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Krakow.

Some years ago I attended a VT Euro meeting in Krakow. As I' ve already wrote Virtual Tourist was a good travel related web site I liked a lot.

I didn' t want to go to Krakow. It seemed to me an ordinary place not worth a visit. I was wrong. Krakow is a beautiful city with various sights.

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The old town of the city is surrounded by the Planty. It is a four kilometers park created between 1822 and 1830.

The Medieval city walls were mostly demolished to build this green area. It is a complex of several gardens designed in various styles and adorned with monuments.

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This piture was taken from the Planty. I think it is part of the garden of a museum.

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Saint Florian' s Gate was built around the 1307 to protect the northern entrance to the city. The roof was built in the Baroque style in 1660.

Originally there were eight gates and thirty nine towers in the city. Most of them were destroyed in the 19th century.

Today only three towers; built in the 15th century and a portion of walls adjacent to this gate have survived.

From S. Florian's Gate starts Florianska ulica (street) that leads to the Rynek Glowny; Krakow' s main square.

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Rynek Glowny is the largest Medieval square in Poland. It' s surrounded by many old palaces, cafes, shops and restaurants.

The highlights of this square are St. Mary ' s church that was built between 1287 and 1320 on the remains of a Romanesque church. It was restored at the end of the XIX century.

In the middle of the square the long building you see is the Sukiennice (cloth hall). It was originally built in the 14th century as a center for the cloth trade. It was destroyed by fire in 1555 and rebuilt in the Renaissance style with alterations made in the 19th century.

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Besides this building you see what remains of the old town hall; the tower. The 14th century town hall was pulled down in the 1820's.

On a corner of this square lies the small church of S. Adalbert. It was built the X century and was reconstructed between 1611 and 1618.

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This square serves also as a place for open air events. There is also a web cam at Rynek Glowny. Here you see some VT members in front of it.

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Veit Loss' altar is the main highlight of St. Mary Basilica.

It was carved by a famous sculptor named Veit Loss between 1477 and 1489. It is made of four panels that features over 200 limewood human sculptures.

This altar is about 13 m high and 11 m wide when the panels of the triptych are completely opened. The main scene in the center shows the moment Jesus' mother is passing away in the presence of the apostles.

Every day, except sunday you can see the ceremony of the opening of this altar at 11.50 a. m.

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Here you see part of Kanonicza street. From 1951 to 1963 Karol Wojtila; pope John Paul II lived at 19 and 20 of this street.

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A beautiful carved portal at Kanonicza street.

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Karol Wojtyla had lived for forty years in Krakow before he became pope. Well, this is only a picture of Wojtyla behind a window. It seems the real Wojtyla; isn' t it?

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There is a beautiful castle in Krakow.

It was the residence of Polish monarchs since the 11th to the early 17th century. The building was enlarged and rebuilt various time. What you see there today dates mostly from the early 16th century.

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Inside the castle there are many rooms to visit. I visited it with several VT members and a tourist guide.

We visited the second floor. On this floor and I suppose on other floors too there are lots of Belgian tapestries representing biblical scenes, animals et al.

I was very impressed by the Ambassadors' Hall because this has a roof with 30 wooden heads. They were 194 long ago.

Unfortunately it is not allowed to take any pictures inside the castle, so I only took a couple of shots of its beautiful and huge courtyard.

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Here you see some beautiful VT members in the castle gardens.

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The cathedral is dedicated to the saints Venceslas and Stanislaus. Is is situated besides the castle

The current building is the third church constructed on this area. The first church was built of wood, probably around 1020. It was destroyed by fire and then it was replaced by a second cathedral that subsequently burnt down again.

The church we see today was consecrated in 1364.

The church has 18 chapels, a crypt where many kings queens and statesmen of Poland are buried.

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Kazimierz is a district south of the old town. It was an independent city from the XIV to the XIX centuries. Part of this area was a Jews neighboorhood.

Here you can visit seven synagogues. Two of them still serve as venues for religious ceremonies.

The Old synagogue, or Stara synagogue (see pic) is the oldest synagogue in Poland. It seems it was built in the 15th century.

In the 16th century it was severely damaged in a fire and rebuilt around 1570.

During the nazi occupation of the city it was turned into a warehouse and was completely ruined. It was renovated in the 1950' s and at the beginning of the 20th century. Today it houses the Jewish History Museum; a division of the Historical Museum of Krakow. Here you can see a permanent exibition of Jewish culture and its traditions.

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The Remuh synagogue dates from the 16th century and underwent a number of changes during the 17th and the 18th centuries. It was restored in 1829. During the WWII the nazi used it as a warehouse, but they didn' t destroyed it. It was reconstructed in 1957.

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Besides this synagogue there is an old cemetery that was used from 1551 to 1800. The nazi destroyed it. It was renovated and reconstructed in 1959.

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Cafe Mlynek is a nice restaurant in the Kaziemierz area. It has two dining rooms.

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This cafe-restaurant serves only vegetarian meals, as vegetarian pierogi (a typical Polish kind of filled dumplings, crepes and also pasta (noddles) with vegetable toppings.

When I visited it I had two kinds of pierogi and both were good. Once I had a sweet crepe with a kind of cheese.

It seems this cafe-restaurant to be part of Nad Mlynkiem; where I had my room.

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I attended a guided tour of the city with a good number of VT members. We were also taken to the top of a palace where we could enjoy a landscape over part of the city.

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I think this palace could be a music school. If my memory serves me well it is not far from saint Francis' church.

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This is the facade of the SÅ‚owacki theatre. It was built on the site of a Medieval church; in 1893

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The theatre is opened to visitors in July and august only on a guided tour.

It is possible to do several day trips from Krakow. For instance you can visit the Wieliczka salt mine.

As I have seen from lots of pictures on the web; this is a salt mine with many sculptures made of sand. This salt mine is situated in Wieliczka; just around 16 kilometers from the city.

Another trip you could do from Krakow is to the Auschwitz - Birkenau concentration camp.

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I didn't visit these places, but I visited the Pszczyna Castle. It is a mansion, more than a castle. It was built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 17th century; in the 18th and also in the 19th century,

The Pszczyna Castle is located in the town of Psczyna; 37 kilometers south of Katowice.

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Several rooms are opened to visitors into this mansion.

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The interiors of this mansion date to the 19th and the 20th centuries.

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Some kilometers far from the mansion there is an bison farm. There is also a skansen (rebuilt old typical farm houses) area nearby. I didn' t take any pictures of the bisons. They were having a nap!

Posted by Maurizioagos 10:27 Archived in Poland Tagged krakow poland.

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Comments

How fun to see VT members again. Thanks for posting a lovely entry.

by Beausoleil

Wonderful set of photos Maurizio! I enjoyed your commentary too, it was lovely to be reminded of my first VT Euromeet.

by Anne Marie Byrne

Happy memories of my third VT Euromeet, and still one of my very favourites Nice to see some familiar faces in your photos (and also myself in one of them, looking rather younger!!)

by ToonSarah

We also loved Krakow.

by irenevt

Thanks!

We were 10 years younger, Sarah!

by Maurizioagos

This brings back so many good memories. I enjoyed reading this.

by littlesam1

Thank you!

by Maurizioagos

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