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Kraków
Main Market Square

Flag

Coat of arms
Kraków is located in Poland
Kraków
Coordinates: 50°3′41″N 19°56′18″E / 50.06139°N 19.93833°E / 50.06139; 19.93833
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Lesser Poland
County Kraków County
City rights 5 June 1257
Government
 - Mayor Jacek Majchrowski
Area
 - City 327 km2 (126.3 sq mi)
Elevation 219 m (719 ft)
Population (2009)
 - City 754,854
 Density 2,308.4/km2 (5,978.8/sq mi)
 Metro 1.25 mln
 - Demonym Cracovian
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 30-024 to 31-962
Area code(s) +48 12
Demonym Cracovian
Website http://www.krakow.pl/

Kraków (Polish pronunciation: [krakuf] Speaker Icon.svg listen), also spelled Krakow or Cracow (English pronunciation: /ˈkrækaʊ/ Speaker Icon.svg listen), is the 2nd largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland and a popular tourist destination.[1][2] Its historic center was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites as the first of its kind.[3] Situated on the Vistula river (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century.[4] Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centers of Polish academic, cultural and artistic life, and is one of Poland's most important economic centers. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Kraków from 1846 to 1918, and the capital of Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill, and was already being reported as a busy trading center of Slavonic Europe in 965.[5] With the emergence of the Second Polish Republic, and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic center, with the establishment of new universities and cultural venues.

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, Kraków was turned into the capital of Germany's General Government. The Jewish population of the city were moved into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to extermination camps such as Auschwitz and Płaszów.

In 1978, the same year UNESCO placed Kraków on the list of World Heritage Sites, Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, and the first ever Slavic pope.[6]

Contents

History

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Early history

Kraków's pre-history begins with evidence of a Stone Age settlement on the present site of the Wawel Hill.[7] A legend attributes Kraków's founding to the mythical ruler Krakus, who built it above a cave occupied by a dragon, Smok Wawelski.[8] The first written record of the city's name dates back to 966, when Kraków was described as a notable commercial center.[4]

By the end of the 10th century, the city was a leading trading center, incorporated into the holdings of the Piast dynasty. Brick buildings were constructed, including the Wawel Castle, Romanesque churches such as St. Adalbert's, a cathedral, and a basilica.[4] The city was almost entirely destroyed during the Mongol invasions of 1241, 1259 and 1287.[9] It was rebuilt and incorporated in 1257, based on the Magdeburg law, with tax benefits and trade privileges for its citizens.[10] These citizens were German settlers who moved in during the Ostsiedlung, and who constituted a majority of burghers in contemporary Polish and Bohemian towns.[11] The 1257 foundation decree issued by Bolesław V the Chaste was unusual insofar that it explicitly excluded the local population.[11] The older Royal fort Wawel was connected to the new town, built on its northern side around the market square, by its former suburbium (Okol).[12] Germans constituted the majority during the 14th century, and became Polonized in the 16th century.[13] The city rose to prominence in 1364, when Casimir III of Poland founded the University of Kraków,[14] the second oldest university in central Europe after the Charles University in Prague. The city continued to grow under the joint Lithuanian-Polish Jagiellon dynasty (1386–1572). As the capital of a powerful state and a member of the Hanseatic League, the city attracted many craftsmen, businesses, and guilds as science and the arts began to flourish.[15]

Golden age

Woodcut of Kraków, Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

The 15th and 16th centuries were known as Poland's Złoty Wiek or Golden Age.[16] Many works of Polish Renaissance art and architecture were created then,[17][18] including ancient synagogues in Kraków's Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, such as the Old Synagogue.[19] During the reign of Casimir IV, various artists came to work and live in Kraków, and Johann Haller established a printing press in the city[20] after Kasper Straube had printed the Calendarium Cracoviense, the first work printed in Poland, in 1473.[21][22]

In 1520, the most famous church bell in Poland, named Zygmunt after Sigismund I of Poland, was cast by Hans Behem.[23] At that time, Hans Dürer, a younger brother of Albrecht Dürer, was Sigismund's court painter.[24] Hans von Kulmbach made altarpieces for several churches.[25] In 1572, King Sigismund II, the last of the Jagiellons, died childless. The Polish throne passed to Henry III of France and then to other foreign-based rulers in rapid succession, causing a decline in the city's importance that was worsened by pillaging during the Swedish invasion and by an outbreak of plague that left 20,000 of the city's residents dead. In 1596, Sigismund III, of the Swedish House of Vasa, moved the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Kraków to Warsaw.[26]

18th and early 19th centuries

Kraków's growth since late 18th century

Already weakened during the 18th century, by mid-1790 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had been twice partitioned by its neighbors: Russia, the Habsburg empire, and Prussia.[27] In 1794, Tadeusz Kościuszko initiated an unsuccessful insurrection in the town's Main Square which, in spite of his victorious Battle of Racławice against numerically superior Russian army, resulted in the third and final partition of Poland.[28] Following the Uprising, Kraków became part of the Austrian partition in a province of Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. In 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte captured former Polish territories from Austria and made the town part of the Duchy of Warsaw.[29] Following Napoleon's defeat in Russia, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 mostly restored earlier structures, although it also created the partially independent Free City of Kraków.[30] As in 1794, an insurrection, the Kraków Uprising of 1846, failed;[29] resulting in the city being annexed by Austria under the name the Grand Duchy of Krakow (Polish: Wielkie Księstwo Krakowskie).[31]

In 1866, Austria granted a degree of autonomy to Galicia after the Austro-Prussian War,[32] and Kraków became a Polish national symbol and a center of culture and art, known frequently as the "Polish Athens" (Polskie Ateny) or "Polish Mecca".[33] Many leading Polish artists of the period resided in Kraków,[34] among them the seminal painter Jan Matejko,[35] laid to rest at Rakowicki Cemetery, and the founder of modern Polish drama, Stanisław Wyspiański.[36] Fin de siècle Kraków evolved into a modern metropolis;[37] running water and electric streetcars were introduced in 1901,[38] and between 1910 and 1915, Kraków and surrounding suburban communities were gradually combined into a single administrative unit called Greater Kraków (Wielki Kraków).

At the outbreak of World War I on 3 August 1914, Józef Piłsudski formed a small cadre military unit, the First Cadre Company – the predecessor of the Polish Legions – which set out from Kraków to fight for the liberation of Poland.[39] The city was briefly besieged by Russian troops in November 1914, but they were pushed back afterwards.[40] The Austrian rule in Kraków ended in 1918, when the Polish Liquidation Committee assumed power.[41][42]

1918 to the present

St. Mary's Square and (left) St. Mary's Basilica

With the emergence of the Second Polish Republic, Kraków restored its role as a major academic and cultural center with the establishment of new universities such as the AGH University of Science and Technology and the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, including a number of new and essential vocational schools. It became an important cultural center for the Polish Jews with a Zionist youth movement relatively strong among the city's Jewish population.[43] Kraków was also an influential center of Jewish spiritual life, with all its manifestations of religious observance from Orthodox, to Chasidic and Reform flourishing side by side.

Following the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazi German forces turned the city into the capital of the General Government, a colonial authority headed by Hans Frank and seated in Wawel Castle. In an operation called "Sonderaktion Krakau", more than 180 university professors and academics were arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, though the survivors were later released on the request of prominent Italians.[44][45] The Jewish population was first confined to a ghetto and later murdered or sent to concentration camps, including Płaszów and Auschwitz in Oświęcim.[46] Roman Polański, the film director, is a survivor of the Ghetto, while Oskar Schindler, the German businessman portrayed in the Steven Spielberg film Schindler's List, selected employees from the Ghetto to work in his enamelware plant (known as Emalia), thus saving them from the camps.[47][48]

Kraków remained relatively undamaged at the end of World War II.[49] After the war, under the Stalinist regime, the intellectual and academic community of Kraków was put under total political control. The universities were soon deprived of their printing rights as well as their autonomy.[50] The communist government of the People's Republic of Poland ordered construction of the country's largest steel mill in the newly-created suburb of Nowa Huta.[51] The creation of the giant Lenin Steelworks (now Sendzimir Steelworks owned by Mittal) sealed Kraków's transformation from a university city to an industrial center.[52] The new working class, drawn by the industrialization of the city, contributed to its rapid population growth. Also, in an effort that spanned two decades, Karol Wojtyła, cardinal archbishop of Kraków, successfully lobbied for permission to build the first churches in the new industrial suburbs.[52][53]

In 1978, UNESCO placed Kraków on the list of World Heritage Sites. In the same year, Karol Wojtyła was elevated to the papacy as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

Governance

The Kraków City Council has 43 elected members,[54] one of whom is the mayor, or President of Kraków, elected every four years. The election of the City Council and of the local head of government,[55] which takes place at the same time, is based on legislation introduced on 20 June 2002. The current President of Kraków, re-elected for his second term in 2006, is Professor Jacek Majchrowski.[56]

The responsibilities of Kraków’s president include drafting and implementing resolutions, enacting city bylaws, managing the city budget, employing city administrators, and preparing against floods and natural disasters.[55] The president fulfills his duties with the help of the City Council, city managers and city inspectors. In the 1990s, the city government was reorganized to better differentiate between its political agenda and administrative functions. As a result, the Office of Public Information was created to handle inquiries and foster communication between city departments and citizens at large.[57]

In the year 2000, the city government introduced a new long-term program called "Safer City" in cooperation with the Police, Traffic, Social Services, Fire, Public Safety, and the Youth Departments. Subsequently, the number of criminal offences went down by 3 percent between 2000 and 2001, and the rate of detection increased by 1.4 percent to a total of 30.2 percent in the same period.[58] The city is receiving help in carrying out the program from all educational institutions and the local media, including TV, radio and the press.

