Krakow Journals

Little Poland, Big Time

A January 2001 trip to Krakow by Hajo

Quote: Krakow is the capital of the region of Malopolska (Little Poland). This picturesque medieval city does not need to fear comparisons with major Eastern European highlights such as Prague or Budapest. Krakow has fully maintained its laid back, laisser-faire mentality. This is a place to chill and enjoy.

Little Poland, Big Time

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Overview

Quote:
Krakow has twice carried the title of "Cultural Capital of Europe", in 1992 and 2000 respectively. And many artists and intellectuals, to whom Krakow has always been the preferred domicile, may secretly wish for a return of the year 1038, when Krakow became Poland's official capital. Krakow owes much of its liberal lifestyle to Austrian occupation - between 1846 and 1918 Krakow and the Province of Galicia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And like in the Austrian capital Vienna, everything seems to happen a little bit slower in Krakow. Krakow has enough sights and attractions to fill two weeks of holidays, but a weekend trip seems a sensible app...Read More

Forum Hotel

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Hotel

Quote:
Before the arrival of Holiday Inn, the Sofitel Forum was the only international business hotel in Krakow. Sofitel in 2001 acquired many of the former Inter-Continental and Forum Hotels in Eastern Europe, including this one. It is rated at four stars, which I think is unjustified. The rooms in the Forum Hotel are still quite old-fashioned and have something of the atmosphere of ex-Soviet Intourist Hotels. But most rooms offer a nice view across the Vistula river to Wawel Castle, and the service is very friendly and attentive, as everywhere in Krakow. The Forum is situated on the opposite side of the river, a fifteen minutes drive away from the city centre. Prices start at around ($100) per room...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Forum Hotel
28 Ul. Marii Konopnickiej
Krakow, Poland

Quote:
The Wierzynek is the most famous restaurant in town. It was already feeding visiting aristocrats back in the 14th century. I have twice had a business dinner here, and it was good, but not as good as to justify the high prices, which equal those in the major western European cities. However, the grilled wild boar is one of the specialties which I would recommend trying here. Despite the quality of the food which is only slightly above average, the service is absolutely outstanding. The waiters are extremely well trained and attentive, if just a bit to formal. In any case, the Wierzynek exudes the kind of prestigious atmosphere which you would like to accompany a classy can...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Restauracja Wierzynek
Rynek Glowny 15
Krakow, Poland 31-008
+48 (12) 424-9600

Cloth Hall/Sukiennice

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Attraction | "Sukienice"

Quote:
Sukienice, the old cloth market, is the market hall at the center of Rynek Glowny, the Market Square. Around 100 meters long and built over two levels, Sukienice is an outstanding building at the center of Krakow both architecturally and shopping-wise. Nowadays, at this old cloth market any type of cloth is being sold. It is particularly good for buying handmade wood works. The bestsellers are chess boards and sets, anywhere from 50 Zloty ($13) to 500, which can sell for five times that price back home. When I bought my first handmade chess board here, everybody at home liked it so much that I have to buy more every time I return to Krakow and its old market. Besi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 21, 2002

Cloth Hall/Sukiennice
Main Market Square 3
Krakow, Poland 31-042
+48 12 422 1166

Ulica Florianska

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Attraction | "Uliza Florianska"

Quote:
The best choices for original Krakow food and nightlife are to be found on Uliza Florianska, the street which links the market square with Brama Florianska, the Florian Gate. Here you will find the traditional cellar bars, almost all of which are a great experience. These bars are called Kneipe, a German word which has remained from the time of the Austrian occupation in the 19th century. At this time, the previously empty cellars were turned into cafes, restaurants and bars, and much of today's Krakow lifestyle took shape. The original Galician food can best be enjoyed in the Kneipe cellars, at very low prices. Many of them have separate restaurant...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 21, 2002

Ulica Florianska
Ulica Florianska
Krakow, Poland 31-019

Market Square (Rynek Glowny)

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Attraction | "Rynek Glowny (Market Square)"

Quote:
The Market Square dates back to the 13th Century. At 200 meters square, it is Europe's second largest medieval square - only the Piazza San Marco in Venice is bigger. Rynek Glowny is a wonderful place to explore, shop, and relax. At the center of the square is the 100 meter-long Sukienice (cloth market), which nowadays is a market hall for all kinds of handicrafts and antiques from the region of Galicia. But much more than just a shopping place, Sukienice combines neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance styles in its marvelous architecture. The upper floor has been turned into an art gallery. In the summer months, street cafés are set up around Sukienice and a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Market Square (Rynek Glowny)
At The Center Of The Old Town
Krakow, Poland

Kazimierz (Jewish Quarter)

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Attraction

Quote:
Christian and Jewish history go hand in hand in Krakow. This is best symbolized by Kosciol Bozego Ciala, the Church of Corpus Domini, a Gothic church with rich gold- plated Baroque ornaments on the inside, which stands right in the middle of the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz. At a time when Jews were accused of having brought the Plague to Western Europe in the 14th century, Casimir the Great invited them to Poland and Kazimierz became one of the largest Jewish settlements in Eastern Europe. Seven synagogues have remained throughout that time. Like all of old Krakow, they only survived destruction by a hair's breadth. When the Red Army freed Krakow in 1945, the whole to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Kazimierz (Jewish Quarter)
Dajwór 18
Krakow, Poland

Wawel Hill, Castle and Cathedral

Attraction | "Wawel Castle"

Quote:
What you can see today of Wawel Castle is actually the third version. A Romanesque castle was first built here in the 11th century, and replaced by Casimir the Great with a Gothic construction in the 14th century, of which only one tower, the so-called Chicken's Foot, Kurza Stopka, has remained. Today's version dates from the 16th century, and is mainly Renaissance in style. The most picturesque part of the castle is the Courtyard. On two sides it is surrounded by beautiful arcades, with three levels of arches and a graceful staircase. On the other two sides of the yard, the Renaissance wings of the castle and some guest houses are ranged, fully covered by iv...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Wawel Hill, Castle and Cathedral
Wawel 5
Kraków, Poland 31-001
(+48 12) 422 51 55

Wawel Hill, Castle and Cathedral

Attraction | "Wawel Cathedral"

Quote:
Wawel Cathedral is among the most beautiful I have seen outside Rome. Beginning with the outside, it offers ever new views if you just walk a few meters around it. Many side chapels have been added since the original construction in the 14th century. Most of these chapels have copper domes, but the most beautiful - Kaplica Zygmuntowska, the King Sigismund Chapel - has a dome fully plated with gold leaves. Between these domes rise several small and big towers and the triangular gothic facades of the side ship. The inside of the cathedral is a dream in blue, gold, black and white. At the center of the crossing stands a huge baldachin, i.e. an altar with its own roof o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2002

Wawel Hill, Castle and Cathedral
Wawel 5
Kraków, Poland 31-001
(+48 12) 422 51 55

About the Writer

Hajo

Hajo
Witten, Germany

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