Krakow - Sights & Places

 Kazimierz - Jewish Quarter             
 Old Town
 Nowa Huta
 Gardens, Parks and Mounds

 kazimierz Less crowdy than the main square area, with beautiful architecture and magical atmosphere Kazimierz is a 'must see' when visiting Krakow.
 jewish monuments
Kazimierz has seven big Synagogues which form a unique set of this kind of buildings, not only in Poland, but in Europe as well.
The fact that they are all gathered in such a small area makes it more valuable and attractive for tourists.
Please remember that the cementaries and synagogues are not open on Saturdays and during Jewish holidays. Men should be aware that to enter a synagogue or cementary they must be wearing headgear.
old synagogue
Old Synagogue
The Old Synagogue was erected in the middle of 15th cetury. This is the oldest of the preserved synagogues in Poland. In 60 the Synagogue was handed over the City of Krakow Historical Museum by Jewish Denaminational Council with the right of petual usufruct.The Museum established a permanent collection reflecting the culture and history of Krakow Jews and now organises exhibitions presenting all aspects of the history and culture of Jews in Poland.
Adress: Szeroka 24
remuh synagogue
Remuh Synagogue
This 16th century Synagogue is a centre of Jewish religious life in Krakow. Sabbath and holiday services are conducted in the synagogue and the cementery is visited by devout Jews from all over the world who come to pray by the graves of famous Krakow Rabbis - especialy Rabbi Mojzesz Isserles. An old cementary surrounding and bearing the same name occupies an area of about 11acres.
Adress: Szeroka 40

Isaac Synagogue Krakow
isaac's synagogue
Isaac's Synagogue
This XVII century Synagogue has two legends inextricably tied to the synagogue. The first revolves around a miraculous dream that Jakubowicz had when he was young and impoverished. He dreamed that there was a treasure buried under a bridge in Prague. He eventually found a way to make it to Prague, but the bridge about which he had dreamed was surrounded by soldiers and there was no way to go about looked for his treasure. Young Isaac decided to tell a soldier about his dream. The soldier eventually burst into laughter, and replied that he, too, had dreamed of a treasure, but that in his dream the treasure was located under the stove of Isaac, some Jew from Kazimierz. The soldier lamented that every other Jew in Kraków was probably named Isaac! Isaac returned to his home in Kraków, moved his stove, and found an enormous treasure, which allowed him to not only expand his factory, but also build the most beautiful synagogue in the city.
Adress: Kupa 16

high synagogue
High Synagogue
Its name comes from the prayer room which is on the first floor. This untypical arrangement was dictated by safety concerns. At that time, the synagogue was close to the town gate which was very busy place. The ground floor was taken up by shops.It was the third to be built in the Jewish town, between 1556 and 1563.In the second half of the seventheenth century an annexe was built next to the synagogue's northern wall with a women's prayer house on its first floor.
Adress: Jozefa 38

Tempel Synagogue tempel synagogue
Tempel (Progressive) Synagogue
This reformed synagogue was put up in 1860-1862 as a result of efforts of the Association of the Reform Israelites.It is a detached object with rich neo-Renaissance architectural decorations.
The interior of the synagogue contains colorful decorations on its ceiling and gallery walls.
The Tempel was become the traditional venue for the opening concert of the annual Festival of Jewish Culture.
Adress: Miodowa 24

wolf popper synagogue
Wolf Popper Synagogue
It was built in 1620 by Wolf Popper, who was among the richest Jewish financiers and merchants in Krakow.Because it was not very big it was colloquially known as the Small Synagogue.
The synagogue's furnishings were either destroyed or lost in the extermination of the Krakow Jews in the Second World War. After the war the building was no longer used as a place of worship.
In 1965 it was adapted to the Krakow Cultural Centre.
Adress: Szeroka 16

kupa synagogue
Kupa Synagogue
It was built thank to Kahal funds (mi-kupat ha-kahal) and so is still known as Kupa.
It was probably completed in the 1640s. The synagogue's northern wall lay against the town defensive wall and was completely hidden by it.
During the 1939-1945 German occupation the synagogue was severely damaged.
In 2001 it was thoroughly restored.

new cementery
New Cementery
It was created beyond the town limits in 1800. Enlarged a few times, it became too small and was closed in 1930s.Another cementary was built at the village, Wola Duchacka, in 1932 - not existing at present - it was profaned and liquidated by Germans.
Some of its gravestones were taken to the Plaszow camp - then being built - and laid as a pavement leading to the camp office.
Adress: Miodowa 55, behind the junction with Starowislna Str and the railway bridge