Several members of the Polish national Parliament (Sejm) are elected from the Kraków constituency.[59]

The city's official symbols include a coat of arms, a flag, a seal, and a banner.[60]

Geography

Vistula River and Dębnicki Bridge

Kraków lies in the southern part of Poland, on the Vistula River, in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, 219 meters (719 ft) above sea level; half way between the Jurassic Rock Upland (Polish: Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska) to the north, and the Tatra Mountains 100 kilometers (62 mi) to the south, constituting the natural border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic; 230 km west from the border with Ukraine. There are five nature reserves in Kraków, with a combined area of ca. 48.6 hectares (120 acres). Due to their ecological value, these areas are legally protected. The western part of the city, along its northern and north-western side, borders an area of international significance known as the Jurassic Bielany-Tyniec refuge. The main motives for the protection of this area include plant and animal wildlife and the area's geomorphological features and landscape.[61] Another part of the city is located within the ecological 'corridor' of the Vistula River valley. This corridor is also assessed as being of international significance as part of the Pan-European ecological network.[62] The city center is situated on the left (northern) bank of the river.

Climate

Kraków has a temperate climate. Average temperatures in summer range from 18 °C (64 °F) to 19.6 °C (67 °F) and in winter from −2.1 °C (28 °F) to 0 °C (32 °F). The average annual temperature is 8.9 °C (48 °F). In summer temperatures often exceed 25 °C (77 °F), and sometimes even 30 °C (86 °F), while winter drops to −5 °C (23 °F) at night and about 0 °C (32 °F) at day; during very cold nights the temperature drops to −15 °C (5 °F). In view of the fact that Krakow lies near the Tatra Mountains, there is often blowing halny – a foehn wind, when the temperature rises rapidly, and even in winter reaches to 20 °C (68 °F).

Climate data for Kraków
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.7
(60)
21.0
(70)
25.2
(77)
29.6
(85)
33.3
(92)
35.5
(96)
36.1
(97)
36.7
(98)
33.1
(92)
27.7
(82)
21.2
(70)
18.9
(66)
36.7
(98)
Average high °C (°F) 1.1
(34)
1.5
(35)
7.9
(46)
13.7
(57)
19.8
(68)
22.1
(72)
24.2
(76)
23.9
(75)
19.2
(67)
13.6
(56)
5.0
(41)
2.9
(37)
12.9
(55)
Daily mean °C (°F) -2.1
(28)
-1.8
(29)
3.8
(39)
9.6
(49)
14.1
(57)
18.0
(64)
19.6
(67)
19.3
(67)
14.7
(58)
9.2
(49)
2.6
(37)
0.0
(32)
8.9
(48)
Average low °C (°F) -5.3
(22)
-5.1
(23)
-0.5
(31)
5.5
(42)
9.0
(48)
13.8
(57)
15.0
(59)
14.7
(58)
10.2
(50)
4.8
(41)
0.2
(32)
-2.9
(27)
5.0
(41)
Record low °C (°F) -29.9
(-22)
-29.4
(-21)
-22.9
(-9)
-9.4
(15)
-2.7
(27)
0.6
(33)
4.3
(40)
2.0
(36)
-4.1
(25)
-7.9
(18)
-17.7
(0)
-25.5
(-14)
-29.9
(-22)
Precipitation mm (inches) 34
(1.34)
34
(1.34)
35
(1.38)
42
(1.65)
56
(2.2)
84
(3.31)
90
(3.54)
82
(3.23)
55
(2.17)
44
(1.73)
41
(1.61)
34
(1.34)
631
(24.84)
Sunshine hours 43 54 102 144 189 204 208 183 153 105 51 33 1,469
% Humidity 82 82 77 68 63 69 71 74 75 79 83 86 76
Avg. precipitation days 15 12 13 9 11 12 13 13 11 12 14 12 147
Source: www.imigw.pl {{{accessdate}}}
Source #2: http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xchg/gus {{{accessdate2}}}

Districts

The 18 districts of Kraków, with Vistula River running west to east

Kraków is divided into 18 administrative districts (dzielnica) or boroughs, each with a degree of autonomy within its own municipal government.[63] Prior to March 1991, the city had been divided into four quarters which still give a sense of identity to Kraków - the towns of Podgórze, Nowa Huta, and Krowodrza which were absorbed by Kraków as it expanded, and the ancient town center of Kraków itself.[63]

The oldest neighborhoods of Kraków were incorporated into the city before the late 18th century. They include the Old Town (Stare Miasto), once contained within the city defensive walls and now encircled by the Planty park; the Wawel District, which is the site of the Royal Castle and the cathedral; Stradom and Kazimierz, the latter originally divided into Christian and Jewish quarters;[64] as well as the ancient town of Kleparz.

Major districts added in the 19th and 20th centuries include Podgórze, which until 1915 was a separate town on the southern bank of the Vistula, and Nowa Huta, east of the city center, built after World War II.

The current divisions were introduced by the Kraków City Hall on 19 April 1995. Districts were assigned Roman numerals as well as the current name:[65] Stare Miasto (I), Grzegórzki (II), Prądnik Czerwony (III), Prądnik Biały (IV), Krowodrza (V), Bronowice (VI), Zwierzyniec (VII), Dębniki (VIII), Łagiewniki-Borek Fałęcki (IX), Swoszowice (X), Podgórze Duchackie (XI), Bieżanów-Prokocim (XII), Podgórze (XIII), Czyżyny (XIV), Mistrzejowice (XV), Bieńczyce (XVI), Wzgórza Krzesławickie (XVII), and Nowa Huta (XVIII).

Among the most notable historic districts of the city are: Wawel Hill, home to Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, where many Polish kings are buried; the medieval Old Town, with its Main Market Square (200 metres, or 656 feet, square); dozens of old churches and museums; the 14th-century buildings of the Jagiellonian University; and Kazimierz, the historical center of Kraków's Jewish social and religious life.[66]

The Old Town district of Kraków is home to about six thousand historic sites and more than two million works of art.[67] Its rich variety of historic architecture includes Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic buildings. Kraków's palaces, churches and mansions display great variety of color, architectural details, stained glass, paintings, sculptures, and furnishings.

In the Market Square stands the Gothic St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki). It was built in the 14th century and features the famous wooden altar carved by Veit Stoss. A trumpet call, hejnał mariacki, is sounded from the church's main tower every hour. The melody played ends unexpectedly in midstream. According to legend, the tune was played during a 13th-century Tatar invasion by a guard warning citizens against the attack. He was shot by a Tatar warrior while playing, the melody breaking off at the moment he died.[68] The story was recounted in a book published in the late 1920s called The Trumpeter of Krakow, which won a Newbery Award.[69]

Demographics

Demographic indicators[70] Years Kraków
Population
in thousands
1970
1978
1988
1995
2002
588,0
693,6
746,6
732,9
758,5
Population density
person/km²
1970
1978
1988
1995
2002
2,556
2,156
2,285
2,243
2,320
Number of women
per 100 men
1970
1978
1988
1995
2002
110
110
110
112
113
Population growth
per 1000
1998
1999
2000
2001
−1.3
−1.7
−1.5
−1.5
Number of Jews
per 1000
1998
1999
2000
2001
−1.3
5
80^100
-7
Krakow-population-per-area2001.png

Krakow had a recorded population of 754,854 in 2009.[71] According to the 2006 data,[70] the population of Kraków comprised about 2% of the population of Poland and 23% of the population of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Selected demographic indicators are presented in a table (below), compiled on the basis of only the population living in Kraków permanently.

In the 1931 census, 78.1% of Cracovians declared Polish as their primary language, with Yiddish or Hebrew at 20.9%, Ukrainian 0.4%, German 0.3%, and Russian 0.1%.[72] The ravages of history have greatly reduced the percentage of ethnic minorities living in Kraków. The official and unofficial numbers differ, as in the case of Romani people. Hence, according to the 2002 census,[73] among those who have declared their national identity (irrespective of language and religion) in Kraków Voivodeship, 1,572 were Slovaks, followed by Ukrainians (472), Jews (50) and Armenians (22). Romani people, officially numbered at 1,678, are estimated at over 5,000. Statistics collected by the Ministry of Education reveal that, even though only 1% of adults (as per above) officially claim minority status, as many as 3% of students participate in programmes designed for ethnic minorities.[74]

See also: Urban demographics of Poland.

Historical demographics of Kraków

Economy

Kraków is one of Poland's most important economic centers, and the economic center of the Lesser Poland (Małopolska) region.[75][76]

Following the collapse of communism, the private sector has been growing in Kraków. There are about 20 large multinational companies in Kraków, including Google, Hitachi, IBM, General Electric, Capgemini,[77] Motorola, and Sabre Holdings,[78] along with other British, German and Scandinavian-based firms.[75][79] In 2005, Foreign direct investment in Kraków has reached approximately USD 3.5 billion. Krakow tries to position itself as Europe's Silicon Valley[80] based on the large number of local and foreign hi tech companies.[75] Kraków is the second city in Poland (after Warsaw) most often visited by foreigners.[75]

The unemployment rate in Kraków was 4.8 percent in May 2007, well below the national average of 13 percent.[76][81]

In 2006, the city budget, which is presented by the Mayor of Kraków on November 15 each year, had a projected revenue of 2,150 billion złoty.[82] The primary sources of revenue were as follows: 14% from the municipal taxation on real estate properties and the use of amenities, 30% in transfers from the national budget, and 34% in state subsidies. Projected expenditures, totaling 2,349 billion złoty, included 21% in city development costs and 79% in city maintenance costs. Of the maintenance costs, as much as 39% were spent on education and childcare. City of Kraków development costs included 41% toward road building, transport, and communication (combined), and 25% for the city's infrastructure and environment.[83] The city has high bond credit rating (BBB+).[76]

Culture

Cracow's Historic center*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wawel Castle, Old Town, Kraków
Type Cultural
Criteria IV
Reference 29
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1978  (2nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Kraków, the unofficial cultural capital of Poland,[84][85][86] was named the official European Capital of Culture for the year 2000 by the European Union.[87] It is a major attraction for both local and international tourists, attracting seven million visitors a year.[88] The main landmarks include the Main Market Square with St. Mary's Basilica and the Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the Wawel Castle, the National Art Museum, the Zygmunt Bell at the Wawel Cathedral, and the medieval St Florian's Gate with the Barbican along the Royal Coronation Route.[89] Kraków has 28 museums and public art galleries. Among them are the main branch of Poland's National Museum and the Czartoryski Museum, the latter featuring works by Leonardo and Rembrandt.

