Travelogue: Kraków, Poland

Kraków (also known as Cracow or Krakow) is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. It has numerous historic sights, which are evident in their Gothic and Renaissance architectures. Some call it the “New Prague”. I honestly can’t compare the two cities. “Beautiful” or “Amazing” can be an understatement to describe them. Here are a few photos of my Prague, Czech trip. All I can say is both are well-established major tourist destination, which most likely means Krakow is also a must-see. 😀

We first went to Wawel Royal Castle, the home of the Polish Kings and Queens.

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outside Wawel Cathedral

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the spacious arcaded courtyard of the castle

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Wawel Royal Castle at twilight

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Probably more than anything, a lot of tourists are drawn to its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I’ll never get tired of walking if I see such architectures around me…

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As we roamed around the Old Town, we passed by St. Peter and Paul Church. It’s Kraków’s first structure designed entirely in Baroque style.

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Located in the Old Town is Kraków’s heart, the Main Market Square. It is the largest medieval city square in the world. It is dominated by Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), where you can find various market stalls and cafes.

Cloth Hall at the Main Market Square

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Adam Mickiewicz is the greatest Polish romantic poet during the 19th century. His monument at the Main Market Square is one of the best bronze monument in Poland.

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Palms being sold around the market since it was Palm Sunday. Aren’t they so pretty???

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We also visited the Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland and one of the oldest universities in the world. Copernicus and Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) studied here.

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Jagiellonian University’s courtyard

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We then headed to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy, where the remains of Sister Faustina rest.

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We also managed to squeeze in a short trip to Wadowice, Pope John Paul II’s hometown.

Basilica of St. Mary, the Pope’s first parish

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Just outside the Basilica, there’s a monument of the Pope, known as “The Cream Cake Statue”. Why? When Pope John Paul II visited his hometown, he sat near this spot and reminisced how he and his friends would enjoy cream cakes available around the area.

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We also went to the Pope’s family house, now turned into a museum.

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Last stop for the day was Wieliczka Salt Mine, which is part the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. It is an underground salt mine that has been operational for almost 1000 years. The rock salt deposits were mined from the 13th century until the 20th century. It’s very large, almost 300km, spread over nine levels. It houses galleries with works of art, statues, altars, original mining tools and equipments, and even underground lakes. We toured Wieliczka Salt Mine for more than two hours, so just imagine how big it is!

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All the rooms, halls and statues were sculpted out of pure salt.

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 Those white particles on the ceiling aren’t snow! Those are salt! Hehe!

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Pope John Paul II’s popular statue inside the salt mine.

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Sorry, I know that’s a lot of photos. Trust me, I already tried to cut them down. I just want to share a gist of my travel in Krakow, Poland. It’s a city that’s really worth a visit. 😀

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