KRAKOW Jewel in the crown and modern culture
A city of ancient walls, history, countless museums, theatres and excellent pubs. The history of Karkow constitutes the longest continued history of a municipal area in Poland.
Once the city was the capital of Poland, and now is perceived as the cultural pivot of Poland.
Allow the city to enchant you: sit in the Market Square, have a cup of coffee and a donut with rose jam filling or a Cracovian bajgel (bagel), feed the pigeons or take the carriage ride.
Krakow is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cities of Poland and Europe. For over a thousand years, it has been a centre of polish science, culture and art. Krakow survived the destruction of World War II, which enabled the Old Town to preserve its former glory. The Old Town is a major historical complex in Poland, entered the UNESCO World Heritage List. However Krakow is not only monuments and museums. Krakow is also a vibrant, progressive city, with a full cultural programme of music, film and theatre. The city teems with life, scores of pubs, clubs and restaurants where everyone can find something of their liking.
MAIN MARKET SQUARE – the biggest mediaeval market square in Europe. A place of unique historical, cultural and social importance. It teems with life throughout the years, is a place of significant events, a meeting place and starting point of countless tourists. Listed by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage List.
WAWEL – once the seat of duke, and later of Polish kings. An integral part of the Wawel complex is the Cathedral with the renaissance Zygmunt (Sigmund’s) chapel and the Zygmunt bell. Built of the beginning of the 16th century, the Wawel Royal Castle holds an invaluable collection of national memorabilia. Listed by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage List.
CZARTORYSKI FAMILY MUSEUM – one of the oldest museums in Poland. It is here that you may see Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with Ermine.
COLLEGIUM MAIUS – the oldest building of the Krakow Academy, now the museum of the Jagiellonian University.
KAZIMIERZ – former Jewish district, Europe’s larger centre of Jewish religion, science and culture before World War II. Today, you may admire the synagogues (Old Synagogue, Remu’h Synagogue, Isaac Synagogue), tenement houses and reminders of defence walls that survived war atrocities. The district is currently flourishing and has become an important social and cultural centre.
JOHN PAUL II’S ROUTE – there is a tourist route in Krakow called “Fallowing John Paull’s footsteps”. It includes 20 places related to the life of Karol Wojtyła as a student of Polish philology, worker, actor, poet seminarian, priest, bishop and the head of the Catholic Church.
WIELICZKA – rock salt mine with Europe’s unique 3,5km-long tourist route where you may admire an amazing underground world with chapels, lakes, old mining equipment and salt sculptures. Listed by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage List.
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU – Europe’s largest German Nazi concentration camp from World War II. Listed by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage List.
WADOWICE – 50km from Krakow there is a town where Pope John Paul II was born and spent his youth. His childhood home is now a museum, while the Market Place features a 15th – century church where the Pope was baptised.
PIESKOWA SKAŁA CASTLE – one of the most beautiful Renaissance castle build of stone in the 14th century. Now it houses the Museum of Art. Near the castle, you may see a rock 18 metres high of an odd shape, called the Hercules’ Club.
- KRAKOW CITY TOUR – /duration 4 hrs/ English, German, French speaking guide
Route: the Old Town, a brief visit to the old Jewish district of Kazimierz, Wawel Hill, over which tower the Royal Palace with the famous Gothic cathedral. After visiting the Cathedral and the Royal Chambers, we will go to the oldest university college – the Collegium Maius, with a beautiful Gothic courtyard, to finish the tour in the heart of Kraków – the Main Market Square – the largest medieval square in Europe with St. Mary’s Church – a soaring, Gothic church inside which you can admire the impressive altar by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss).
- WIELICZKA SALT MINE – /duration 4 hrs/ English, German, Italian, Spanish speaking guide
The tourist route in the Salt Mine, is almost 3 km long and consist of winding corridors, 800 steps and a descend to a depth of 135 metres underground. It begins at the Daniłowicz Shaft, where the visitors meet their guide. Going down deeper and deeper, the visitors will see unusual places, take pleasure in watching the light spectacle on the banks of one of the saline lakes, and learn the famous legend of Princess Kinga. In the middle of the route there is St. Kinga’s Chapel, decorated with extraordinary salt artworks. leaving the mine in a lift after the tour is include in the price.
- AUSHWITZ – BIRKENAU – /duration 8 hrs/ English, German, Italian, Spanish speaking guide
The tour of the Museum, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978, comprises both parts of the former concentration camp – Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau – and a documentary film presenting the first moments after the camp was liberated.
- JEWISH CULTURE ROUTE – /duration 4 hrs/ English speaking guide
Route: a tour around Kazimierz – the former Jewish district, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978, became an even more recognisable landmark in Europe following the release of the famous “Schindler’s List”. A display in the Schindler’s Factory Museum will complement the information, which is the story of Kraków and the fate of the Polish and Jewish population during World War II.
- COMMUNISM TOUR – /duration 2,30 hrs/ English speaking guide
Route: Nowa Huta, a communist paradise city that doubled as a fortress prepared to defend citizens against attacks on the Soviet Bloc from the West. It is there where you have a unique opportunity to see modern houses and squares constructed in accordance with plans by Leonardo da Vinci, feel the taste of vodka with herring, admire the size of the Steelworks complex, or visit Lord’s Ark Church, a symbol of freedom. During the tour we will tell you about the realities of everyday life in communist Poland, showing at the same time the most important places connected with what was our present until recently, and now belongs to the past.
- IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JOHN PAUL II – /duration 5,30 hrs/ English, German, Italian, Spanish speaking guide
Route: tour begins with a visit to Wadowice, the places Karol Wojtyla held dearest in his childhood and youth, including the parish church where he was baptized, and the house where he was born, which is now a museum. Our trip to and back from Wadowice will also allow you to see the peaks of the Pope’s favourite Beskidy Range.
After returning to Kraków we will visit the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Łagiewniki. In this growing centre of pilgrimage you can pay homage to the relics of St. Faustina Kowalska, canonized as the first saint of the Third Millennium by Pope John Paul II, and admire the impressive modern basilica, consecrated by the Pope in 2002. There you can also find the “Have No Fear!” John Paul II Centre – a centre in Kraków dedicated to the life and work of Pope John Paul II. We will end our journey at the Archbishop’s Palace – Karol Wojtyla’s last place of residence before he went to the Vatican in 1978. There you can see the famous “papal window”, in which John Paul II used to appear to talk and sing with the youth during all his visits, and where thousands of people were praying, holding candles, in his last days.
JOHN PAUL II INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT KRAKOW-BALICE – 11 km from the Krakow city centrum
KATOWICE-PYRZOWICE AIRPORT –50 km from the Krakow city centrum
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