The city has several famous theatres, including: National Stary Theatre, a.k.a. The Old Theatre,[90] Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, Bagatela Theatre, The Ludowy Theatre, and Groteska Theatre of Puppetry, as well as Opera Krakowska and Kraków Operetta. There is also a concert hall the Kraków Philharmonic (Polish: Filharmonia Krakowska).[91]

Kraków's historic center, which includes the Old Town, Kazimierz and the Wawel Castle was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978.[92] The Old Town (Polish: Stare Miasto) is the most prominent example of an old town in the country.[93] For many centuries Kraków was the royal capital of Poland, until Sigismund III Vasa relocated the court to Warsaw in 1596. The whole district is bisected by the Royal Road, the coronation route traversed by the Kings of Poland. The Route begins at St. Florian's Church outside the northern flank of the old city walls in the medieval suburb of Kleparz; passes the Barbican of Kraków (Barbakan) built in 1499, and enters Stare Miasto through the Florian Gate. It leads down Floriańska Street through the Main Square, and up Grodzka to Wawel, the former seat of Polish royalty overlooking the Vistula river. Old Town attracts visitors from all over the World. Krakow historic center is one of the 13 places in Poland that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The architectural design of the Old Town had survived all cataclysms of the past and retained its original form coming from the medieval times. The Old Town district of Kraków is home to about six thousand historic sites and more than two million works of art.[67] Its rich variety of historic architecture includes Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic buildings. Kraków's palaces, churches, theatres and mansions display great variety of color, architectural details, stained glass, paintings, sculptures, and furnishings.

Kraków hosts many annual and biannual artistic events,[94] some of international significance, such as the Misteria Paschalia (baroque music), Sacrum-Profanum (contemporary music), Cracow Screen Festival (popular music), Festival of Polish Music (classical music), Dedications (theatre), Kraków Film Festival - one of Europe's oldest events dedicated to short films,[95] Biennial of Graphic Arts, and the Jewish Culture Festival. It became the residence of two Polish Nobel laureates in literature: Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz; a third Nobel laureate, the Yugoslav writer Ivo Andric also lived and studied in Kraków. Other former residents include famous Polish film directors Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski.

Points of interest outside the city include the Wieliczka salt mine, the Tatra Mountains 100 kilometers (62 mi) to the south, the historic city of Częstochowa, the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, and Ojcowski National Park,[96] which includes Pieskowa Skała Castle.[97]

Parks

Fountain, Planty Park

Planty is the best-known park in Kraków. It was established between 1822 and 1830 in place of the old city walls, forming a green belt around the Old Town. It consists of a chain of smaller gardens designed in various styles and adorned with monuments. The park has an area of 21 hectares (52 acres) and a length of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles), forming a scenic walkway popular with Cracovians.[98]

The first public park equipped with exercise fixtures was founded in 1889 by Dr Henryk Jordan on the banks of the Rudawa river. The Jordan Park, equipped with running and exercise tracks, playgrounds, swimming pool, amphitheatre, pavilions, and a pond for boat rowing and water bicycles, is located on the grounds of Kraków’s Błonia Park.[99] The less prominent Park Krakowski was founded in 1885 by Stanisław Rehman but has since been greatly reduced in size because of rapid real estate development. It was a popular destination point with many Cracovians at the end of the 19th century.[100]

Sports

Football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports in the city,[101] and the teams with the largest following are twelve-time Polish champions Wisła Kraków,[102] and five-time champions Cracovia Kraków.[103] Other football clubs include Hutnik Kraków, Wawel Kraków and Garbarnia Kraków. There is also the first-league rugby club Juvenia Kraków. Kraków has a number of additional, equally valued sports teams including six-time Polish ice hockey champions Cracovia Kraków and the twenty-time women's basketball champions Wisła Kraków.

The Cracovia Marathon, with over a thousand participants from two dozen countries annually, has been held in the city since 2002.[104]

Transport

Main Railway Station

Public transport is based around a fairly dense network of tramway and bus lines operated by a municipal company, supplemented by a number of private minibus operators. Local trains connect some of the suburbs. The bulk of the city’s historic area has been turned into a pedestrian zone with rickshaws and horse buggies; however, the tramlines run within a three-block radius.[105]

Rail connections are available to most Polish cities. Trains to Warsaw depart every hour. International destinations include Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Hamburg, Lvov, Kiev, and Odessa (June–September).[106] The main railway station is located just outside the Old Town District and is well-served by public transport.

Kraków airport, (John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice, Polish: Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy im. Jana Pawła II Kraków-Balice) is 11 km (7 mi) west of the city. Direct trains cover the route between Kraków Główny train station and the airport in 15 minutes. The annual capacity of the airport is estimated at 1.3 million passengers; however, in 2007 more than 3.042 million people used the airport, giving Kraków Airport 15 percent of all air passenger traffic in Poland. The passenger terminal is undergoing extension and is being adapted to meet the requirements of the Schengen Treaty.[107]

Education

Kraków is a major center of education. More than ten university or academy-level institutions offer courses in the city, with 170,000 students.[75] Jagiellonian University, the oldest and best known university in Poland and ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement as the best university in the country,[108][109] was founded in 1364 as the Cracow Academy and renamed in 1817 to commemorate the Jagiellonian dynasty of Polish-Lithuanian kings.[110] Its principal academic asset is the Jagiellonian Library, with more than 4 million volumes, including a large collection of medieval manuscripts[111] like Copernicus' De Revolutionibus and the Balthasar Behem Codex. With 42,325 students (2005) and 3,605 academic staff, the Jagiellonian University is also one of the leading research centers in Poland. Famous historical figures connected with the University include Saint John Cantius, Jan Długosz, Nicolaus Copernicus, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, Jan Kochanowski, King John III Sobieski, Pope John Paul II and Nobel laureates Ivo Andric and Wisława Szymborska.[112]

AGH University of Science and Technology, established in 1919, is the second-largest technical university in Poland, with more than 15 faculties and student enrollment exceeding 30,000.[113] It was ranked by the Polish edition of Newsweek as the best technical university in the country for the year 2004.[114] During its 80-year history, more than 73,000 students graduated from AGH with master's or bachelor's degrees. Some 3,600 persons were granted the degree of Doctor of Science, and about 900 obtained the qualification of Habilitated Doctor.[115]

Other institutions of higher learning include Cracow University of Economics, established in 1925;[116] Academy of Music in Kraków, first conceived as a conservatory in 1888; Pedagogical University, in operation since 1946;[117] Agricultural University of Cracow, offering courses since 1890 (initially as a part of Jagiellonian University);[118] Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest Fine Arts Academy in Poland, founded by the Polish painter Jan Matejko; Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts;[119] The Pontifical Academy of Theology;[120] and Cracow University of Technology, which has more than 37,000 graduates.

Knowledge and Innovation Community EIT

Krakow is one of co-location centers of Knowledge and Innovation Community (Sustainable Energy) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).[121] The complete list of co-location centers - KIC Inno Energy include: CC Germany in Karlsruhe, CC Alps Valleys in Grenoble, CC Benelux in Eindhoven/Leuven, CC Iberia in Barcelona, CC PolandPlus in Krakow, and CC Sweden in Stockholm.

InnoEnergy is a strongly integrated alliance of reputable organizations from the education, research and industry sectors. It was created based on long standing links of cooperation as well as the principles of excellence and transformation. The partners have jointly developed a strategy to tackle the weaknesses of the European innovation landscape and aim to become the leading force for innovation in the field of sustainable energy. The KIC will create economical and societal value by developing ideas from mind to market.[122]

Religious sites

The metropolitan city of Kraków is known as the city of churches. The abundance of landmark, historic temples along with the plentitude of monasteries and convents earned the city a countrywide reputation as the "Northern Rome" in the past. The churches of Kraków comprise over 120 Roman Catholic places of worship of which over 60 were built in the 20th century.[123]

Old Synagogue

Kraków contains also an outstanding collection of monuments of Jewish sacred architecture unmatched anywhere in Poland. Kraków was an influential center of Jewish spiritual life before the outbreak of World War II, with all its manifestations of religious observance from Orthodox, to Chasidic and Reform flourishing side by side. There were at least ninety synagogues in Kraków active before the Nazi German invasion of Poland, serving its burgeoning Jewish community of 60,000–80,000 (out of the city's total population of 237,000), established since the early 12th century.[124]

Most synagogues of Kraków were ruined during World War II by the Nazis who despoiled them of all ceremonial objects, and used them as storehouses for ammunition, firefighting equipment, and as general storage facilities. The post-Holocaust Jewish population of the city had dwindled to about 5,900 before the end of 1940s, and by 1978, the number was further reduced in size to a mere 600 by some estimates. In recent time, thanks to the efforts of the local Jewish and Polish organizations including foreign financial aid from Akiva Kahane, many synagogues underwent major restorations, while others continue to serve as apartments.[124]

Etymology

View of Wawel from Krakus Mound

The name of Kraków is traditionally derived from Krakus (Krak, Grakch), the legendary founder of Kraków and a ruler of the tribe of Lechitians (Poles). In Polish, Kraków is an archaic possessive form of Krak and essentially means "Krak's (town)". Krakus's name may derive from "krakula", a Proto-Slavic word[125] meaning a judge's staff, or a Proto-Slavic word "krak" meaning an oak, once a sacred tree most often associated with the concept of genealogy. The first mention of Prince Krakus (then written as Grakch) dates back to 1190, although the town existed as early as the 7th century, inhabited by the tribe of Wiślanie.[4]

The city's full official name, used on ceremonial occasions, is Królewskie Stołeczne Miasto Kraków,[60] meaning "Royal Capital City of Kraków". In English, a person born, or living, in Kraków is a Cracovian (Polish: Krakowianin).

