Krakow In Your Pocket City Guide 2024 Summer

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KRAKÓW

AN IMMERSIVE GUIDEBOOK FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVEL

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CITY GUIDE
Poland
Slow
Steady
In Your Pocket
and
since 1999

Przybyszewskieg o Ry dla Bronowicka

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From the editor

A bit of history for the youngsters: The first edition of Kraków In Your Pocket - the charming cover of which is reproduced on the inside cover of this edition - came out way, way back in July 1999. It was a time when society wasn’t sure if computers could count past the number 1999, when most Polish businesses, including ours, did not yet have websites, and the IYP office did not have internet at all. The files for that first edition were delivered to the printing house, by hand, on a stack of floppy disks (look it up, kid).

A lot has changed in the 25 years since, including this guide, but our commitment to the print medium, and the slow travel philosophy In Your Pocket was founded on, stubbornly remain. Oh, there have been challenges aplenty (‘the death of print,’ the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, crazy inflation, and now the rise of AI), but the fact that we continue to survive in this ever-changing media landscape can only be taken as proof that if you do something well, it stands the test of time (right?). It’s certainly testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved in this enterprise over the past quarter-century, and thanks in large part to those local businesses who believe in what we do. It’s also thanks to people like yourself, who not only trust us to deliver accurate, independent and insightful information, but also take the time to read it and use it. To everyone who has contributed to the uncanny longevity of this small company over the years, I am exceedingly grateful. Many happy returns, and don’t ever stop doing what makes you unique. Enjoy Kraków.

A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Garrett fell in love with Kraków upon arrival and has been working to recreate that magic for IYP readers since 2008. He believes in good writing, local insight and that giving travellers the offline tools to explore destinations independently is the best way to create meaningful connections between people and places.

PUBLISHER

IYP City Guides Sp. z o.o. Sp.k. Ul. Karmelicka 46/51 31-128 Kraków, Poland

www.iyp.com.pl poland@inyourpocket.com

CIRCULATION

10,000 copies

STAFF

Writer & Editor: Garrett Van Reed

Sales: Monika Łabęcka-Szymanek (+48) 668 87 63 51

Marketing: Monika Boguszewska-Stopka (+48) 728 879 494

Research: Karolina Adamik, Joanna Kostkiewicz

Design: Marcin Jakubionek

Maps: Tomáš Haman

COVER IMAGE

Musicians on Szeroka Street (p.76) during the Jewish Culture Festival (p.13). [Photo by Michał Ramus, Jewish Culture Festival archive.]

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All content copyright IYP City Guides Sp. z o.o Sp.k and its partners, unless otherwise stated. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written consent from the publisher.

The brand name In Your Pocket is used under licence from UAB In Your Pocket (Bernardinu 9-4, Vilnius, LT, tel. (+370-5) 212 29 76). .

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11 44 56 13 31 67 An immersive guidebook for independent travel 4
Introductions From the Editor 02 How to Use This Guide 06 Unpacking Kraków 08 Essentials Summer Vibes 10 Street Food 18 Traditional Dishes 24 Local Drinks 26 Art & Museums 28 Gifts & Souvenirs 34 Getting Around 38 Walking Tours Old Town 42 Wawel 62 Kazimierz 70 Podgórze 86 Nowa Huta 104 Further Afield Day Trips 110 Inside this issue City Centre cover Old Town 43 Wawel 63 Kazimierz 71 Podgórze 87 Nowa Huta 105 Maps Old Town 60 Kazimierz 84 Podgórze 102 Nowa Huta 109 Eat & Drink No. 125, Spring/Summer 2024 5

How to Use This Guide

Kraków In Your Pocket is designed to provide you with all of the ideas, inspiration, tools and information you need to explore the city on your own, stay offline as much as possible, and truly connect with your surroundings.

Our guidebook primarily consists of two types of content: Essentials and Walking Tours

Essentials

Read these features to gain an overview of Kraków’s most essential sights, experiences, tastes and touchstones. Establish your priorities and plan your time.