Mikveh - Jewish ritual bath
The first information about it, as historian Maier Balaban claims, could be found in the kahal status from 1595. Nowadays you can have the coffee here.
Adress: Szeroka 6

 kazimierz's churches
church on the rock - st stanislav church
A Romanesque church originally stood on this elevated site, located on the Vistula embankment south of Wawel Hill. It was here in 1079 that Bishop Stanislaw (or Stanislaus; 1072–1079) was beheaded and dismembered by order of King Bolesław.
The cause of the conflict between bishop and king is complex and not entirely known, but it reached a boiling point when Stanislaw excommunicated the king. The king then accused the bishop of treason and had him brutally killed in this church. The violent story is remarkably similar to that of King Henry II and Bishop Thomas à Becket in Canterbury, England.
Legend has it that the saint's body was miraculously reassembled, which made an apt symbol of the restoration of Poland's unity after its years of fragmentation. A martyr's cult began immediately after his death; in 1088 his relics were moved to Wawel Cathedral where they remain today.
Stanisław was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in Assisi in 1253. He was the first native Polish saint and is still patron saint of Poland, Kraków, and some Polish dioceses.

In the 14th century, the Romanesque church was replaced by a new Gothic church by King Casimir III (1310-70). Since 1472, the church has belonged to the Pauline Fathers, who have a monastery here. In 1733-1751 the church received a Baroque makeover.
Beginning in the 19th century, the church also became the last resting place for well-known Polish writers and artists; among those buried here are the composer Karol Szymanowsk, and the painter and playwright Stanislaw Wyspianski, and poet Czeslaw Milosz.

Each year on May 8, a procession led by the Bishop of Kraków carries Stanislaw's relics from Wawel Cathedral to St. Stanislaw's Church.Originally a local event, the procession was popularized in the 20th century by Polish Primate Stefan Wyszyński and Archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła (a.k.a. Pope John Paul II). The latter called Saint Stanisław the patron saint of moral order.
corpus christi church
Corpus Christi Church in Krakow is a fine Gothic church dating from the mid-1300s.
The impressive brick church has a rich interior with several side chapels. Notable features include a high altar from 1634, the superb choir stalls of 1629, and an interesting mid-18th-century pulpit shaped like a boat.
An upper chapel contains a Madonna by Lucas Cranach (c.1520). The adjacent monastery dates from 1405.
Adress: Bożego Ciała Str

church of st catherine
One of the most monumental churches in the city, and possibly the one that has been retained its original Gothic shape, it was founded in 1363.
The church was once on the corner of Kazimierz's market square but the area was built up in the 19th century
. The lofty and spacious whitewashed interior boasts the imposing, richly gilded Baroque high altar from 1634 and some very flamboyant choir stalls.
Adress: Augustiańska 7
Source: Lonely Planet
old town area

main square and its surrondings
Nearly all the houses and palaces surrounding the Main Square are of historical interest.They house numerous of shops, restaurants cafes and pubs. You can meet hundrets of people from all over the world, especcialy in warm summer evenings..
In winter, patrons move to the cellars so characteristic of the centre of Krakow.
Main Market Square
is the largest medieval square in Europe at 200 x 200 m.
The Main Square and the network of streets were established in 1257 in the course of founding the city under Magdeburg law.
sukiennice - cloth hall
Cloth Hall - Sukiennice
Located centrally at the Main Square of Krakow, the building of Sukiennice was originally a commercial establishment for trading in cloth formed in the early 14th century
, and over the century has been a main seat and later one of the branches of the National Museum.
The ground floor is still a trade centre, while the upper floor is taken over by the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Painting
st mary's church
St Mary's Church
It was built in 1287 - 1320 in Gothic style. Its present architectural style is a result of restoration at the end of the XIX century.
The two towers of the church are not equal in high and style. The higher one is 88 m and when built did not belong to the church authorities but was under municipal use. It was the city guard tower where lookouts could watch out over the countryside. Where a horn was blown from the tower this was a signal to shut the gates against approaching enemies.Today it is heard every hour from the tower and at midday across Poland and arround the world. The horn stops suddenly in mid call rememberance of the guard struck by an arrow when warning the people of the enemies.