Krakow is referred to by various names in different languages. The city is known in Czech and Slovak as Krakov, in Hungarian as Krakkó, in Lithuanian as Krokuva, in German as Krakau, in Latin as Cracovia, in French as Cracovie, in Portuguese as Cracóvia and in Russian as Краков. Ukrainian and Yiddish languages refer to it as Krakiv (Краків) and Kroke (קראָקע) respectively.[126] Names of Kraków in different languages are also available.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kraków is twinned, or maintains close relations with, more than 30 cities around the world:[127]

References

Bibliography

Notes

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  107. ^ World Airports Guide. "Kraków Airport". Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20071219112238/http://www.azworldairports.com/cfm/frame.cfm?src=http://www.azworldairports.com/airports/p2310krk.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  108. ^ Times Higher Education Suplement (THES). "Jagiellonian University ranking among world universities" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2008-02-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20080227040124/http://www.ui.ac.id/indonesia/extra/tabelqs.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-11.  Rank 287 worldwide as the first Polish university listed among the top 500 in 2006.
  109. ^ QS Quacquarelli Symonds. Source: The Times Higher Education Suplement. QS World University Rankings. "Jagiellonian University ranking among world universities". http://www.topuniversities.com/worlduniversityrankings/results/2006/rankings_1520/?start=201&end=100. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
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  111. ^ Jagiellonian University, "Treasures of the Jagiellonian Library". http://www.bj.uj.edu.pl/o_bib/skarby_BJ_en_.php. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
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Further reading

  • Jane Hardy, Al Rainnie, Restructuring Krakow: Desperately Seeking Capitalism. Published 1996 by Mansell Publishing, 285 pages. Business, economics, finance. ISBN 0720122317.
  • Edward Hartwig, Kraków, with Jerzy Broszkiewicz (contributor). Published 1980, by Sport i Turystyka, 239 pages. ISBN 8321723217.
  • Bolesław T. Łaszewski, Kraków: karta z dziejów dwudziestolecia. Published 1985, by Bicentennial Pub. Corp. (original from the University of Michigan), 132 pages. ISBN 0912757086
  • Joanna Markin, Bogumiła Gnypowa, Kraków: The Guide. Published 1996 by Pascal Publishing, 342 pages. ISBN 8387037281.
  • Tim Pepper, Andrew Beattie, Krakow. Published 2007 by Hunter Pub Inc., 160 pages. ISBN 1843063085. The book includes description of public art galleries and museums.
  • Scott Simpson, Krakow. Published 2003 by Thomas Cook, 192 pages. Transport, geography, sightseeing, history, and culture. Includes weblinks CD. ISBN 1841571873.
  • Dorota Wąsik, Emma Roper-Evans, Krakow. Published 2002 by Somerset. Cultural guidebook series, 160 pages. ISBN 9630059304.
  • Richard Watkins, Best of Kraków, Published 2006, by Lonely Planet, 64 pages, complemented by fold-out maps. ISBN 1741048222.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Kraków article)

From Wikitravel

Kraków is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
Statue of Adam Mickiewicz in the Old Town Square
Statue of Adam Mickiewicz in the Old Town Square

The city of Kraków [1] is the capital city of the Malopolskie (Lesser Poland or Little Poland) province in the southern region of Poland. It covers both banks of the Wisla (or Vistula) river. Uplands region at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. It is Poland's third largest city, with a population of 756,000 in 2007 (1.4 million after including surrounding communities).

Districts

These are the most popular tourist destinations, and if your time is limited, you would be best sticking to these:

  • Stare Miasto — (Literally "Old Town") The historical center of Kraków is just a ten minute walk from the train station and is home to the Wawel Castle, numerous churches, the Rynek Główny (Main Square), Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), and many, many restaurants, bars, and top-end shops.
  • Kazimierz - The former Jewish town

Other major districts within the city are

Suburbs

Some of the communities around the edge of Kraków can show you real Polish life away from the tourist-focused economy of the centre. These are mostly day trips, though, as they require transport to get there.

  • Nowa Huta — "New Steelworks" area built by the Communists (can be reached by streetcar).
  • Zwierzyniec – The greenest area of Krakow, located to the West; includes the Las Wolski forest and Kopiec Kościuszki (the Kosciuszko Mound).
  • Debniki – Green area to the South West of Krakow, which includes the Tyniec Monastery.
  • Bronowice – The area to the north west of Krakow.
  • Podgórze — The area of the Jewish ghetto during the Nazi occupation. Also Kopiec Krakusa (the Krakus Mound)
Church of St. Mary
Church of St. Mary
St.Mary seen from the Market place
St.Mary seen from the Market place

Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland, with evidence showing settlements there since 20,000 BC. Legend has it that it was built on the cave of a dragon whom the mythical King Krak had slain. However, the first official mention of the name was in 966 by a Jewish merchant from Spain, who described it as an important centre of trade in Slavonic Europe.

Through trade with the various rulers of Europe, it grew from a small settlement in 1000AD to a large wealthy city, belonging to the Vistulans. However, through the 9th and 10th centuries, it fell under the influence of the Great Moravians, then the Bohemians, before being captured by the Piast Dynasty of Poland. In 1038, Kazimierz the Restorer made Krakow the capital of Poland.

In 1241, the city was almost entirely destroyed by Tatars. It was rebuilt to a design that remains largely unchanged to the present day. However, after more successful attacks by the Mongols in the late 13th century, Kazimierz the Great set about defending the city. Walls, fortifications, and the original Wawel Castle were added. The University was also established. King Kazimierz established the district of Kazimierz for Jews to live in free from persecution. This area remained mainly Jewish for centuries until the Nazi occupation.

The 16th century was Krakow's golden age. Under the influence of the joint Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellonian dynasty, Krakow became a centre of science and the arts. In 1569, Poland was officially united with Lithuania and as a result government activity started to move to Warsaw. King Zygmunt III officially moved the capital in 1609.

However, the 17th century was a return to troubled times for Krakow and Poland. After being invaded by Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Transylvanians, Swedes, and the French, it went through a phase of various forms of political control. These included being part of the Duchy of Warsaw, established by Napoleon, and becoming an "independent city". However, it mostly fell under the sphere of influence of the Austrian Habsburg Empire, in the province of Galicia.

In the First World War, Józef Pilsudski set out to liberate Poland and the Treaty of Versailles (1919) established an independent sovereign Polish state for the first time in more than 100 years. This lasted until the Second World War, when Germany and the USSR partitioned the country, with German forces entering Krakow in September 1939. Many academics were killed and historic relics and monuments were destroyed or looted. Concentration camps were established near Krakow, including Plaszow and Auschwitz. After German withdrawal, the city escaped complete destruction and many buildings were saved.

In the Communist period, a large steel works was established in the suburb of Nowa Huta. This was seen as an attempt to lessen the influence of the anti-Communist intellegentsia and religious communities in Krakow. In 1978, UNESCO placed Krakow on the World Heritage Sites list. In the same year, the Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, was made Pope John Paul II.

The Communist Government collapsed in 1989 and Krakow is now undergoing another period of regeneration, with historic buildings being restored.

Economy

Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland and this supports much of the local economy. However, the University and numerous local colleges mean education is an important employer as well.

The service and technology industry is strong, with many banks and internet companies, such as Google, being located here. There is a large manufacturing sector as well, especially in steel (owned by Mittal), pharmaceuticals and tobacco, mainly as a legacy of the Communist era.

Unemployment is lower than average (5%) for the rest of the country (9%) and it is considered an attractive investment opportunity, especially for those buying real estate. A new financial and business district is planned along with a new sporting complex in the nowa Huta Borough on the Vistula river. This is for the regeneration of the Nowa Huta area, the most deprived district of Krakow.

Climate

There are four definite seasons to Krakow — Summer being hot and humid (around 30-35°C). Winter always sees Krakow under a blanket of snow with bitingly cold days (-5 to -20 degrees C). September can be very wet.

Get in

By plane

The most convenient way to travel from Balice Airport (also known as John Paul II International Airport) is to book a taxi[2] (KRK) Balice is the main airport, about 12km to the west of the centre. It is the second biggest airport in Poland, with frequent domestic and international charter and scheduled flights. There are several direct arrivals every day from all over Europe, including London, Paris, Glasgow, Brussels, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Belfast, Milan, Cologne, Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Rome, Vienna, and Zürich. Services also fly from Chicago and New York in the USA and there are summer flights to more destinations, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey. The main flight companies operating in the airport include Aer Lingus, British Airways, LOT (the Polish national airline), CSA Czech Airlines, Iberia, Austrian Airlines, and Lufthansa. There are also lots of budget airlines operating here, including easyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian, Germanwings, Air Berlin, Jet2 and Transavia. Alternatively, you can fly to Warsaw for a connecting flight. Jet Air is offering domestic flights to Gdańsk, Poznań and Szczecin (via Poznań).

Trains run from the airport to 'Dworzec Glowny PKP' (the central station) approximately every 30 minutes, starting from 4:24AM, until 11:24PM (for more details see the airport's webpage [3]. Tickets can be bought from the train attendant (8 PLN), or by automated cashiers (7 PLN). The journey takes 16 minutes. You can walk to the station, as it is only 250m, or take a free shuttle-bus service runs from the front of the airport. Given the price and speed of the train, this is the best choice.