Page references lead you to additional or related info located elsewhere.

QR Codes lead you to our website when there’s more worth knowing than fits in print.

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Walking Tours

Follow these to find all of the most interesting and important sites, and learn what makes them worthy of inclusion. Be your own tour guide.

Map coordinates correlate to the grid on the Kraków map on the inside cover, so you can gauge distances and keep your bearings.

Editor’s Picks

As you go through the guide, keep an eye out for these icons next to venues that we personally recommend for the following visitor profiles:

The Honeymooders

Romantic spots recommended for couples.

The Kinderguardian

Fun places designed for families and kids.

The Sophisticationer

Niche places for history buffs and culture hounds.

The Offbeatnik

Alternative, artsy or obscure places for urban adventurers.

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Welcome to Kraków

You’ve chosen well!

The ancient seat of kings, artists and academics, Kraków comes steeped in legend, tradition and Old World charm. The pride of Poland, it’s also one of Europe’s great unspoilt cities, boasting one hell of a resume. Let’s get you acquainted.

With a history that dates back to the 4th century, Poland’s most charming city has been charmed indeed, avoiding the destruction and debasement suffered by so many other Polish cities during WWII and the ensuing Soviet era. As a result, Kraków is one of Europe’s most beautiful architectural showpieces – a claim validated by the inclusion of its Old Town and Kazimierz districts on the firstever UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978, along with Wawel Castle (p.62), the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine (p.111) and only ten other places in the world. In addition to the largest medieval market square on the continent and a fairy-tale castle overlooking the river, Kraków offers the most authentic picture

of pre-war Jewish culture in Europe and is home to one of its oldest universities. As such it boasts a large student population that enthusiastically propels its top ten global ranking for most bars per capita. In the past decade the city has earned accolades as a ‘European Capital of Gastronomy’ and UNESCO City of Literature, recognising both its culinary heritage and artistic soul. Steadily revitalised and diversified over the past twenty years, today Kraków is an increasingly modern metropolis in a compact, classic European package, that still honours its history, possesses a laid-back pace of life and maintains its magic aura. If you’re anything like us, you may linger awhile.

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Kraków’s Districts

Kraków’s UNESCO-crowned historical centre can be divided into two areas: the Old Town and Kazimierz, with Wawel Castle rising between them. Rich in regal architecture and bursting with energy, the compact Old Town (p.42) brings to life the belief in Poland’s great and glorious past.

To better understand Kraków's districts, see the map on the inside cover!

The Jewish heritage trail leads you from Kazimierz across the river into Podgórze (p.86), where the worst horror of Kraków’s Nazi occupation played out. Once an independent city, today Podgórze is arguably the city’s most evocative district and offers a chance to get off the beaten path.

Once the cultural centre of Jewish life in Poland, today Kazimierz (p.70) is Kraków’s most vibrant neighbourhood. Amidst the synagogues and heritage sites of the former Jewish district, you’ll find candlelit bars, street food stands, art galleries and a more alternative, bohemian vibe.

Travellers exhausted by European splendour can escape to Nowa Huta (p.104), a rare paean of socialist realist architecture. Designed to be the antithesis of everything Kraków’s Old Town represents, both culturally and aesthetically, the commie comforts of Nowa Huta are only a tram ride away.

UNPACKING KRAKÓW
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Summer Vibes

Kraków is loaded with lovely places to spend time outdoors, from its romantic river boulevards, to iconic green spaces like the Planty (p.44) and Bednarski Park (p.97), to the panoramic peaks of its mysterious Mounds (p.33, 100). Here are some other exciting places to explore in the high season, many just outside the centre and less known to tourists.

at Hotel Forum.
The enormous riverside beer garden

1Hang Out at Hotel Forum

Unlike Warsaw, which has developed the entire breadth of its western riverbank, Kraków’s riverside attractions are mostly concentrated in one spot beneath the Forum Hotel, for better or worse. Once a four-star hotel representing the pinnacle of Soviet-era architecture and hospitality, the Forum was designed in 1978 and didn’t open until over a decade later. Despite modern amenities like air conditioning, auto-flushing toilets, tennis courts, a casino, sauna, swimming pool and much more, the 7-storey hotel was closed in 2002 due to basement flooding and low ceilings (only 2.2m) that don’t meet modern height requirements.

