Cracow is big enough to offer more than a few points of interest, it is full of wonderful architecture, and it leaves an overwhelmingly positive impression on a traveler of my inclinations.
It all starts with the focal point of the Old Quarter, the vast expanse of the Market Square. I have a weakness for grand public spaces, especially when they are surrounded by magnificent buildings, and Cracow’s Market Square gives me a perfect excuse to linger, sit in a cafe or just on a bench, and enjoy.
The above is the westward view from the center of the square, featuring the main parish church of the city, the resplendent St Mary, and the monument to one of the most famous Poles of all times, the poet Adam Mickiewicz.
And this is the southward view from the top of the square, with the same monument seen from a different angle, and the small picturesque Church of St Adalbert guarding the passage towards the castle hill.
Cracow is the city of churches – it has over 130 active places of worship – and, for a secular person, I am always fascinated with religious architecture. There are at least half a dozen churches in the city center that I count as top sights, among them one of the oldest but also one of the most remodelled through the ages Church of St Andrew on Grodzka Street (on the right). If you have been following my blogging revelations, you should know by now that I cannot resist admiring tall spires reaching to the sky.
I also like this next shot below, taken from a slightly different angle on Grodzka, which mixes Baroque opulence of Church of Sts Peter and Paul’s façade, seen on the left behind the row of statues of the Apostles, with the Romanesque dignified beauty of St Andrew’s.
Another interesting combination of different architectural styles is the exterior of Cracow’s Cathedral. Its many chapels date from different periods which is very clearly seen in this view from the main inner yard on Wawel Hill. The pink building with an archway to the Royal Castle adds even more color.
The sole remnants of the old town wall are found at the northern edge of the Old Quarter, at the St Florian’s Gate. Here is another juxtaposition of architecture, between the wall, the gate tower and the building at the end of the street.
Finally, on our visit to Cracow we had several fantastic culinary experiences, so I’d be remiss if I did not include this sight.
Traditional Polish żur w chlebie. Yum!