Cracow is Poland’s second largest city and the country’s main tourist destination. Cracow, a former capital of Poland, is one of the largest and oldest Cities in this country. As the former national capital with a long history, the city remains the spiritual heart of Poland.
The name of Cracow is traditionally derived from Krakus, the legendary founder of Cracow and the ruler of the Polish tribe of Lechitians. At present Cracow is the capital city of the Malopolskie – province in the southern Poland. The City is traditionally a leading center of Polish cultural and artistic life. Cracow was recognized as a major educational and cultural center during the Second Polish Republic and throughout the 20th century.
In 1978, the historic center of Cracow, the Old Town complex, was added to UNESCO’s list of the world heritage. That same year Karol Wojtyla, Archbishop of Cracow, was elected in the Vatican as the first Slavic Pope and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, becoming the Pope John Paul II. The city’s growing service sector is the center of the local economy but varied industry and production still provide substantial proportions of jobs and wealth.
It was from here that the Jagiellonians; one of the greatest dynasties in Europe, were ruling the country. Also, one of the first universities in Europe, the Cracow Academy that later renamed the Jagiellonian University was established here. There are 11 universities here, including the oldest university in Poland. Cracow also has 50 museums and public art galleries, 11 theaters and a philharmonic.
Cracow has always been a meeting place of many cultures. Throughout the ages, people of many different countries and religions have enriched the spirit and substance of the city, and have left their mark in Cracow´s stones, its libraries, and even its menus. Just outside the Old Town can be found the former Jewish quarter Kazimierz, its subtle synagogues reflecting the tragedy of the recent past. Cracow is rendered with attractions and diversions of a more modern variety, with hundreds of restaurants, bars and music clubs tucked away down its cellars and narrow alleyways. Cracow provide many attractions for tourists. The splendor of the region, old monuments, museums, theaters, restaurants and clubs, all of these facilitate, makes memorable time spend in Cracow.
Wawel Castle is Cracow’s centerpiece and a must see, but most tourists will find themselves attracted to the Old Town, with its soaring Gothic churches and massive Rynek Główny the Main Market Square, the largest in the country.