A brutalist eyesore that apparently can’t be torn down, today the building’s guestrooms have trees growing out of the balconies. The ground floor, however, has been turned into Kraków’s biggest beer garden and riverside hangout by Hala Forum and dozens

of other businesses, including an indoor food hall, craft beer multi-tap bar, cocktail bar and more, plus several outdoor bars, food trucks and an endless sea of beach chairs. Rumours are that by the time this guide goes to print, a fancy restaurant, cocktail bar and cigar lounge will all open on the top floor, including a large roof terrace.

In addition to everything concentrated at the hotel itself, the river boulevards alongside Forum also harbour other attractions, including the Kraków Observation Balloon (a tethered hot-air-balloon offering views over the city), a Ferris wheel and small fun park with fairground rides for kids. All told, it’s an oasis of urban culture and activity worth checking out. Although packed on weekends and evenings, there’s seemingly no end to the seating. I-10, ul. Marii Konopnickiej 28.

2 Beat the Heat at Bagry Lagoon

Located 5km southeast of the market square, this artificial reservoir is the most popular swimming, sunbathing, sailing, and water recreation destination within city limits. Bagry features several beaches on the northern shore and a swimming area with lifeguards on duty in July and August from 10:00 to 18:00. The water is clean and the area is free to enter. The site of much recent investment and infrastructure, the surrounding park features playgrounds, barbecue grills, benches, hammocks, volleyball courts, a graduation tower and a food truck park. Bagry also

harbours two marinas and two sailing schools which gives you an idea of its size; windsurfing, wakeboarding, kayaks, pedal boats and SUP board rental is available from June until the end of September. Popular with locals of all ages, Bagry has strong Polish vacation vibes and is a great place to head on a hot day. A bit difficult to get to, your best bet is a taxi, or bus 127 which goes straight there from ‘Podgórze SKA;’ you can also take tram 20 from the centre, getting off at ‚Rzebika,’ from which the lake is a 15min walk. ul. Kozia 30.

SUMMER VIBES
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Beach bum days at Bagry.

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Hike & Swim

at Zakrzówek Quarry

Formerly a limestone quarry, this fantastic reservoir just southwest of the city centre was created when the water table was accidentally pierced. A popular place for swimming, hiking and rock-climbing, Zakrzówek is known for its irresistible blue water and the gorgeous views from atop its limestone bluffs. Unfortunately it has also been the site of frequent fatal accidents, forcing the city to take steps to improve the safety and accessibility of the area, beginning in 2023.

Despite initial grumbling, the new Zakrzówek Park has proven to be a hugely popular success. The southern, smaller part of the quarry now features five swimming pools of varying depth set inside the beautiful reservoir itself, and cleverly connected by wide floating docks. Entry is free, but access is limited to 600 people, and lines do form on warm days. Lifeguards are on duty between

10:00 and 18:00 from June 22 to Sept 3 (note that swimming in other parts of the reservoir is also possible, but you do so at your own risk). Near the swimming pools you’ll also find toilets, changing rooms, and a cafe, on the other side of which is a boat ramp leading done to a stony beach and water equipment rental.

In addition to the floating docks, the quarry rim and surrounding woods are a wonderful place for a walk, full of benches and vistas for taking in the great views. Intrepid adventurers can search for ‘Twardowski’s Cave’ - the hideout of Kraków’s legendary alchemist/ occultist, as well as creepy bunkers carved into the cliffs. The closest tram stop is ‘Norymberska,’ which takes you to the pools on the south side of the quarry; to hike in from the north take the tram to ‘Kapelanka,’ or a bus to ‘Zielińskiego’ (requested stop). | D/E-12.

