Krakow is Poland’s second largest city and dates back to the 7th century. It was Poland’s capital between the 11th and mid 16th century, has a rich cultural heritage, and an extensive mix of beautiful baroque, gothic and renaissance architecture. No wonder it is often said to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
克拉科夫是波蘭第二大城市，在11世紀至16世紀曾經是波蘭首都。 市內擁有深厚文化色彩， 和多年來建的不同風格如巴洛克，復興年代，及哥德式建築物。很多人說克拉科夫是歐洲其中一個最美的城市， 絕對沒有錯。 市中心的中央市集廣場是舊城區遊客必到的地方。 著名景點與聖母聖殿，及紡織會館都在這裏。 舊城區以北是中世紀時代老城腦區的其中一個主要入口。 現在剩下一座哥德式的中世紀外堡和聖福里安門塔樓供遊人參觀。
If you’re one of the lucky ones who are planning to go to Krakow, here’s an overview of what you can expect to see. All these photos were taken on a my previous trip back in 2011. It was some years ago, but if the city has stood the test of time for so many centuries, I doubt it would have changed much since my last visit.
THE OLD TOWN
Like most other European old cities, Krakow has a main square in the middle of town, which in fact is one of the oldest medieval squares in Europe. It’s a very busy square with quite a few famous landmarks clustered around here. This is one side of the square, with the St Mary Basilica in the backgroud. I spent quite some here, not because I’m religious at all, but because I do like the calm and peace of churches. Actually,the other reason I spent so much time here was because it was rather hot outside!!! Anyway, truth to be told, this is a beautiful gothic style church that deserves people’s time and attention, particularly the wooden alterpiece which is the world’s largest gothic alterpiece, and Poland’s national treasure.
In the middle of the square is the Cloth Hall, this used to be the main trade center back in the 15th to 16th century during Krakow’s heydays till the capital moved to Warsaw in the 16th century. During the few days I was in town, the area was always very busy whenever I walked past. I particularly like this street performer making these big bubbles and all the kids trying to burst it as soon as it was formed, I felt so sorry for him. In the end, the guy had to keep on raising his arms as high as possible to keep the bubbles out of the kids’ reach.
If you look at the map of the Old Town you’ll see that it’s surrounded by a green belt, in the medieval days there used to be a wall around the city. Today, you can visit the Barbican which was built in 1498 and used to be part of the medieval city wall. This is probably my favorite structure, as I think its quite Disney World. Funny enough, the outside looks quite hugh, but on the inside its rather compact and cosy.
Nearby the Barbican is the St Florian’s Gate. Both the Barbican and the St Florian’s Gate forms the access into the Old Town in the medieval days so were of significant importance back then. Nowadays, you can climb up to the balcony of the Gate and get a great view of the main street that leads down to the Old Town and the St Mary’s Basilica.
I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of Krakow city and the photos which I took whilst I was in Krakow. If you do head out there, do let me know if you enjoyed it and if anything has changed!