if when we leave the fish market a procession of distinguished carriages awaits us ready to give us a stately tour of the Stare Miasto, the old city. Just as terraces and bars abound to rest a bit. An excellent place to do so is the Café Europejska, whose centenary decoration is capable of taking us back to the beginning of the 20th century.

But once you have regained your strength, you have to follow the Krakow walk around the great square, sooner or later reaching the nearby Collegium Maius. A university institution that originated in the 14th century and where another distinguished Pole studied: Nicholas Copernicus, the first scientist who wrote down that the Earth revolved around the Sun. And not the other way around as most thought.

Kazimierz is the old ghetto where 65,000 Jews lived before the start of World War II

The academic center can be visited by travelers, while it is still in use by the many young people who attend the modern faculties in the area. Some within the historic center and others beyond the Planty, a ring-shaped garden that evokes the old walls of Krakow and that today is a pleasant walk under gigantic plane trees that allows you to walk to the banks of the Vistula River or go to the different neighborhoods , some of them with tremendous historical weight.

This is the case of Kazimierz. Or what is the same, the old ghetto in which up to 65,000 Jews lived just before the Second World War began. Today there are hardly any. However, ever since Spielberg filmed his famous Schindler’s List here, the neighborhood has made a strong claim to its Semitic past. You can see its synagogues, the Remuh cemetery full of slabs with stars of David, or numerous restaurants dedicated to offering typical dishes of Hebrew cuisine. In short, it has become one of the essential visits to beautiful Krakow, the authentic tourist capital of Poland.

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