Cracow, the former capital of Poland and seat of Polish kings, is not only a city with a thousand-year-old tradition but also an important European metropolis. Its Old Town is an extraordinary treasury of monuments representing almost all architectonic styles from middle ages until modern times, works of art and historical souvenirs.
Cracow Main Market Square, which is enlisted on the UNESCO list, attracts yearly millions of tourists. It is understandable – this spacious square, surrounded by historical townhouses, palaces and churches dates back to the 13th century. This place is the largest medieval town square in Europe. For 600 years, from the Gothic tower of St. Mary’s Basilica (which is known for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss) a trumpet signal – called the Hejnał mariacki – can be heard. It is played on every hour and breaks off in mid-stream to commemorate the 13th century trumpeter shot in the throat. Except for this, the centre of the square is dominated by the Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall), one of the most famous monuments in Poland. Furthermore, Cracow can be proud of the Wawel Castle, residence of Polish kings and nowadays a museum with 71 showrooms.
Except for the monuments of the Old Town, worth visiting is also Kazimierz – place of centuries-old coexistence of two cultures – Jewish and Christian ones. It is an area full of Judaism monuments of world meaning – but also an area vibrant with life, where antiquities and art fairs take place, and friendly restaurants offer live-played music. Another place worth seeing is Nowa Huta – the most interesting and the fullest realisation of socialist realist architects’ aims.
Cracow is known as an unofficial cultural capital of Poland. In year 2000 it was chosen as a European Capital of Culture. Each year at this place over 100 festivals and other cultural events are held. It is also a city of national art galleries and modern museums, where the visitors may interact with history. Furthermore, the city offers also famous theatres and music organisations.