SUMMER VIBES
Hike along the rim, or down on the floating docks, of beautiful Zakrzówek Quarry.
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Festivals & Events

Kraków’s cultural calendar hits a higher gear in the warm season, with hundreds of events, big and small, happening all over the city. Check our website for a full rundown of what’s on.

Grand Dragon Weekend

June 8 - 9

One of Kraków’s most unique free events. Don’t miss the amazing dragon show - with music, lasers and fireworks - after dark on Saturday, with more beasts on the market square Sunday from 12:00.

Wianki

June 22 - 23

This two-day solstice celebration features free concerts on an outdoor stage near Wawel, plus flower garland workshops and more music in Planty Park.

Jewish Culture Festival

June 23 - 30

Jewish culture takes over Kazimierz with dozens of concerts, lectures, workshops and walks. ‘Jam sessions’ in Alchemia and the ‘Szalom na Szerokiej’ finale are highlights. Cheder Cafe serves as the festival centre (K-8, ul. Józefa 36).

ULICA Street Theatre Festival

July 05 - 07

International theatre troupes fill the city’s public spaces with spectacular, amusing, unusual and free performances. A great time to be in Kraków.

Summer Jazz Festival

June 29 - Sept 1

Hundreds of concerts across town, from a handful of top international acts in prestige venues to bands every evening in Piwnica Pod Baranami and Harris Piano Jazz Bar - two historic market square basement bars.

Bespoke cocktails in unique ambience
SUMMER VIBES
Main Square 13
Vistula River

Wild Out at Hype Park

Located north of the Old Town between brick railway warehouses, Hype Park is both a physical space and a series of weekend concerts and events . The 2500m2 outdoor area features multiple stages for varying events, ranging from massive outdoor concerts, to more intimate shows under the tent. The complex also includes Kamienna12a large year-round concert hall (ticketed admission). Between these concert spaces you’ll find lots of outdoor chill-out space constructed primarily out of palettes, shipping containers and water jugs, a

large variety of food trucks and multiple bars . The artsy, DIY atmosphere is very much like a summer music festival, and you even pass under/ through a large gate to enter. Depending what’s on (check FB), some stage areas may be ticketed, but entry to the food trucks and chill-out zones is free. Definitely a cool place to vibe-check in the evening or party all night, to get there take a tram to ‘Dworzec Towarowy’ and look for the gigantic pink gorilla.

J-1, ul. Kamienna 12. Open Fri & Sat only from 18:00.

SUMMER VIBES 4
A bit like a music festival every weekend, head between the freight warehouses to see what's happening at Hype Park.
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Cocktail bar with the best view in the city Powiśle Street 7 5th floor of the Sheraton Grand Krakow Hotel SHERATON HEALTH CLUB Sheraton Health Club Treat yourself at the newly opened Powiśle Street 7 @sheraton.grand.krakow @sheratongrandkrakow @krakow.rooftopterrace @roof.top.terrace

Play in Park Lotników Polskich

4.5km east of the market square, Park Lotników Polskich (Polish Aviator’s Park) is one of Kraków’s largest green spaces (43.6ha!), and easy to get to via public transport. The northern part of the park is a beautiful place to escape the rush of the city. While much of it feels like an unencumbered arboretum, it also harbours a skate park, pump track, large playground and more. The park actually continues on the north side of Aleja Jana Pawła II, where you’ll find Kraków’s underrated Aviation Museum - full of outdoor exhibits and hangars of historic aircraft, it’s a sure-fire Dad-pleaser, and Cogiteon - an interactive science centre for kids set to open June 21, 2024.

