Krakow is Poland’s prime tourist attraction, a must with few equals in the entire Central and Eastern Europe. The place has been settled since the Stone Age at least. In 1038 Krakow became the capital of Poland and Polish monarchs took up their residence in its Wawel Royal Castle. The Old Town historical district in Krakow’s heart is actually the medieval city established in 1257 by Prince Boleslav V, the ruler of Poland at the time. Its well preserved original grid of streets with the huge central Grand Square, Europe’s largest in the Middle Ages, seems the last stage in the perfection of medieval city planning. It is also the best example of that art.
In its long history Krakow underwent many ups and downs. The proud capital city of a mighty kingdom for centuries, it was turned into a sleepy borderland town of the Austrian empire in the 19th century. Then it became a vital center of Polish national awakening at the turn of the 20th century and the cradle of Poland’s rebirth, only to be reduced to backwater under communism.

Now Krakow is nearly a million city ripe for restoration to European status. And the beautiful Old Town area remains its vibrant hub with numerous landmarks, museums, art galleries, music venues, theaters, university colleges, etc. on top of myriad boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

UNESCO entered the whole of Krakow's Old Town in the list of the world cultural heritage.


Krakow is Poland’s capital of culture. The city boasts the best museums in the country and some best theaters. It counts two Nobel Prize winners in literature among its residents. It is also home to one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished universities. No wonder Krakow was named a European City of Culture in 2000.

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