Bus number 292 [4] and 208 [5] runs from the airport to the city centre about once an hour. If you need to get to the central train station, get off at the stop "Dworzec Główny Wschód". This bus stop is located next to shopping centre "Galeria Krakowska", approximately 100 meters from the entrance of the central train station (Dworzec Główny PKP). The ride takes around 40 minutes.

Single-ride tickets from Balice Airport to the city center cost 3.00 PLN (or 1.70 PLN for ISIC/EURO 26 Holder). Make sure you buy the "agglomeration ticket", this type of ticket is valid in two zones, so also in the area where the airport is located. Tickets can be bought from one of the newsagents or from a ticket machine at the bus (3.50 PLN when bought on board / 1.95 PLN for ISIC/EURO 26 Holder). Make sure you validate your ticket immediately when entering the verhicle.

During the night, you can catch night line 902 [6] which goes from the airport to the city centre at 11:26PM, 00:56AM, and 02:26AM. Single-ride tickets for the night line cost 3.00 PLN.

Radio Taxi 19191 is official partner of Kraków Airport, they accept also payments by card. Taxi ranks are located in front of the T1 and T2 terminal exits. The journey to the centre should cost no more than 70PLN during the day. Check that the meter is on with the appropriate tariff. Note that the airport is outside the city, so you will be subject to the 'outside' tariff until you pass a certain point, at which it changes.

You can try hitchhiking, but it is difficult from the airport. If you want to give it a go, walk to the main road, and remember to hold out your whole hand.

By train

Dworzec Glowny PKP [7] is the central station in Krakow, and is located just outside of the Old Town. It is connected to other cities in Poland and the rest of Europe.

Every hour between 6 AM and 8 PM there is either Express (EX) or Intercity (IC) train between Krakow and Warsaw that do not stop on the way and journey takes less than 3 hours. It is by far the most convenient way of traveling between Warsaw and Krakow. To or from Warsaw, IC trains cost 89-95 PLN per adult, 65-72 for students and anyone under 26 years. First class tickets are about 25% more expensive, and offer greater leg room. EX trains cost roughly 80 PLN per adult, with a 25 PLN compulsory reservation, i.e. 105 PLN in total. If you are desperate budget traveller you can also take an interregion train for 40 zł that takes 3.5 hours or the regular pospieszny trains that take over 5 hours, but cost 50 zł.

Trains to the airport depart at 4:00am, 5:00am, 6:00am, then starting from 7:00am they depart every half hour. Tickets are 8 zł on the train or 7 zł from the automat on track 1. 16 minutes. A free shuttle-bus awaits at the rail station, but you'll notice most people walking past it towards the international terminal. The bus will get you to the international terminal (T1), but first goes out to the domestic terminal (T2).

  • Warning!!! Trains that go from the main railway station to the airport are sometimes cancelled without any reason and without prior announcement. So, NEVER calculate your trip to the airport with the last possible train as you may end up missing your flight!

International trains arrive daily from Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, Kosice, Lviv, Kiev, and Odessa with connections to the rest of Europe. Sleeper trains to and from Poland are very cheap. A couchette bed in a 6 berth cabin is luxury compared to an 8 hour journey in a seat, for around €14.

The station has a left-luggage service, waiting room, small cafes and shops. However, the food is not the best, and you would be better advised going out of the station to buy from the shops nearby. There's an enormous shopping mall connected to the station with some restaurants.

Be warned, the station staff are not always the most helpful to foreigners who don't speak Polish as they often speak no English and you can spend an awful long time queuing only to be told to join another large queue. If you get confused, try asking someone young to help you as most young Polish people speak communicative English and are very helpful. Staff at the international ticket counter speak English.

By car

The Polish government has completed the Autostrada A4 [8] from the German border (Where it meets the Autobahn A4) to Kraków. This makes travel from the west fairly easy. The speed limit is generally 130 km/h, and there is a 8 PLN toll each way between Katowice and Kraków. Driving to or from Warsaw (300 km) is more difficult as the A1 has not yet been completed. The easiest route is the S7 express road, which should take about five hours.

By bus

There are Europe-wide coach services operating into Krakow. However, it is cheaper and much quicker to fly, providing you book at least six weeks in advance. The journey time by coach from London, for example, is around 24 hours. It's pretty uncomfortable, and not recommended for anybody other than the desperate or enviornmentally conscious.

Within Poland, coach travel is not that much cheaper than going by train. However, it is much more awkward, and not recommended for traveling between cities. During the Summer, there are often services without air conditioning. Take plenty of water.

Rail connections from the Baltic countries into Poland are non-existent, making bus travel a more serious alternative for travelers arriving from the north.

Bus connections to other cities in Poland can be found on the website of the Regional Bus Station in Kraków [9].

When travelling between Kraków and Zakopane it's recommended to take a bus [10] [11] (2 hour journey) instead of train (3,5 hour journey). Buses are leaving every 30 minutes from the Regional Bus Station.

Once a day (except monday and tuesday) a fast bus is running between Kraków and Wrocław [12]. The bus is leaving at 3.30 PM and arrive in Wrocław around 6.30 PM.

Get around

By foot

Depending on your level of fitness, you can see the whole of the city centre without needing any transport. There are some beautiful walking routes, especially through the Planty. For walking, try the Royal Way or the garden that surrounds the city all the way to Florian's Gate. It is very relaxing. There is also a well cared for garden around the castle just to stroll around.

Walking Tours [13] in many languages (English, Polish, Italian, German, etc.) Probably the best walking guides in Krakow.

Public transportation

During the day, there is an excellent system of public transport in Krakow, covered by trams and buses (but remember, you can spend a lot of time in traffic jams!). The rush hours are mostly between 7AM-9AM and 3PM-5PM.

Buy tickets before you get on board. Ticket inspectors are fairly common and though the fines are not steep, they are not worth the hassle. Single, one-hour, daily, weekly, and monthly tickets are available and can be bought from news agents and kiosks. For single tickets, as soon as you get on, punch the ticket in the machine. A ticket must be punched or it is not valid. Daily tickets and one-hour tickets need to be punched the first time you get on, but do not do it again after that. Do not punch weekly and monthly tickets.

Ticket prices: single 2.50PLN, one-hour 3.10PLN, 24-hour 10.40PLN, 48-hour 18.80PLN, 72-hour 25PLN, 7-day 39PLN, family ticket (Sat-Sun only, unlimited daytime travelling) 10.40PLN, monthly pass 94PLN.

ISIC and Euro26 student holders that study outside Poland can use discount tickets, but not the full, 50% discount student tickets. They can use "gminny" fare, which means: single 1.35PLN, one-hour 1.65PLN, 24-hour 5.70PLN, 48-hour 11.50PLN, 72-hour 15.60PLN, 7-day 23.60PLN, monthly pass 41.70PLN.

When travelling to neighbouring villages and to the airport you need an agglomeration ticket, that is just 0.30PLN more expensive. Keep in mind you need it even if you have any sort of valid time pass mentioned above (as they cover just the city area). The agglomeration ticket is green.

Single ticket prices are the same during the night. Tram and bus stops show routes and most kiosks will be able to advise you on route numbers.

By car

Don't bother driving in the city centre. There's often a lot of traffic, parking spaces are scarce and can be expensive, and Polish driving takes a lot of getting used to. There are also rules around local 'driving zones' that confuse even long time residents. The taxis are cheap and it makes more sense to use them.

Taxis [14] are always plentiful and a journey in the middle of the night from one end of the city to the other should cost no more than 70PLN. During the day, most fares will be around 20PLN. All taxis should have a 'Taxi' sign on the roof and a sticker on the rear passenger window with prices. There is an initial charge of about 5-7PLN, plus 2-3PLN per kilometre. Price list should be shown on the passenger side door.

There are instances where drivers will overcharge tourists, especially those who don't speak Polish. Check on a map in advance how much it should be and if it goes much above that, debate the price.

By bicycle

Another option is to hire a bicycle. It is easy to get around the centre on two wheels, as there are special bike lanes everywhere, including through the 'Planty' that surrounds the Old Town. One cheap place to rent from is in Kazimierz by the Old Synagogue. It costs around 20PLN per day, with a small deposit — much cheaper than those in the centre. For those who are prepared to spend more, you can do a downtown Krakow tour using a rented Segway.

In 2008, Kraków introduced BikeOne - a reasonably priced system of public municipal bikes. You need to register and pay at [15] and you will be supplied with a personal PIN code that allows to grab a bike from self-service rental stations. Currently, there is about 15 such stations (mostly around Kraków's center) but the network will grow. The nice thing about this system is that you don't need to return the bike to the same station you rented from - just grab a bike for a few minutes to transfer from one point to another and drop the bike at any station you want. Bikes are not available during winter.

Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle
  • The Old City (Stare Miasto).
  • The Rynek Glowny (Main Marketplace) — One of the biggest medieval squares in the world is at the heart of the Old City, currently being repaved and beautified, full of churches, restaurants, and bars.
  • Wawel Castle, [16] — Ancient seat of the Polish kings and now a major museum. They have a very odd pricing structure, requiring you to pay to get in to different bits of the castle at particular times of day, but during other times these appear to be free.
  • Kazimierz — The former Jewish district south of Wawel. More than 40,000 Jewish residents of Krakow and surrounding areas died in the Holocaust. Now there are very few Jewish residents of Krakow, but synagogues and other signs of Jewish culture remain in Kazimierz, which was the scene of many of the events in Schindler's List.

Museums and Galleries

Many of Krakow's state museums have free admission on Sunday and are closed on Monday.

