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Things to do in Krakow
Things to do in Poland



Krakow


Kraków, written in English as Krakow and traditionally known as Cracow, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in Lesser Poland Province, the city dates back to the 7th century.[5] Krak√≥w was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world.

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 reported as a busy trading centre of Central Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Krakow reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of about 780,000, with approximately 8 million additional people living within a 100 km (62 mi) radius of its main square.

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, the newly defined Distrikt Krakau became the capital of Germany's General Government. The Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as the Krakow Ghetto, from which they were sent to German extermination camps such as the nearby Auschwitz, and the Nazi concentration camps like Plaszow. However, the city was spared from destruction and major bombing.

In 1978, Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II-the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Also that year, UNESCO approved Krakow's entire Old Town and historic centre as its first World Heritage List alongside Quito. Krakow is classified as a global city with the ranking of "high sufficiency" by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its extensive cultural heritage across the epochs of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture includes the Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Castle on the banks of the Vistula, the St. Mary's Basilica, Saints Peter and Paul Church and the largest medieval market square in Europe, the Rynek Glowny. Krakow is home to Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world and traditionally Poland's most reputable institution of higher learning.

In 2000, Krakow was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013, Kraków was officially approved as a UNESCO City of Literature. The city hosted the World Youth Day in July 2016.

Kraków was named the official European Capital of Culture for the year 2000 by the European Union. It is a major attraction for both local and international tourists, attracting nearly 13 million visitors a year. Major 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. Kraków has 28 museums and public art galleries. Among them is the Czartoryski Museum featuring works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt as well as the EUROPEUM - European Culture Centre and the Archaeological Museum of Kraków whose collection highlights include the Zbruch Idol and the Bronocice Pot.

Kraków's 28 museums are separated into the national and municipal museums; the city also has a number of art collections and public art galleries. The National Museum, established in 1879, as well as the National Art Collection on Wawel Hill, are all accessible to the general public and well patroned.

The National Art Collection is located at the Wawel, the former residence of three dynasties of Polish monarchs. Royal Chambers feature art, period furniture, Polish and European paintings, collectibles, and an unsurpassed display of the 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries. Wawel Treasury and Armoury features Polish royal memorabilia, jewels, applied art, and 15th to 18th-century arms. The Wawel Eastern Collection features Turkish tents and military accessories. The National Museum is the richest museum in the country with collections consisting of several hundred thousand items kept in big part in the Main Building at Ul. 3 Maja, although there are as many as eleven separate divisions of the museum in the city, one of the most popular being The Gallery of the 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice with the collection of some of the best known paintings and sculptures of the Young Poland movement. The latest division called Europeum with Brueghel among a hundred Western European paintings was inaugurated in 2013.

Other major museums of special interest in Kraków include the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (at M. Konopnickiej 26), Stanislaw Wyspianski Museum (at 11 Szczepanska St), Jan Matejko Manor in Krzeslawice, - a museum devoted to the master painter and his life, Emeryk Hutten Czapski Museum, and Józef Mehoffer Manor.

The Rynek Underground museum, under the main square, is an evocative modern display of Kraków's 1000+ years of history though its streets, activities and artifacts. This followed the massively extended excavations which started in a small way in 2005 and, as more and more was found, ran on eventually to 2010.

A half-an-hour tram-ride takes you to the little-heralded Polish Aviation Museum considered eighth world's best aviation museum by CNN and featuring over 200 aircraft including a Sopwith Camel among other First World War biplanes; a comprehensive display of aero engines; and essentially a complete collection of airplane types developed by Poland after 1945. Activities of small museums around Kraków and in the Lesser Poland region are promoted and supported by the Malopolska Institute of Culture; the Institute organises annual Malopolska Heritage Days.



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