Kraków[a] (Polish: [ˈkrakuf] ⓘ), also spelled Cracow in English, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, the city dates back to the seventh century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town with Wawel Royal Castle was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, one of the world's first sites granted the status.
Key Tourist Attractions
The largest central square in Europe. Kraków Old Town is the historic central district of Kraków, Poland. It is one of the most famous old districts in Poland today and was the centre of Poland's political life from 1038 until King Sigismund III Vasa relocated his court to Warsaw in 1596.
St Mary’s Cathedral
Keeping watch over Europe’s second largest market square for the last seven centuries, the imposing Gothic spires of St. Mary’s Basilica have become a veritable symbol of Kraków itself and a focal point in the stories that make up the city’s mythic and historical past.
Cloth Hall, Czartoryski Museum
The Kraków Cloth Hall (Polish: Sukiennice, pronounced [sukʲɛˈɲːit͡sɛ]), in Lesser Poland, dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (the historic center of Kraków), which since 1978 has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Wawel Royal Castle with the Wawel Cathedral
The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill on which it sits constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in Poland. A fortified residency on the Vistula River in Kraków, it was established on the orders of King Casimir III the Great and enlarged over the centuries into a number of structures around an Italian-styled courtyard.
Jagiellonian University with Collegium Maius
Founded by King Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) in 1364, the Jagiellonian is Poland's oldest university, and in this part of Europe it is second only to Prague in terms of antiquity. Its oldest building, Collegium Maius, (where Copernicus studied) is over 500 years old.
Kazimierz Jewish District
Kazimierz is one of the most authentic and surprising districts of Krakow. What was the old Jewish Quarter until the tragic events of WWII it has transformed into one of the liveliest and most enchanting parts of the city.
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