Tag: Krakow

Tag: Krakow

Things to do in Krakow

Anyone who has spent even a few days in Krakow, Poland knows how much the city has to offer. Many tourists leave the city with the majority of her treasures left undiscovered. There simply isn’t enough time to cover them all. If you are in Krakow for a limited time, then below you will find our recommendations for things to do in Krakow and places that you should visit.

Ideas

  • 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.
  • See a bit of Unesco World Heritage and do Auschwitz and Salt mine tours.

Town Hall Tower

Town Hall Tower is one of the main focal points of the Main Market Square in the Old Town district of Krakow. The Tower is the only remaining part of the old Town Hall demolished in 1820 as part of the city plan to open up the Main Square. Its cellars once housed a city prison with a Medieval torture chamber. Built of stone and brick at the end of the 13th century, the massive Gothic tower of the early Town Hall stands 70 meters tall and leans just 55 centimeters, the result of a wind storm in 1703. The top floor of the tower with an observation deck is open to visitors.

Churches of Krakow

The metropolitan city of Krakow, former capital of Poland, is known as the city of churches. The abundance of landmark, historic Roman Catholic churches along with the plenitude of monasteries and convents earned the city a countrywide reputation as the “Northern Rome” in the past. The churches of Krakow comprise over 120 Roman Catholic places of worship, of which over 60 were built in the 20th century. They remain the centers of religious life for the local population and are attended regularly.

Krakow Barbican

The Krakow Barbican is a fortified outpost and gateway leading into Krakow’s Old Town. It is one of the few remaining relics of the complex network of fortifications and defensive barriers that once encircled the city. It currently serves as a tourist attraction and venue for many multidisciplinary exhibitions. Based on Arabic rather than European defensive architecture, this masterpiece of medieval military engineering, with its circular fortress, was added to the city’s fortifications along the coronation route in the late 15th century.

Church of St. Casimir the Prince

The Church of St. Casimir the Prince with the adjacent Franciscan monastery and the catacombs is located at ul. Reformacka 4 in the Old Town district (Stare Miasto). Members of the Catholic Order of Franciscans known as “Little Brothers” arrived in Krakow in 1622 and settled at the outskirts of the town in Garbary (1625). Their church was completed in 1640 thanks to a donation from Zuzanna Amendówna, bequeathed around 1644 along with the miracle painting of Madonna displayed today at the side altar of the new church.

Krakow Old Town

Krakow Old Town is the central, historic district of Krakow, Poland. It is the most prominent example of an Old Town in the country, because for many centuries, Krakow was the royal capital of Poland, until Sigismund III Vasa relocated the court to Warsaw in 1596. Krakow’s historic center was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1978. Medieval Krakow was surrounded by a 1.9 mile (3 km) defensive wall complete with 46 towers and seven main entrances leading through them. The fortifications around the Old Town were erected over the course of two centuries. Today the Old Town attracts visitors from all over the World and should definitely be on your things to do in Krakow list.

Sukiennice

The Renaissance Sukiennice (Cloth Hall, Drapers’ Hall) in Krakow is one of the city’s most recognisable icons. It was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, Sukiennice was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the East – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Krakow itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The Hall has hosted countless distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries.

Main Market Square

The Main Market Square in Krakow is the main square of the Old Town and a principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century and at roughly 40,000sq m (430,000sq ft) it is the largest medieval town square in Europe. The center of the square is dominated by the cloth hall Sukiennice, rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, topped by a beautiful attic or Polish parapet decorated with carved masks.

Royal Road

The Royal Road or Royal Route in Krakow begins at the northern end of the medieval Old Town and continues south through the center of town towards the Wawel Hill, where the old kings’ residence, the Wawel Castle is located. The Royal Road passes some of the most prominent historic landmarks of Poland’s royal capital, providing suitable background to coronation processions and parades, the kings’ and princes’ receptions, foreign envoys and guests of distinction traveling from a far country to their destination at Wawel. The Royal Road starts outside the northern flank of the old city walls in the medieval suburb of Kleparz, now a central district of Krakow.

Polish culture

From religion to Hip Hop

Polish culture is closely connected with its intricate 1000 year history & Kraków is considered by many to be the cultural capital of Poland. On this page, we provide a very brief introduction to Polish culture so that you can better understand the locals.

Krakow

Krakow has some of the best museums in the country and several famous theaters. It became the residence of two Polish Nobel laureates in literature: Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz, while a third Nobel laureate, the Yugoslav writer Ivo Andric also lived and studied there. It is also a home to one of the world’s oldest universities, the Jagiellonian University of Kraków.

