Krakow Sights

Starting as a market town in the 10th century, Kraków became Poland's capital in 1037. Until as recently as the 19th century walls encircled the Old Town; these have been replaced by the Planty, a ring of parkland, in the 1820s. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many interesting examples of architecture from that period can be found within the second ring, marked

by Aleje and Dietla streets. In the late 20th century another phase of the city's development began farther out, and it continues today.

Most major historical attractions are within walking distance in the compact Old Town, but you'll also find very interesting sights further outside the city center, including Kościuszko's Mound to the west and Nowa Huta to the east of the city center. The Wawel Hill—with the Royal Castle and cathedral—is perched between the south end of the Planty Ring and the Vistula River.

To the immediate southeast of the Old Town is the old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz. This was once a separate town, chartered in 1335 by its founder, King Kazimierz the Great. In 1495 Kraków's Jews were expelled from the city by King John Albert, and they resettled in Kazimierz. The Jewish community there came to an abrupt and tragic end during World War II. In 1941, the Jews of Kazimierz were moved first to a Jewish ghetto across the Vistula River in Podgórze, then to the Płaszów concentration camp. Most who survived Płaszów were transported to their deaths in the much larger concentration camp at Auschwitz–Birkenau. The story of the few Jews who escaped Płaszów through the help of businessman Oskar Schindler formed the basis of Thomas Keneally's book (and Steven Spielberg's film) Schindler's List.

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Krakow Sights

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Nowa Huta

  • Neighborhood/Street

A story goes that when Fidel Castro visited Kraków, he refused to see the famous royal castle and the largest medieval square in Europe:...

Rynek Główny

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Europe's largest medieval marketplace is on a par in size and grandeur with St. Mark's Square in Venice. It even has the same plague...

Stara Synagoga

  • Museum/Gallery

The oldest surviving example of Jewish religious architecture in Poland, this synagogue was built in the 15th century and reconstructed...


  • Museum/Gallery

A statue of Adam Mickiewicz marks the eastern entrance to the Renaissance Cloth Hall, which is in the middle of the Main Market Square.

Synagoga Izaaka

  • Museum/Gallery

Isaac's Synagogue was named after its founder, Izaak Jakubowicz (reb Ajzyk reb Jekeles). One of the most famous Hasidic legends is connected...

Synagoga Remuh

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This 16th-century synagogue is still used for worship and is named after the son of its founder, Rabbi Moses Isserles, who is buried...

Synagoga Tempel

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

The 19th-century Reformed Tempel Synagogue has a striking decor complete with stained-glass windows. Under the care of the local Jewish...

Ulica Floriańska

  • Neighborhood/Street

The beautiful Brama Floriańska (Florian Gate) was built around 1300 and leads through Kraków's old city walls to this street, which...

Ulica Kanonicza

  • Neighborhood/Street

This street, which leads from almost the center of town to the foot of Wawel Hill, is considered by some the most beautiful street in...

Zamek Królewski

  • Castle/Palace/Chateau

The castle that now stands here dates from the early 16th century, when the Romanesque residence that stood on this site was destroyed...


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