  • Czartoryski Museum [17] is a former townhouse of one of Poland's great families and proud owner of the famous da Vinci portrait, Lady with an Ermine.
  • Bunker of Modern Art (Bunkier Sztuki Wspolczesnej), [18] — Gallery of contemporary art very near city center. There is also a book shop and nice cafe in the "bunker".
  • Centre of Japanese Art & Technology (Manggha-Centrum Sztuki I Techniki Japonskiej), [19] — Houses the National Museum's Japanese artifacts, consisting mostly of the fabulous 6,500-item collection of local legend Feliks Jasienski (1861-1929) who adored Japan. It is located across the river from Wawel castle.
  • Archaeological Museum.
  • Armia Krajowa Museum.

All over Old Town you can find campus parts of the second oldest university in this part of Europe: Jagiellonian University. You are free to enter (and leave) all buildings at your leisure (mind the students milling around every day of the week).

  • Theater — The main building housed the Teatr Wielki from 1833-1834, the Rozmaitości Theatre from 1836 to 1924 then the National Theatre, the Reduta Theatre from 1919 to 1924, and from 1928 to 1939 the Nowy Theatre, which staged productions of contemporary poetical drama, including those directed by Leon Schiller.
  • Galicja Jewish Museum [20] — The Galicja Museum in Kazimierz houses an exhibition of photographs with explanations in Polish and English. These are recent photographs of locations around Poland associated with the Holocaust. Some are places where massacres occurred; most show old synagogues and Jewish cemeteries with comments about how respectfully (or not) these places are now preserved. The museum also has a bookstore and coffee shop and arranges coach trips to Auschwitz.
  • Gallery of 19th Century Art (one of several national museums/Muzeum Narodowe in Krakow) [21] — This is one of the best collections of 19th century paintings in Poland. The collection's usual home upstairs in the Sukiennice is undergoing refurbishment until 2009. Until then, the collection is on display in the castle in the town of Niepolomice about 20km away. Minibuses go from the stop on ul. Starowislna opposite the main post office.

Do

Krakow, the old royal capital, is acclaimed for its many precious architectural monuments and a unique friendly atmosphere. There are many things to do:

  • Walk the entire Royal Way, from St. Florian's Gate, down Florianska, across the Rynek Glowny, down Grodzka to the Wawel castle.
  • Listen to the Hejnal Mariacki (Trumpet Signal) while sipping a coffee in the Rynek Glowny. The signal is played live every full hour and is cut suddenly in memory of a trumpeter shot and killed by a Tatar arrow in 1241.
  • Walk around the Planty, a large park that surrounds the entire Old Town.
  • At Wawel Castle, lounge and take in the sun on the banks of the Vistula river, or take a cruise down the river. See the Dragon's Lair and see the dragon breathe fire.
  • Early on Sunday, go shopping at the open air flea markets at Plac Nowy and Hala Targowa.
  • Foreign visitors can find locals eager to practice speaking English and other languages at the English Language Club on the second floor at ul. Sienna 5 (i.e. two floors above the ground floor at 5 Sienna Street, 100 metres from the main market square) on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 pm.

Learn

Older Polish people are strongly religious while younger thirty-somethings tend to be medium religious (attending church on major catholic holidays) or not at all religious. The so-called 'Generation JP2' (JP2 is short for John Paul II), people between the age of 16 and roughly 25, tend to establish a neo-conservative look on religion in Poland, just like Americans did in the '80. Some of the youngest are extremely religious, if not fundamentalists. Others try to split from the Vatican in some intellectual reformatory way like the neo-catholics or neo-christians, but they still are very religious. The vast majority of youngsters remain officially catholic and occasionally go to church, but in fact do not give much attention to religion. During Easter, the churches have a lot of ceremonies and are very well visited by the locals. Saturday evening is for candlelight ceremonies outside the churches. On Rynek Glowny, there is outdoor theater and music in the evening. Regular stores are closed during main religious holidays (25th & 26th of December, Easter Sunday, and Monday), other holidays may mean shorter working hours.

If you have time to visit a cemetery on Sunday you will see a fantastic scene of candles and flowers on the graves. (Cm. Na. Salwatorze in the Zwierzyniec hill. The trams 1, 2 and 6 have Salwator as end station!)

  • Jagellonian University (Polish: Uniwersytet Jagielloński), [22].
  • University of Economics in Kraków, [23].
  • AGH University of Science and Technology, aka The Academy of Mining and Metallurgy, Polish: Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza [24].
  • Cracow University of Technology, Polish: Politechnika Krakowska [25].

Buy

City Shopping

The Old Town district offers excellent shopping, especially for clothes, jewelry, and art. You can wander all around the Old Town and Kazimierz, where antique stores abound. The center of this all is the Rynek Glowny ("Rynek" also means "market"), where you will find some of the city's top stores.

In the middle of the Rynek Glowny stands the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), a center of trade in Krakow for hundreds of years. The entire ground floor is a market, where local artists sell their wares. Look for amber jewelry and sheep skin rugs. A great place to check out if you want to bring an authentic piece of Krakow back home.

If you're addicted to shopping, be sure to check out the Royal Way (Florianska - Rynek Glowny - Grodzka) and the streets surrounding Plac Nowy in the Kazimierz district.

Shopping Malls

Until recently, Krakow had avoided the invasion of shopping centers/malls. That time has passed and most national supermarkets and chain stores have opened up shop in Krakow. There are a few malls on Wadowicka and Zakopiańska, anchored by large supermarkets.

Summer 2006 saw the opening of a gigantic new 270-store shopping mall, Galeria Krakowska [26], immediately next to the main train station, and a 5-minute walk from the main town square. This makes available even more international products not previously available in Krakow. There is a reasonable-sized branch of the supermarket chain Carrefour in the mall.

The next largest shopping mall in Krakow is probably Galeria Kazimierz [27] (Podgorska 34). Located at the southern tip of Kazimierz, on the Vistula River, it offers 36,000m2 of stores, boutiques, and eateries, as well as a movie theater. Galeria Kazimierz also offers an Alma supermarket.

Other large malls include M1 (Al.Pokoju 67), anchored by electronics superstore Media Markt, and Krakow Plaza [28] (Al.Pokoju 44), which includes a vast array of clothes shopping.

Local brands of note:

  • Reserved [29] is a Polish clothing brand with several stores in the city center. It exports its casual wear only to Europe, so if you want some original stuff, be sure to visit it.
  • W. Kruk [30] is Poland's best known jeweler.
  • Dagny [31] on 17 Starowislna Street is a shop with famous Ewa Dunikowska designer dresses.

Kraków is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Kraków's cuisine has been influenced by the cultures that have inhabited central Europe, as well as the Austro-Hungarian empire.

For some genuine Polish food that might be served by your Babcia (grandmother in Polish) which is cheap and delicious, go to Babci Maliny (literally "Raspberry Grandma") on ul. Szpitalna 38 and enjoy the atmosphere, where you sit at benches with complete strangers and wait for your number to be called to enjoy some delicious food. The menu is in Polish but there are English menus available - ask. The area downstairs is impressively presented, with hearty traditional meals in the evenings served by waitresses wearing traditional dress, and live piano music.

If you want to try Polish cuisine for outstandingly good-value prices (a big lunch for one person for about 8PLN) then find a 'Bar Mleczny' (a milk bar - a kind of cafeteria very prevalent in Communist times so called because it serves no alcohol). They are fast disappearing from the city, but you can find one on the right side of Ul. Grodzka (if you are going from Rynek Glowny). They offer classic Polish food such as 'kroketka'. An English-Polish dictionary is recommended when ordering.

Zurek is a soup based on fermented rye - it's sour and creamy and often has slices of kielbasa sausage or a hard-boiled egg added. Barszcz is a soup made with beetroot -- very savory. Chlodnik is another beetroot soup, served cold as a refreshing summer dish. It makes use of the beetroot greens as well as the roots, and is flavoured with gherkins, dill and sour cream. Pierogi are dumplings that are most often filled with "ruskie" ("ruskie" meaning "Russian" - with curd cheese and potato), meat, cabbage, mushroom, bilberries, apples, and strawberries. The fruit Pierogis are usually served with cream and sugar.

You won't see this in most guides, but one of the true joys of a trip to Krakow is a visit to the kielbasa van. Basically, it's these two gruff Polish men who, every night from 8PM-3AM, set up a fire grill outside of their van (parked in front of the market east of the old town near the train bridge) and grill kielbasa. For 7 zloty, get your sausage and a squirt of mustard and stand at the perch nearby and chow down with the locals in-the-know. It is delicious, especially after a night of exploring Krakows bars. A fun experience free of the usual tourist crush and off the main path (ul. Grzegorzecka, opposite ul. Blich)

There's a place in Kazimierz called "Pierozki U Vincenta" that supposedly specializes in pierogies. Some reports have said it isn't very good.

A genuine vegetarian restaurant is the 'Vega' Vegetarian Bar at 7 Sw. Gertrudy Str, near Hotel Monopol. Good food, reasonable prices, no beer. Another location of 'Vega' is on the other side of the Old Town (Stare Miasto) on ul. Krupnicza. Inside the Old Town is the vegetarian restaurant Greenway on ul. Mikołajska, just east of the little market square (Mały Rynek) just east of the northeast corner of the main market square (Rynek Główny).

In Krakow, like other Polish cities, there are a fair amount of "Chinese-Vietnamese" restaurants. Many have Polish employees who have never heard of Pho, none SERVE Pho, and ALMOST none serve even remotely decent Chinese and/or Vietnamese food. I know it's tempting, but you'd do far better to look for decent Polish food.

  • Polakowski, [32] ul. Miodowa 39. Polish dishes served cafeteria-style, very cheap and very tasty.
  • Wentzl, [33] Rynek Główny 19, 31-008 Kraków, tel.(+ 48 12) 431-92-20.
  • Restauracja Monarchia, Krakow-Kazimierz, Jozefa 6, tel. +48 12 430-60-13.
  • Sheraton — If you are looking for a high quality Sunday lunch at a fair price - check Hotel Sheraton on Powsle street in front of the river. Sometimes they offer a lunch (13 EUR) for a full buffet table including wine! This is a good choice for the gourmet!
  • KoKo (Golebia 8). Nothing but traditional Polish dishes prepared by charming polish housekeepers, including hand made dumplings (6,50PLN). See hilarious comic art on the walls. However this establishment has been known to give people food poisoning!

