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Kraków emerges primarily as the silhouette of Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle and Cathedral adorned by the golden dome of the Sigismund Chapel, and the Historic Centre, surrounded today by Planty – the garden ring developed in the place of the former defence walls. Within its perimeter you will find the Royal Route leading from St Florian’s Gate and the Barbican to the castle, age-old churches, little townhouses and mansions in a variety of styles that have accumulated in the city over the centuries, its University founded in the Middle Ages, the Main Market Square with the characteristic silhouettes of the Cloth Hall, St Mary’s, the Town Hall Tower, the monument to the Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz, pigeons, flower stalls, and the bugle call played every hour from the taller tower of St Mary’s. In addition there is the Kazimierz district, chartered in the 14th century as a separate city to the south of Kraków proper, attracting us with its history, heritage, and the magic of the former Jewish oppidum. Radiating from the Main Market Square, the largest of such squares surviving from the Middle Ages in Europe, are streets that were staked out among previous developments in the middle of the 13th century. Together with the perpendicular cross-streets they form a characteristic grid system (Hippodamian plan), though a trained eye will also see disturbances in Kraków’s perfect urban design where the pre-Charter life was most vibrant.

Perfectly well preserved mediaeval developments, one of the grandest and most impressive in our part of Europe, and a unique complex of built heritage from various periods became the foundation for entering Kraków’s Historic Centre together with Wawel and Kazimierz on the first UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.

About: disabled-friendly, admission free
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