It’s the park’s south side that is of most interest for visitors, however. In summer, the east side of Tauron Arena turns into ‘Arena Garden’ - the city’s best food truck park. With upwards of 20 food concepts, the diversity of what’s available is immense, and alcohol is also on hand. As such, the lawns here basically turn into a giant beer garden/ gastronomy park with deck chairs galore in the grass. The area also features ponds kids can splash

around in, a playground and additional attractions like bouncy castles, plus an outdoor stage hosting concerts, comedy and other events throughout the season (check Arena Garden on FB to see what’s on).

On top of all that, the Stanisław Lem Experimental Garden is only metres away. This 6.5ha ticketed attraction features over 110 interactive stations engaging kids with the laws of physics, including optical illusions, acoustics, gravity, magnetism, mechanics and more. Basically it’s a giant outdoor educational playground and perfect for preschool to middle-school kids (and their parents). With so much on offer - playgrounds, food, drink, even splash pools - Park Lotników is a great place for families or hanging out with friends. Unseen from the road, there’s plenty of space for everyone, the setting is lovely, and the vibe is peak summer. To get there take a tram to ‘M1 al. Pokoju.’

ul. Stanisława Lema 7. Arena Garden open 13:00-22:00; Fri 13:00-23:00; Sat 09:00-23:00; Sun 09:00-22:00. Lem Garden open 09:00-19:00, Sat & Sun 10:00-19:00; from Sept 1 - Oct 31 open 09:00-17:00; Sat & Sun 10:00-19:00.

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Edible Itineraries

When it comes to travel these days, gastronomy is just as important as sightseeing. Kraków’s culinary reputation has been on the rise since the fall of communism, culminating in its honour as the first ‘European Capital of Gastronomic Culture’ in 2019. Get to know the tastes that make up Krakow’s unique culinary character, and see how many you can check off while in town.

We've all had pierogi. Anything else to eat around here? You bet...

Essential Street Foods

Although hardly sophisticated, nothing defines Kraków’s culinary profile more than its swiftly served snacks, some of which date back centuries. Today the city boasts almost a dozen food truck parks, but please forego the kebabs, burgers and tacos until you’ve tried these local specialties.

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Obwarzanki Krakowskie

Any culinary journey through Kraków starts with the obwarzanek, the city’s oldest street food. These chewy dough rings - sold prominently at the airport, train station and from rolling street carts all over town - have been a daily sight in Kraków for over 600 years and are a proud symbol of the city.

What’s so special about these ‘bagels’? Whoa, whoa, watch your language. Sure, like bagels, obwarzanki are parboiled, then baked and sprinkled with different toppings, but can you not see that obwarzanki are made of braided dough? The fact is that bagels and obwarzanki were both invented in Kraków, obwarzanki were first by over a century, and bagels wouldn’t exist without them. Created by Cracovian Jews as a kosher variation of the obwarzanek during a brief relaxation of laws regulating who could bake what in the 1600s, the irony is that bagels emigrated beyond Poland, evolved and prospered, while the obwarzanek has remained tightly controlled,

becoming even more so since 2010 when it was given Protected Geographical Indication status under EU law as a regional food. As it was in the beginning, only certified bakeries are allowed to use the name ‘obwarzanek krakowski’ today, and it’s worth noting that the traditional recipe uses animal fat. You’ll see just as many vendors selling uncertified ‘precel krakowski’ (Kraków pretzels) and ‘bajgiel krakowski’ (Kraków bagels), which are just as good if you ask us, and potentially vegan-friendly.

Although the price of an obwarzanek has soared over 3zł (sacrilege!), they still make for a tasty, cheap and filling snack. Cracovian bakers allegedly make up to 200,000 obwarzanki a day in the summertime, so eat your fill before the pigeons get them. Or make your own at Kraków’s Obwarzanek Museum.

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Any bakery ('piekarnia') or street trolly. Obwarzanek Museum - J-4, ul. Paderewskiego 4 (Old Town), muzeumobwarzanka.com.

