Away From the Crowds in Krakow
Each passing year sets a new record for the number of visitors to Krakow (Poland), with the city securing itself as a fixture on “must see” lists everywhere. The Old Town, Wawel Castle, and the former Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as the salt mines in nearby Wieliczka. This is no doubt part of the reason why an increasing number of tourists choose Krakow for sightseeing. However, there are two lesser-known areas in the city that are very much worth adding to your list of places to visit should you be looking to stray from the beaten tourist path.
So close to the center yet far away from the crowds
One of the most beautiful walks around Krakow takes you through the formerly forested area of Zwierzyniec and the lovely neighborhood of Salvator.
The Nobertine convent, picturesquely situated on the Vistula river, is the perfect place to start. The nuns came to Krakow from Prague in the 12th century and formed the first female religious grouping in Poland. Unfortunately, this Romanesque structure did not last long, as the convent was repeatedly destroyed in the Mongol raids of the 13th century. A fortified church complex was consumed by fire in the 16th century. Today, we can admire the Baroque incarnation of the Nobertine convent. This charming corner of the city on the banks of the river is associated with several local legends and traditions and forms part of the backdrop of a fantastic panoramic view towards Wawel castle and the Old Town.
Just across the street you will find the Holy Church of Salvator. This small place of worship dates back so far in Krakow’s history that its exact origins have been lost in time. Even archaeological finds have not conclusively answered the question of when the church was first built. Written records first refer to it in the 12th century, long after it had been established. The building has undergone numerous modifications over the years, however the original Romanesque walls are still plainly visible from the cemetery that surrounds the church. Other sacred art in the area includes the 17th century wooden chapel of St. Margaret, which fits perfectly into this landscape of small hills and tall trees.
The neighborhood of Salvator, established in the interwar period of the 20th century, is full of charming villas with historic details and colorful gardens. As you walk past some of the most prestigious addresses in the city, keep an eye out for squirrels and even foxes as they dart through the greenery.
Over the hill and not so far away
On the other side of town, just across the river, another walking tour awaits visitors in the district of Nowa Huta. It’s full of the kind of places that many put on their “must see” list, but few actually take the time to see. The walk starts in the shadow of the neogothic church in the Podgorksa Square. Head uphill through the charming Bednarski Park and past the quarry that supplied much of Krakow’s building stones hundreds of years ago. Make your way through a lovely neighborhood towards one of the oldest and smallest churches in Krakow, St. Benedict. Built in the 12th century, it’s interior is only accessible on the day of its patron, March 21st, and the first Tuesday after Easter. Enjoy the panoramic view for a while before heading off to the next city viewpoint. The Krak Mound is across the way and from its top you can see just about every corner of Krakow. You’ll also have a direct view below into the former Liban rock quarry, right next to the mound. During World War II, it functioned as a forced labor camp and even today you can find memorials to prisoners who were executed during the liquidation of the camp. The quarry was also one of the main filming locations for Schindler’s List.
So there you have it – proof that there are reasons to venture just a little further beyond the tourist trail during your Krakow sightseeing. Want to know more or search for the best Krakow guide? Find everything you need at: www.guide-krakow.com.
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