Etiquette

Some men, particularly older men, may kiss a woman’s hand when greeting or saying goodbye. Kissing a woman’s hand is considered to be chivalrous, but you will not go wrong shaking hands. For a more heartfelt greeting or goodbye, close friends of either sex will kiss three times, alternating cheeks.

A fairly common practice is for people to greet each other with a dzień dobry (good day) when entering elevators, or at the very least, saying do widzenia (good bye) when exiting the elevator. It is usual to bring a gift when invited to someone’s home. Flowers are always a good choice. Florists’ kiosks are ubiquitous; be sure to get an odd number of flowers, as an even number is associated with funerals.

It is customary to hold doors and chairs for women. Poles are generally old-fashioned about gender etiquette. Men should not wear hats indoors, in particular when entering a church. Most restaurants, museums, and other public buildings have a cloakroom, and people are expected to leave bags and outerwear there.

It is advisable to refer to Poland (as well as to some other countries like Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Hungary) as Central Europe, and not Eastern Europe. Although not very offensive, if used, it may reflect foreigners’ ignorance and certain disrespect on the history and clearly Latin cultural heritage of the countries from the region. Poles themselves refer to the “old” EU west of its borders as “Zachód” (West) and to the states created after the break-up of the USSR as “Wschód” (East). Geographically this is borne out by drawing a line from the tip of Norway to Greece and from the Urals to the coast of Portugal. For better or worse, Poland remains at the cross-roads of Europe, right in the continent’s center.

Religion

A big and important part of Polish culture is religion.

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.

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.

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is a holy icon of the Virgin Mary, that is both Poland’s holiest relic and one of the country’s national symbols.

Because of the Black Madonna, Częstochowa is regarded as the most popular shrine in Poland, with many Polish Catholics making a pilgrimage there every year. Often, people will line up on the side of the road to hand provisions to the pilgrims as those who walk the distance to Częstochowa walk the entire day and have little means to get things for themselves.

Regular stores are closed during main religious holidays (25th & 26th of December, Easter Sunday, and Monday), other holidays may mean shorter working hours.

Customs

Dialog and the interpenetration of cultures have been a major characteristic of Polish culture & tradition for centuries. Customs, manners, and style of clothing have reflected the influences of East and West.

The traditional costumes worn by the nobility in the 16th and 17th centuries were inspired by rich Eastern ornamental style with its Islamic influences. The style of clothing is called Goral (Pronounced GOO-RAL).

Polish cuisine is yet another aspect of Poland’s cultural identity. Distinctive Polish foods include kielbasa, pierogi (pierozki), pyzy (meat-filled dough balls), kopytka, golabki (pronounced Go-waunm-b-ki), sledzie (sh-ledje-eh), bigos, kotlety (schabowy and mielony) and much more.

Architecture

Polish cities and towns reflect the whole spectrum of European styles. Poland’s Eastern frontiers used to mark the outermost boundary of the influences of Western architecture on the continent.

History has not been good to Poland’s architectural monuments. However, a number of ancient structures have survived: castles, churches, and stately buildings, often unique in the regional or European context. Some of them have been painstakingly restored, like Wawel Castle, or completely reconstructed after being destroyed in the Second World War, including the Old Town and Royal Castle in Warsaw, as well as the Old Towns of Gdansk and Wroclaw.

The centre of Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula is a good example of a well-preserved medieval town. Poland’s ancient capital, Krakow, ranks among the best-preserved Gothic and Renaissance urban complexes in Europe. Meanwhile, the legacy of the Kresy Marchlands of Poland’s eastern regions with Wilno and Lwow (now Vilnius and Lviv) as two major centres for the arts, played a special role in these developments with Roman-Catholic church architecture deserving special attention.

In Vilnius (Lithuania) there are about 40 baroque and Renaissance churches. In Lviv (Ukraine) there are Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque urban complexes with influences of the orthodox and Armenian church.

Music

The music of Poland has a long history. Fryderyk Chopin, inspired by Polish tradition and folklore, conveys the quintessence of Romanticism. Since 1927, the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition has been held every five years in Warsaw.

Polish classical music is also represented by composers like Karol Szymanowski, Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, Witold Lutoslawski, Wojciech Kilar, Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, and Krzysztof Penderecki – all of whom rank among the world’s most celebrated composers.

Contemporary Polish jazz with its special national flavour has fans and followers in many countries.

Artists from Poland, including famous composers like Chopin or Penderecki and traditional, regionalised folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music scene, which even recognises its own music genres, such as poezja śpiewana (sung poetry) and disco polo.

Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where rock and hip hop dominate over pop music, while all kinds of alternative music genres are encouraged.

Poland has always been a very open country to new music genres and even before the fall of communism, music styles like rock, metal, jazz, electronic, and New Wave were well-known. Since 1989, the Polish scene has exploded with new talents and a more diverse style.