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2 Zapiekanka from Plac Nowy

Essentially a baguette pizza, zapiekanki emerged during the communist era as the ultimate Polish fast food: quick, cheap, filling, and easy enough to make that anywhere with a wall socket and space for a toaster could become a zapiekanka stand. Order one at any train station in PL and you’ll receive what’s essentially half a large baguette covered with mushrooms and cheese, thrown in a toaster oven and squirted with ketchup. Underwhelming to say the least.

However, the vendors of the Plac Nowy roundhouse - Kraków’s drunk food headquarters in Kazimierz (p.74) - have taken this simple concept and gone gourmet with it, making an art out of the custom ‘Polish pizza.’ With endless add-ons (including salami, spinach, smoked cheese, pickles, pineapple, feta – you name it) and your choice of sauces, this street food staple has gone from ‘so gross it’s gross’ to ‘so gross it’s good.’ Because of their popularity you’ll witness ridiculous lines at the various windows around the roundhouse; in fact, local Poles will tell you certain windows are better than others. We will tell you that Poles just love standing in lines, and when it comes to toaster pizza, the best line is certainly the shortest line.

At 12-25zł (depending on toppings), a zapiekanka is a decent value and will sustain you through a night of heavy drinking as only copious amounts of bread can. If you aren’t completely smashed, split one with a friend by asking the vendor to cut it in half. After all, leaving town without having tried a Plac Nowy zapiekanka would be felonious, as would settling for one anywhere else in Kraków.

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Plac Nowy - K-8 (Kazimierz), open from midafternoon until 02:00, depending on business.

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Kiełbasa from the Blue Van ‘Kiełbasa’ is probably one of the most internationally understood words in the Polish language, and this legendary sidewalk stand is the place to partake locally in a Polish sausage. A Cracovian street food institution for thirty years, here two old boys in white smocks set up shop outside their iconic blue Nysa (a Soviet-era van) every evening except Sundays to grill kiełbasa sausages over a wood-fired stove for the hungry, drunken masses. For 15zł you get a delicious grilled sausage, slightly stale roll, mustard and ketchup from the local Konik factory, and an unforgettable experience. Essentially Kraków’s first food truck, don’t miss it if you’re in the neighbourhood.

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Kiełbaski z Rożna Pod Halą Targową - K-6, ul. Grzegórzecka 3 (Kazimerz); open Mon- Sat 20:0003:00. Make sure to eat one of these before a big night in the bars.

STREET FOOD
Times change, trends come and go, kiełbasa remains.
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4 Maczanka

Also called 'maczanka po krakowsku,’ this is one of Kraków’s most unique, city-specific foods, though there is no strict tradition (or law) governing how it should be served. The dish traditionally consists of marinated pork neck, slowly baked and served in a thick caraway and onion sauce, with crusty bread and pickles. While its origins are a bit lost in the sauce, consensus claims that maczanka was most popular in the Galician days of the late-18th and 19th centuries, when it was apparently the go-to meal of poor students and carriage drivers on the go. That second part is a bit easier to imagine in its modern incarnation as a street food, but our general understanding is that maczanka was traditionally served in a shallow bowl over bread, or with a roll for dipping in the sauce. In recent years maczanka has been winningly revived as a local rival to hamburgers and pulled pork sandwiches. Leading this charge is ‘Andrus Maczanka po Krakowsku,’ which specialises in maczanki served as massive sandwiches, dripping with different toppings and sauces. We are one hundred percent on-board with this obscene modern version, but you’ll also find maczanka as an affordable item on local restaurant menus - some incorporating obwarzanki, and each the unique interpretation of the chef in the kitchen. If you get the chance, give it a try.

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Andrus Maczanka po Krakowsku - J-6, ul. Sienna 11 (Old Town); K-9, ul. Św Wawrzyńca 16 (Kazimierz).

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The mighty maczanka from Andrus food truck in Kazimierz.