Kraków is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Bars, pubs, and cafes in Krakow are one of its biggest attractions. Not just their number or quality, but close proximity. It has been said that there are more than 300 eating and drinking establishments in the Old Town alone.

  • A tatanka is a unique (and delicious) Polish beverage made with apple juice and a special kind of vodka called zubrowka, which is flavored with bison grass. It is also often referred to as a Szarlotka, or apple cake. Tatanka is a Native American term for bison.
  • Wódka miodowa is a honey vodka, often served chilled in shots. Some of the better Polish-themed restaurants will have house brands.
  • Śliwowica, a plum brandy, is worth watching out for. There are two main variants: an 80-proof (40%) yellow tinged one and a 140-proof (70%) clear variety. While the 80-proof variety is often smooth and flavorful, some have compared the 140-proof to drinking gasoline. A good way to drink it is to deal with it like with an absynth. Take a small spoon with sugar, put some Sliwowica on it and fire it. Let the sugar melt down for a while (10-30 seconds). Then, mix the flaming sugar with the rest of the drink. Let it burn for 5-10 seconds, then blow it and drink it. Watch out and don't burn your lips! You can also let it burn longer, but then use a pipe to drink it to avoid burning your fingers or lips.
  • Polish Vodka Tasting Party — If you would like to taste the most popular vodkas in Poland and learn a bit about history of vodka you should join the polish vodka tasting party. It is a regular event organized by KrakowAdventure [34].
  • Don't miss out on the grzaniec, a sort of heated wine with cloves and other spices, very popular around Christmas.

Bars

Thanks to their proximity to each other, Krakow's watering holes are ideal for bar hopping. Many locals and tourists have spent nights partying from the Old Town all the way to Vistula River at the end of Kazimierz. Most bars fall in the Old Town and Kazimierz districts.

In the warmer months, Kraków's nightlife moves outdoors into hundreds of sidewalk cafes and beer gardens. When winter comes around, it moves underground into cellars all around the city.

Many tourists, both from Poland and abroad, never leave the Old Town Square at night. If you want to party with tourists, that's a great spot. Meanwhile, many of the locals have moved the party to Kazimierz and new bars are popping up there every month. Walk down Szeroka or head over to Plac Nowy, it's wall-to-wall bars.

A few recommendations in Kazimierz:

  • Propaganda, ul. Miodowa 20). A tongue-in-cheek preservation of Warsaw Pact-era ambiance, posters , and drinks.
  • Singer, a former sewing factory featuring actual sewing machine tables.
  • Le Scandale, Plac Nowy. A huge selection of drinks with a great atmosphere.
  • Alchemia, Plac Nowy. Very popular, and the original Plac Nowy spot.
  • Eszeweria, Jozefa. Great music, decor, and Pilsner in a bottle for just 5PLN!
  • Stajna, Ulica Meiselsa. A whiff of gone times inside, a lively beergarden outside, and a lot of slacking students

A couple of recommendations near the Old Town:

  • Cafe Art, Rynek Główny 23. Decorated with bits of old church organ, they specialize in cocktails. Try the Kamikaze or Mad Dog - a shooter containing vodka, raspberry liqueur, and Tabasco sauce.
  • Nowy Kuzyn, Maly Rynek. Typical underground Polish bar with good darts machine and nice people.
  • Pauza, Florianska 18/3 - Pauza.pl. A long-time trendy bar in the centre of Krakow, popular with students!
  • Paparazzi Mikołajska 9 +48 12 429 45 97 — Best cocktails in town. A cozy place with a lot of pictures of known people and great atmosphere. Every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m a special menu with each order made double!
  • Harris Piano Jazz Bar — A packed underground jazz bar with great music - 6,50PLN for Zywiec, get there early to get seats.
  • Razzy Dazzy Jazz Club, Tomasza 11A. Club with live jazz music.
  • Still, Golebia 8. Club with lots of locals always willing to chat and drink. Wide selection of Polish vodkas.
  • Alter Ego, Floriańska street, wide selection of reasonably priced Polish vodkas.

Cafes

Krakow is not only full of cozy cafes, but is also said to be the place of the first cafe founded in Europe. Most cafes offer good espresso and something to nibble at a very reasonable price. As a rule, international-looking places are much more expensive.

  • Alter Ego Café [35] on Floriańska street just few steps from St.Mary's Church on the Market Square with Polish food and beer.
  • Wedel Cafe [36] is a cafe with a beautiful medieval courtyard, on the main square. Wonderful chocolate drinks and cakes.
  • Café Malaga is a cozy, small café in one of the alleys off the main square where you can enjoy a Krakowian iced coffee, huge Polish cheesecake and a variation of hot and cold drinks. It specializes on wines from the Spanic Malaga district, but offers a large variation of Polish beverages and cakes. Even though it might be tricky to find, it's worth checking out for the atmoshphere alone!
  • Cafe Lody u Jacka i Moniki, in the Slawkowska street, is one of the first café's in Krakow. They have the best ice cream in Krakow in the summer and the best coffee in the city in the autumn and winter time! They offer very good cakes, especially the traditional 'kremowka' - a vanilla flavored cream cake or a warm apple pie with whipped cream. Try out their hot chocolate and fruit cocktails, all this for very good prices.
  • Loch Camelot — Naive art pictures and good szarlotka.
  • Lokator, [37] is a cafe, gallery and pub - all in one. Cafe and pub are separated, the cafe part hosts cultural events (concerts, etc.)
  • Jama Michalika is a cafe frequented and decorated by artists of the Young Poland movement. Plenty of art nouveau style and original paintings.
  • Ciasteczka z Krakowa is a small but perfectly-formed cafe selling delicious traditional cookies.

If you're looking for a more American coffee experience, check out Coffeeheaven (Karmelicka 5 and Galeria Kazimierz) or Tribeca Coffee (Rynek Glowny 27).

Kraków is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Kraków is experiencing a tourist boom at the moment, with 60% more visitors in 2005 than in 2003, the hotel industry is playing catchup so be prepared to pay more than someone who visited in previous years.

Don't try too hard to save money on accommodation when you're in Krakow. If you don't want Kraków to become your worst experience, try to avoid hotels and hostels located in the Nowa Huta district; most of them are former shelters for part-time industry workers and the district is quite distant from the city center.

There are plenty of decent clean backpacker hostels within a stone's throw of the old city. Expect to pay 40-60PLN for a dorm bed, including breakfast (bread, jam, and cheese), laundry, sheets, lockers, and internet.

A good way to stay in Krakow is to rent private accommodation. There are several websites that assist in this. You can usually get a centrally located one bedroom apartment for about €60-€90 a night, so it may not be worth hassling with a hotel. It's usually the same price as an overcrowded hostel, but nicer. There are two agencies opposite the main railway station offering rooms. If you hang around the street outside the agencies for a while, some landlords will approach you and make an offer. Saves you the commission, but may be a bit unsafe.

You can check on-line, for free The City of Krakow's Official Accommodation Booking System [38] too. It is a joint project of The Municipal Office of Krakow [39] and the Reception.pl company. The system includes only these Krakow accommodation facilities that are managed legally. The accommodation prices offered within the System are not higher than the rates paid directly to the accommodation facilities and often are even lower than the prices provided in the reception. The multilingual customer service team and call centre provide dedicated assistance to all customers.