st adalbert's church
The church was built in the 11th century. It stands at the south-eastern corner of the biggest medieval market square in Europe,[1] demarcated in 1257. The church preceded the Square by nearly a century. The interior of the church is cramped, relative to its larger exterior. The floor level is situated under the present level of the Square, which reflects the overlaying of the subsequent surfaces of the plaza with pavement originally adjusted to the two existing churches (including St. Wojciech’s). The church was partially reconstructed in the Baroque style between 1611-1618.The thousand year old legend has it that St. Adalbert consecrated the church in 997 and preached there before going on his mission to bring Christianity to Prussia (where he was killed in martyrdom). Not surprisingly, in the 1960s the discovery was made of the earliest church dating back to the times when St. Adalbert (Św. Wojciech) resided in Kraków and gave his sermons there.
The Barbican, one of the finest European monuments of medieval architecture, was built from 1498 to 1499 as an additional protection of St Florian’s Gate. At present the Barbican together with the St Florian’s Gate and the remnants of the city walls belongs to the finest examples of historic European defensive structures.

st florian's gate
St Florian's Gate
The main city gate was built in the end of 13th century to protect the northern entrance to the city. On the both sides of the gate are Medieval city walls. Nowadays they are covered by paintings and handmade artifacts.

The Florian Gate is the only one of the original eight gates in the city's defensive walls that was nos dismantled during the 19th century "modernisation".
Florianska Str
city hall tower
City Hall Tower
The tower was built as a part of the Town Hall probably at the beginning of the 14th century.
Its walls are decorated with stone laid in the form of pointed arcades and vertical stripes. The tower is topped with a Baroque crown.The room on the ground floor is graced by a collection of craft signs of stonemason masters from 1444 preserved inside: a collection unique both for Poland and Europe. Formerly, the room on the first floor with cross-rib vaulting was a chapel ( now tourist information point).The third floor offers a magnificent panorama of Krakow.

Main Square
sts peter and paul church
The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul (Kosciól swietego Piotra i Pawla) in Krakow is a Baroque Jesuit church known best for the statues of the 12 disciples lining the fence at the front.
Commissioned for the Jesuit order, Sts. Peter and Paul was the first baroque church in Krakow. It is one of the most faithful examples of transplanting the architecture of the famous Gesu Church in Rome to foreign soil, with a fine Baroque facade and great dome.
It is said that the Jesuits spent so much money on the ornate white facade and the sculptures that they ran out of money to finish the rest of the building. Indeed, behind the impressive Baroque facade is a church made from ordinary brick.
The stone statues of the 12 Apostles on the fence, looming larger-than-life-size, are replicas of the 18th-century late Baroque originals. The latter can be seen in the side yard.
The interior is not as impressive as the exterior, but worth a look. The crypt contains the sarcophagus of Father Skarga, a famous 17th-century Jesuit preacher.

Adress: Grodzka 54
st andrew's church
St. Andrew's Church dates from the 11th century and is the finest example of Romanesque architecture in Kraków. Local residents took refuge within the strong walls of St. Andrew's during the Tartar raids.
The simple, white Romanesque exterior with two round towers has a humble, gentle beauty.
The interior, on the other hand, was given a Baroque makeover in the 18th century and jars the senses. The furnishings include a fanciful pulpit resembling a boat.
Adress:Grodzka 56

collegium maius
Collegium Maius is the oldest surviving university building in Poland, and one of the best examples of 15th century Gothic architecture in the city.
It has a magnificent arcaded courtyard and a fascinating university collection.
Try to visit at 11am or 1pm, when the 14th century replica clock and its cast of characters go through their paces

Adress: Jagiellonska 15

Podgórze is the home of mysterious prehistoric earthworks, ancient buildings  as well as beautiful landscaped parks and unique nature reserves like Krak's Mound or Bednarskiego Park. The area offers exceptional opportunities to explore natural surroundings in the historical settings on the south bank of the Vistula river.Podgórze has also one claim to fame: it was Krakow's ghetto during WWII.
  heros of the ghetto square
Ghetto and heros of the ghetto square
Ghetto formed by Nazist by WWII consisted of 15 streets that surround today's Heros of the Ghetto Square (formely Zgody Square) and around 320 buildings found therein.
The area was surrounded by the huge wall measuring 3m high with finishing modelled on Jewish gravestones. The ghetto was linked to the outside world by three gateways: at Zgody Square, Limanowskiego Str and Lwowska Str.
It was here that the Nazis herded some 15.000 Jews into a ghetto and continued to empty it by way of deportations to the concetration camps, including one short distance to the southwest in Płaszów.
On the south side of the square is the Pharmacy Under the Eagle run during occupation, now a museum.
We reccomoend website dedicated to Podgórze

krak's mound
Krak's Mound is situated in Podgórze district, between Wielicka Street and former concentration camp Plaszow.
It was build in the 7th century and is 16m high.
Legend has it that the mound served as a burial site supposedly being the last resting place of Prince Krakus, mythical founder of the city.