5 Grilled Oscypek with Cranberry Sauce

A tradition of the mountainous Podhale region just south of Kraków, oscypek is a smoked cheese made from salted sheep milk which is curdled, then rinsed repeatedly with boiling water, squeezed, and pressed into wooden forms which give it its decorative shape. It has a smoky, salty flavour and chewy, teeth-squeaking texture, and, like the obwarzanek, is protected under EU law from being made outside of the Polish Tatra Mountains. Though not technically Cracovian, oscypek is a common site in the city’s markets; you’ll also often find people selling it near the train station

6 ‘Kapuśniaczek’ Cabbage Pastry

Walk into almost any bakery or pastry shop and amongst the doughnuts, dinner rolls, bagels, cakes and other sweets you’ll find this most Polish and least appreciated little wonder: the cabbage pastry. Oh yes they did. They took flaky phyllo dough, filled it with sauteed sauerkraut, then topped it off with caraway seeds to create a savoury snack that’s surprisingly delish. Sure, those other cakes and pastries look way better, but you didn’t come all the way to Kraków to eat croissants. Just the ones with cabbage in them. Similar to ‘paszteciki wigilijne’ - a Christmas pastry served with barszcz (p.25), and not to be confused with the popular 'Kapuśniak' soup, these mini cabbage cakes are available yearround for less than 2 Euro in almost every ‘piekarnia’ in town.

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Lajkonik bakeries - J-6, Plac Dominikański 2; I-5, ul. Szewska 8; J-4, ul. Basztowa 15; J-8, ul. Stradomska 5.

Buczek bakeries - H-6, Tarłowska 23; K-7, Starowiślna 51; J-8, Stradomska 27; J-9, Krakowska 39.

Typically sold in larger spindle-shaped blocks, oscypek is most delicious when smaller pieces (looking a bit like spiky rugby balls) are grilled and served warm with cranberry sauce, and that's exactly how they serve it at Koliba - a street food window on ul. Szewska. Most traditional Polish restaurants offer it this way as an appetiser, or look for it during frequent food fairs on the market square or Mały Rynek.

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Koliba - I-5, ul. Szewska 4 (Old Town).

Morskie Oko - I-5, Plac Szczepański 8 (Old Town).

Wesele - J-6, Rynek Główny 10 (Old Town).

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Real men choose cabbage.
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Grilling up some oscypek at Koliba.

Traditional Polish Dishes

Street food is great, but proper sit-down restaurants need support too. When it comes to traditional Polish food, everyone knows ‘pierogi’ (stuffed dumplings) and ‘kotlet schabowy’ (breaded pork cutlet), but here are some staples of the national diet that might not be as familiar. Smacznego (enjoy your meal)!

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1 Barszcz

A nourishing beetroot soup, barszcz may be served with a croquette (‘z krokietem’), with mini pierogi floating in it (‘z uszkami’), or simply as broth in a mug expressly for drinking (‘solo’). A recommended alternative to other beverages, it’s difficult to find a bad cup of barszcz, so make sure you return home with bloody beet stains on at least one of your shirts.

2 Bigos

Though there’s no standard recipe for this hearty stew, ingredients usually include fresh and pickled cabbage, pork, sausage, onion, mushrooms, plums, peppercorns, bay leaves, caraway and whatever else is on hand. In fact, metaphorically bigos translates to ‘big mess,’ ‘mish-mash’ or ‘confusion’ in Polish. A Polish restaurant or prospective bride can be fairly measured on the strength of their bigos, so put it to the test.

3 Gołąbki

Translating to ‘little pigeons’ for reasons perhaps best left unknown, this popular dish could be described as a ‘cabbage enchilada’. In lieu of a tortilla, the filling of rice, onion and typically minced pork (though vegetarian versions are also common), is rolled up inside large boiled cabbage leaves, then baked or steamed and topped with tomato or mushroom sauce. Better than it looks or sounds, in fact they’re the only pigeons we like.