  • Good Bye Lenin Hostel [40] It's clean and well-located, but a little on the expensive side.
  • Tulip Hostel, +48 12 430 18 26, info@tuliphostel.pl, [41]. One of the best situated hostels in Krakow - 2 minutes by foot from the Main Market Square. Tulip has its own polish restaurant, and climatic pub in the cellars. Speep, eat, and have a drink in one place.
  • Atlantis Hostel, +48 12 421 08 61, atlantis@hostel.pl, [43]. Isn't the Hilton, but cheap, clean, nice and friendly!
  • Mundo Hostel, tel. (+48)124226113 Email: office@mundohostel.eu, [44]. Located just between Old Town and the Jewish City. Spacious, themed rooms (mainly double ones). Clean and modern.
  • Blue Hostel, [45] +48 12 429 59 34 biuro@bluehostel.pl. Just a four minute walk from the Main Market Square and six minute walk from the railway station. Cozy and homely atmosphere, but aimed more towards the polish than international tourists.
  • Dizzy Daisy, [46]. The best Polish hostel network. Few locations in Krakow (some summer only). 2-10 person per room. 40-80PLN/person.
  • Hostel Premium [47], tel: 0048 12 292 22 11, email: premium@premiumhostel.pl. Hotel quality for hostel price (as low as 30pl pppn). Rooms for 2-4 and dorms for up to 8 people. All with ensuite facilities, all with TV, SAT, and internet connection (cable or wi-fi). 15 min straight-line walk to Main Square and directly on the main City Tram routes to the Old Town and station.
  • Hostel Rynek7 [48], tel. (+48) 12 4311698 email: hostel@hostelrynek7.pl. The best location in Krakow - the Main Square. View on the market square from every window!
  • Dodo Hostel Krakow, [49], tel. (+48)12 6337523 email: book@dodohostel.com. Dodo Hostel - Krakow hostel made by Krakow students.
  • Flamingo Hostel, [50], tel. (+48)124220000 Email: office@flamingo-hostel.com. Flamingo Hostel in Kraków with the best location in town, only 20 m away from the famous Main Square, the largest open square in Europe.
  • Cybulskiego Guest Rooms, ul. Cybulskiego 6 Tel: +48 (12) 423 05 32 Email: psamolot@hotmail.com, [52]. Near downtown, nice place.
  • Mama's Hostel, [53], Rooms 6, 8, and 10 person/room. There's a lot of choice in Krakow but this one really signs out as being the best from travellers. 2 mins from main square, free breakfast, www, etc. Great place!
  • Sky Hostel, [54], excellent location — only 2 minute walk from the Old Town.
  • Nathan's Villa [55]. Brilliant hostel — great location, bar, internet, laundry, pool, films, BBQ. This is the best accommodation you'll find in Krakow!
  • Family Hostel [56], perfect location, each room has a bathroom and mini-kitchen include, rooms for 1,2,3,4 people.
  • Travellers Inn Hostel and Private Rooms in Krakow, Sarego 24, 31-047 Krakow, tel. +48 12 4294723 info@travellelrsinn.pl, [57]. Offers an affordable accommodation for backpackers in the center of Krakow.
  • DJ Hostel, [59] ul. Rakowicka 12, tel. +48 12 430 34 79. Rooms with 2-8 beds, very good price, near the main train station (dworzec głowny). Very nice and helpful owner.
  • Backpackers Hostel Bursa Jagiellonska, [60] tel +48 12 6561266 info@bursa.krakow.pl Budget accommodation for individual tourists, school, and pilgrim groups. Check our group offer!
  • International Youth Hostel
  • Hostel.pl, [63] — An internet portal that hosts a collection of offers from Polish hostels. Offer for Krakow includes four hostels and an apartment — from places for demanding tourists to those offering accommodation for every budget. The offers range from hostels ideal for youth groups to buildings of hotel standards with washrooms, internet, and TV's in the private rooms."
  • Hotel System POP Hotel System POP, ul. J. Conrada 35, 31-357 Krakow, Poland Tel: +48 12 290 80 00 [64]
  • Tuttie-Frutti Hostel Some people rave about this place, but it isn't all it makes out to be. If you get a lower dorm, expect A LOT of noise until gone midnight as reception is directly outside the door of your dorm, as are the bathrooms! Perfect location on Florianska, but expensive for what you actually get and popular with late-night revellers. Definately not for "early-night" travellers.
  • Jagiellonian University Youth Accommodation Centre [65] tel +48 12 6561266 info@bursa.krakow.pl. Website for pilgrim groups travelling to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Krakow. Information about sanctuaries and other churches in Krakow, Poland and Europe. Complete accommodation offer and other services for pilgrims.
  • NF Hostel,+48124227766,recepcja@nfhostel.pl, Website[66], We warmly invite you to our Hostel! We have free WiFi Internet, breakfast and TV is included in our price of accommodation.

Mid-range

Krakow provides a wide range of accommodation. However, it is highly recommended to stay in self-catering tourist apartments run by hospitable owners.

Krakow offers a large number of two and three star hotels, priced at €25-40 per night. Be sure to look out for hotels that are located in centrum (city center) or przy centrum (near the city center). The most expensive of these hotels are actually in the Old Town proper.

  • Hotel Batory [67] — Three star hotel located downtown Krakow, just minutes from the Old Town, train, and railway stations, as well as, main shopping centers. Batory is known for its ambiance and family atmosphere.
  • Hotel Florian [68] — Three star hotel located downtown Krakow. Hotel is famous for its services, atmosphere, and hospitality. Ul Czerwonego Prądnika 19 tel. +48 12 413 62 62 tel +48 12 413 37 37.
  • Hotel Logos [69] — Is a cozy and elegant hotel of three star category with location in the center of the Krakow - Old Town recommended by the Polish Hotel Association. Logos is known for its excellent food and wide range of extra services.
  • Hotel Poleski [70] - On the other side of the Vistula, with a frontal view of Wawel Hill, a modernly fitted hotel with friendly and helpfull staff. Ulica Sandomierska 6.
  • Tango House Bed & Breakfast [71]. Mid-range priced, but elegant bed and breakfast with tango theme located just around from the Main Market Square on Szpitalna Street. Very friendly staff and modern bathrooms, free wi-fi.
  • Accession Bed&Breakfast [72], Ul Garncarska 8. tel +4812 37 93 557. Located on the first floor of a turn-of-the-century Krakow townhouse within between 10 minutes walking distance of Krakow's main tourist attractions.
  • Witek Hotel & Conference Centre [73] tel. (+48) 66 23 500, recepcja@hotelwitek.com.pl you can find this hotel on the outskirts of the city of Krakow, in the picturesque surroundings of the Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic Upland. That provides comfort and enjoyable atmosphere for all guests : individual and business companies, as well as traveling groups. Hotel is only 6km away from the Krakow`s Airport and just 8km from the heart of the Old Town.
  • Qubus Hotel Krakow, Nadwislanska 6, [74]. Four-star hotel located in the city centre, in a vicinity of a historical district Kazimierz. The hotel offers interesting forms of activity and relaxing: finnish sauna, jacuzzi, steam bath and fitness centre with a swimming pool.
  • Hotel Copernicus, Kanonicza 16, [75]. Tucked away on one of Krakow's most beautiful streets, Kanonicza. If you're looking for an authentic European feel, while maintaining a five star experience, this is the place.
  • Ostoya Palace Hotel, Pilsudskiego 24, [76]. A newly opened four star in a 19th century mansion about 5-10 minutes walk from Rynek Główny. The rooms are beautifully furnished in pastel colors with custom-made furniture. If possible get a ground or first floor room; the second floor rooms (while still very nicely apportioned) have skylights rather than windows. Staff are very friendly and helpful; the buffet breakfast is also good, with tasty pastries, cheese and ham, and proper coffee.
  • Radisson SAS, Straszewskiego 17, [77]. An excellent location, literally three minutes away from Rynek Główny.
  • The Sheraton Krakow, owiśle 7, [78]. A five star hotel located right on the Vistula river with a great view of the Wawel castle.
  • Hotel Wentzl, Rynek Główny 19, [79]. Is one of the best known high class hotels in Krakow and the only one located right on Rynek Główny. Set in a 15th century house, John Wentzl opened the Wentzl restaurant in this building in 1792.
  • Apartments Krakow Informer [80], street Kochanowskiego. tel +48 692 335 366. Apartments in centre of Krakow, about 5 min walk from the Main Market Square. Price for 2 person €30-45. All apartments are modern, clean and offer more space than you would find in a hotel at the same price.
  • Apartments Indalo [81], street Tarlowska. tel +48 12 431 00 91, +48 501 088 434. Apartments in centre of Krakow, about 5 min walk from the Main Market Square. Price for 2 person €30-45. Not only affordable, but also quiet and comfortable. Indalo also has a cafe and gallery.
  • Apartments u Zeweckiego [82], street Szlak, Radziwillowska, Arianska. tel +48 12 429 55 96, +48 602 819 644. Apartments in the near the centre of Krakow, about 5-14 min walk from the Main Market Square. Price for 2 person €30-45.
  • Krakow apartments, +48 504 941 759, [83], [84]. Apartments in Main Market Square.
  • P&J Apartments Krakow [85], ul. Floriańska 39. tel +48 12 431 00 26, +48 (0) 609 880 208, info@apartmentskrakow.eu. Self-contained apartments situated in the Old Town.

Stay safe

Scams

A recent scam is for two attractive women (not Polish) to walk up to men in Rynek Główny or surrounding streets and ask for directions to a particular street or square. If you respond "I don't know" they will ask you if you have a map, introduce themselves and say "will you join us for a drink?" They will then lead you to a nearby nightclub where you will be presented with a huge bar bill for ordering just a handful of drinks. Several bars/clubs on ul. św. Tomasza, ul. Sławkowska, Floriańska and św. Marka have been linked to this scam [86].

Cope

Consulates

Some of these are only honorary consulates which do not provide any services for travelers.

  • Austria, ul. Cebulskiego 9, 012/4249940.
  • Denmark, ul. sw. Anny 5, 012/4217120.
  • France, ul. Stolarska 15, 012/4245300. (full consulate)
  • Germany, ul. Stolarska 7, 012/4243000. (full consulate)
  • Hungary, ul. sw. Marka 7/9, 012/4225657.
  • Italy, ul. Wenecja 3, 012/4292921.
  • Lithuania, ul. Chlopieckiego 10, 012/4136518.
  • Norway, ul. Mazowiecka 2, 012/6330376.
  • Russia, ul. Biskupia 7, 012/4222647.
  • Slovakia, ul. sw. Tomasza 34, 012/4254970.
  • Ukraine, ul. Krakowska 41, 012/4296066. (full consulate)
  • USA, ul. Stolarska 9, 012/4245100. (full consulate)
  • UK, ul. sw. Anny 9, 012/4217030. (honorary consulate)

Maps

Getting around Krakow is much easier if you have a map. Maps can be purchased at most bookstores and gas stations. Smaller, free maps of the Old Town and Kazimierz can be found in any tourist information point and at some hotels.

Train Awareness

Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies are on the increase between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you, maintain common sense.

Entrance to Auschwitz
Entrance to Auschwitz

Leave a whole day for this if you want to go. The Auschwitz camp and the much bigger Birkenau camp are a few kilometres apart. If you want to have a private tour you can try this company [87].Frequent and inexpensive buses from the main bus station, or trains approximately every two hours from the adjacent railway station. Organised tours are mostly 100 to 130 PLN per head. The train ride is 22 PLN per head for a return ticket, and the entrance to Auschwitz is free of charge. The only thing you need to pay for is the guide. There is no entrance fee for the Birkenau camp.

Proper Auschwitz-Birkenau tours are made with [88]. Many hotels and travel agents in Krakow, as well as the Galicja Museum in Kazimierz can direct you to hassle-free coach tours to the former camp.


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Krakow

  1. Alternative spelling of Cracow.

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