bednarski park
The Bednarski Park founded in 1896, covers more than 7 hectares of land. It worth taking a little stroll here, through its green avenues and limestone cliffs.
benedict's fort
Benedict's fort was built in the years 1853-56. It is one of the remaining fragments of the Podgórze fortifications which has survived to the present day.
This type of fortification is typical for defence systems of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

st benedict's church

st joseph's church

nowa huta-
new stillwork

The Nowa Huta quarter was developed in the 1950's as a modern industrial town autonomous of Krakow, servicing the enormous metallurgical complex created by Stalin's decree.
The Nowa Huta complex was a gift from the Soviet nation to the Poles. Its wide streets and attractive and wellfurnished houses were foreseen as the birthplace of a new socialist society planned by the Communist Party leaders.
Nowa Huta is the only complete socialist-realist town in the UE and it's tourist destination like no other,

 plac centralny
Plac Centralny - Central Square of Nowa Huta- the starting point of a trip to the district. It's surrounded by huge, ostentatious concrete buildings whose style supposedly echoes Poland's great Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Five streets radiate from the square, of which the middle one, Aleja Róż, leads to an area in the north-west featuring most of the interesting and representative socialist-realist buildings.

dębniki Stare (Old) Debniki is a quiet residential district located at the bend of the Wistula river, a short walk from the Wawel Castle and the Jewish Quarter Kazimierz.
In the centre of Debniki is a small square, with a local open air market where you can buy fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables all year long.
Nearby the square just at the river you can find the house where formely Pope John Paul II used to live during his studies in Krakow 1938-1944.
The riveside of Vistula is an excellent place to have a stroll, do jogging or just rest in the shade of trees. In the summertime, you can go for a pleasant boat sightseeing-ride on the nearby river.
There is here also a cycle route leading from the city centre of Krakow along the rive to the Benedictin Monastery in Tyniec (7 km).
In the same area, just steps away there is the Museum of Japanesse Art - Manggha.
It is also worth to take a short stroll and visit probably the most suprasing places in Krakow - Twardowski Rocks
planty park
Planty Park
is situated in the direct downtown of Krakow. This city garden surrounding the oldest part of Krakow is unique in the European scale. The garden in a form of greenbelt is one of the greatest Krakow parks. Lenght of the Planty amounts of app. 4 km, whereas its total space is 21 ha. The garden is entered into the I UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.

A great meadow located in the city centre ( 15 minutes from the Main Square), inside the triangle of Focha, 3 Maja and Piastowska Streets, just opposite to the National Museum.
Blonia hosts numerous events, meetings, concerts, fetes and exhibitions
wolski forest
Wolski Forest
This is the largest forested park in Krakow, its area exceeds 420 ha. Within its area 8 walking routes, bicycle, horseriding, and cross-country skiing routes have been designed. In 1927 the ZOO was opened here; also many wild animal species have their natural habitats in Wolski Forest.
The park is located in the western part of the city between Wola Justowska district and Bielany. You can get there by bus 134.

twardowskiego rocks
Twardowskiego Rocks/ Zakrzówek
The reservoir in Zakrzówek was developed in 1990 as a result of the inundation of the former quarry. It contains two water reservoirs connected by a channel. Its depth reaches 30 m and is filled with unique, clean blue water. The name derives from the legendary Master of Magic, Twardowski, who ran his famous school of magic and witchcraft there.
Twardowskiego Rocks are a popular climbing site.

jordan's park
Jordan Park
was designed at the dawn of 19th century on the initiative of Henryk Jordan, a medical doctor and social worker.
The autor intended to design a park dedicated to physical education for youth, therefore numerous playgrounds, as well as courts and pitches for various sports, bicycle paths, a ramp for roller skaters and seasonal gastronomic facilities are situated there. It has almost 22 ha
archeological museum garden
The Archeological Museum Garden
Situated behind a high wall built along the Planty and Poselska Street is one of the greatest gardens in the downtown.
Classical and popular music concerts are organized there.