Poland has a very active underground extreme metal music scene. Some of the bands that have heralded and helped the cause are Behemoth, Vader, Yattering, Decapitated, Indukti, Hate, and Lux Occulta. This has paved ground for a large underground movement.


Wieliczka Salt Mine Poland

World Heritage Site

If you are travelling to Krakow for dental treatment and have some time for tourism, then a visit to Wieliczka Salt Mine is highly recommended.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, lies within the Krakow metropolitan area. The mine continuously produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007 as one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines.

The mine’s attractions for tourists include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that have been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. About 1.2 million persons visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually.

Commercial mining was discontinued in 1996 due to low salt prices and mine flooding.

The Wieliczka salt mine reaches a depth of 327 meters and is over 300 km long. It features a 3.5-km touring route for visitors (less than 1% of the length of the mine’s passages) that includes historic statues and mythical figures.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Sculptures

The oldest sculptures were carved out of rock salt by miners; more recent figures have been fashioned by contemporary artists. Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. The rock salt is naturally grey in various shades, so that the carvings resemble unpolished granite rather than the white or crystalline look that many visitors expect. The carvings may appear white in the photos, but the actual carved figures are not white.

At the end of the tour, there is a large cathedral and reception room that can be reserved for private functions such as weddings or private parties. Also featured is a large chamber with walls carved to resemble wooden chapels built by miners in earlier centuries; an underground lake; and exhibits on the history of salt mining. The Wieliczka mine is often referred to as “the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland.” It also houses a private rehabilitation and wellness complex.

To get down to the 64-metre level of the mine, visitors must descend a wooden stairway of 378 steps. After the three-kilometer tour of the mine’s corridors, chapels, statues and lake, 135 metres underground, visitors take an elevator back up to the surface. The elevator holds 36 persons (nine per car) and takes some 30 seconds to reach the surface.

In 1978 the Wieliczka salt mine was placed on the original UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites.

Getting there

Getting to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow shouldn’t prove too difficult or expensive. Regular buses run from the top of Starowislna Street opposite the Main Post Office, taking around forty minutes to get there. Be warned that buses are a little cramped and we advise you check departure details at one of Krakow’s tourist information offices as these routes chop and change quite a bit. You’re best asking a friendly Pole where to get off too, as this is a public bus not a tourist service.

Dental tourism in Krakow

Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland and this supports a lot of the local economy. Kraków Airport (also known as John Paul II International Airport) is the main airport, located in Balice, about 12 km to the west of the centre. It is the second biggest airport in Poland. Krakow has many excellent dental clinics and dentists and is a very popular dental tourism destination – more information


Poland tourist guides

Dentists in Poland is sponsored by Love Poland who operate a group of Facebook pages dedicated to promoting the country.

From sailing to skiing to cycling, climbing, ecotourism, hiking, fishing, bird watchingcanoeing, camping & golf – there’s so many things that you can do in Poland and within our website, you will find lots of tourist information in addition to general info such as food, drink and culture.

In addition to this, you can find further information on the following Facebook pages:

Love Poland

Love Warsaw

In Love with Krakow

LoveGdansk Discover Poland

Many of the major cities in Poland boast lovely, ‘Old Towns’ with splendid architecture. Some are even World Heritage sites. Many old quarters were heavily damaged or even destroyed in WWII bombings. These have been meticulously rebuilt after the war, using the original bricks and ornaments where possible.

Although remains of the Soviet Union and even scars of the Second World War are visible in most of them, Polish cities offer great historic sight seeing opportunities. Cities such as Warsaw, Krakow & Gdansk have become modern, lively places popular with locals of all ages in addition to tourists.

Warsaw

The capital, Warsaw, has one of the best old centres and its many sights include the ancient city walls, palaces, churches and squares. You can follow the Royal Route to see some of the best landmarks outside the old centre.

Krakow

The old city of Kraków is considered the country’s cultural capital. It has a gorgeous historic centre, countless monumental buildings and a few excellent museums. Just 50 km from there is the humbling Auschwitz concentration camp. Due to the horrible events it represents, the camp leaves an impression like no other World Heritage Site does. The ancient Wieliczka Salt Mine, also a World Heritage Site, is another great day trip from Kraków.

Once a Hanseatic League town, the port city of Gdańsk boasts many impressive buildings from that time. Here too, a walk along the Royal Road gives a great overview of notable sights.

At Dentists in Poland, we focus on matching patients with the best dentists and dental clinics within the major cities in Poland. We currently help dental patients from the UK to find treatments in WarsawKrakow & Gdańsk; however we will be expanding into other cities soon.