wawel hill gardens
Wawel Hill Gardens
Green areas at the Wawel Hill within the defensive walls are app 2 ha of space.
For the most part these consist of historical royal gardens and a spacious external courtyard. The internal courtyard is the former settlement of the sub castle area servicing both the castle and cathedral in the Middle Ages.
On sunny days there is a stunning view of Polish Tatra Mountains (100 km!)

krakow's mounds

The Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) and Wanda Mound (Kopiec Wandy) in Krakow are mysterious, prehistoric man-made hills, each about 50 feet high and about 6 miles apart.
Like their distant (and perhaps older) counterparts Stonehenge and Newgrange, the Krakow Mounds are astronomically aligned. Looking from the Krakus Mound on the eve of the Celtic celebration of the sun (May 1), the sun rises exactly over the Wanda Mound. On the Celtic New Year (November 1), the Sikornik Mountain overlooks the sunrise above the Krakus Mound.

Historians and scholars have given differing interpretations of the intriguing grassy humps, ranging from burial sites to fortifications to pagan temples. As of yet, no bones have been found in the mounds.
According to the Medieval chronicler of Kraków, Jan Dlugosz, the mounds were erected to commemorate the legendary first ruler of Kraków - Krak, from whom the city derives its name - and his daughter Wanda, who (another legend says) chose to jump into the Vistula River rather than marry a foreigner.
Modern Krakovians have raised two additional mounds in the city as well. The first was the Kopiec Kosciuszki (Kosciuszko Mound), erected 1813-20 atop Sikornik Hill. Raised during Austrian occupation, it is sacred to the memory of Tadeusz Kosciuszko who fought for the freedom of Poland. The mound incorporates earth from battlefields where the general fought.
The fourth mound is Kopiec Pilsudskiego, near to Kopiec Kosciuszki. It was erected between 1934 and 1937 to commemorate Marshal Pilsudski (1867-1935), the leader of the revived Polish state.
kosciuszko mound
Kosciuszko Mound
In the middle of the 19th century, the Austrian authorities decided to turn Cracow into one of the fortresses in the frontier defence system of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.The Austrians commenced the construction of the stronghold, also known as the “Kościuszko” stronghold: the foot of the Mound was encircled by brick revetment. Within its limits a neo-Gothic chapel of Blessed Bronisława was built.

krak's mound
Krak's Mound is situated in Podgórze district, between Wielicka Street and former concentration camp Plaszow.
It was build in the 7th century and is 16m high.
Legend has it that the mound served as a burial site supposedly being the last resting place of Prince Krakus, mythical founder of the city.

marschall pilsudski's mound
Marschall Pilsudski Mound
This is the tallest mound in Krakow.
It is devoted to the memory of Józef Piłsudski - Polish national hero.
It is beautifully situated in Wolski Forest, 383 m above sea level, just short walk from the ZOO.

wanda's mound

zoo Krakow zoo
The ZOO is located on a Jurassic plateau at 345 metres above sea level, in the middle of a woodland park known as the Wolski Forest (Las Wolski), which covers an area of nearly 500 hectares 10 kilometres to the west of the city center. The Krakow ZOO exhibits around 1500 animals. The garden has a unique friendly atmosphere and is a favourite recreational site of Krakow residents.
Adress: Kasy Oszczędności Miasta Krakowa 14

Krakow ogrod botaniczny; botanical garden botanic garden
Botanic Garden
The Garden was founded in 1783 and is the oldest botanical garden in Poland.
There are three greenhouse complexes located in the garden: palm house together with tropical greenhouses complex. Apart from greenhouses, a few alpine gardens exhibiting mountain plants.
Adress: Kopernika Street 27

garden of experiences
Stanislaw Lem Garden of Experiences
An open-air education exhibition covers the area of 6 ha within the Polish Aviators Park in Krakow.Adress: Al. Pokoju 67

outside krakow

ojcow national park
Ojcow National Park  is one of the most interesting national parks in Poland near Krakow, created in 1956. In spite of the fact that it is the smallest national park, it is very interesting. The main attraction is its limestone karst forms - rocks and caves created naturally through the activity of water in carbonate and limestone rocks (see a famous Hercules cudgel below) . The presence of the limestone rock in this region who was strategically very important for Poles allowed building beautiful castles and fortecess. Some of them are still in good shape (see Pieskowa Skala), some are in ruins.