4 Golonka

This is ‘pork knuckle’ or ‘ham hock,’ as in the part of a pig’s leg between the knee and ankle. Boiled, braised or roasted, this is the closest the Poles come to barbecue, and is a delicacy. The meat should slip right off the bone, be served with horseradish, and washed down with beer. Generally sold by weight, you might end up with more than you bargained for, but it’s certainly an Instagram opportunity. Go caveman.

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While many of Kraków’s top Polish restaurants offer a more modern take on Polish cuisine, here are our favourite places that feature traditional Polish home cooking as we’ve always known it.

Czerwone Korale

- J-5, ul. Mikołajska 14 (Old Town).

Kuchnia Polska 'Gąska'

- L-10, ul. Limanowskiego 1 (Podgórze).

Marchewka z Groszkiem

- K-9, ul. Mostowa 2 (Kazimierz).

Miód Malina

- J-6, ul. Grodzka 40 (Old Town).

Morskie Oko

- I-5, Pl. Szczepański 8 (Old Town).

Starka

- K-8, ul. Józefa 14 (Kazimierz).

Wesele

- J-6, Rynek Główny 10 (Old Town).

5 Placki Ziemniaczane

These savoury, fried potato pancakes are very similar to hashbrowns or Jewish latkes, and may be served in a variety of ways. Keep it simple with just sour cream (‘placki solo’), or turn it into a hefty meal by ordering them smothered in mushroom sauce or - our favourite - goulash (‘placki po węgiersku’). Highly caloric, they’re also a tried and true hangover cure.

6 Żurek

It doesn’t get any more Polish than żurek – a sour soup made from a thick stock of fermented rye flour. Typically chock full of potatoes, sausage and hard-boiled eggs, żurek is often thickened with cream, and seasoned with marjoram, garlic, salt and pepper. The result is a tasty grayish gruel that any Polish peasant would be proud to polish off. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get it served in a bread bowl.

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Drink Like a Local

Poles have been producing vodka since the early Middle Ages, distilling their skill into some of the best brands in the world. What’s misunderstood, however, is that not only are there dozens of unique flavoured vodkas to choose from, but, as a nation, Poland actually imbibes more beer than vodka. Read on for our favourite Polish tipples and some tips on local craft beer. Na zdrowie!

A flight of flavoured vodkas from Wódka Cafe Bar.

1 Żołądkowa Gorzka

Due to its very name, which translates to something like ‘Bitter Stomach,’ this vodka gives even the most infirm of health an excuse to drink under the guise of its medicinal properties. Aged with herbs and spices, the original orange label Żołądkowa (there are many varieties) has an amber hue and sweet spiced taste. Incredibly palatable, order a double on ice and sip like a sophisticate.

2 Żubrówka

Known to many as ‘bison grass vodka,’ Żubrówka has been produced since the 16th century. Flavoured with a type of grass specific to Białowieża Forest (a blade of which appears in each bottle), this popular vodka is faint yellow, with a mild fragrance of mown hay and a subtle floral taste with traces of almond and vanilla. Drink it straight or combine it with apple juice for a refreshing concoction called a ‘tatanka.’

3 Krupnik

Popular in Poland and Lithuania, Krupnik is a sweet vodka made from honey and a multitude of herbs and spices, based on a recipe dating back to the 17th century. Buy a bottle for Mum – drinking vodka doesn’t get any easier than this. In winter, hot krupnik is a popular personal defroster with hot water, lemon and mulling spices added, or tip some out in your tea if you’re ever feeling under the weather.

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While you can order the above vodkas in any bar, the following offer their own special varieties, or simply a huge selection.

Wódka Cafe Bar

- D-3, ul. Mikołajska 5 (Old Town).

- K-8, ul. Meiselsa 15 (Kazimierz).

Niewódka

- I-5, Plac Szczepański 5 (Old Town).

WiśniOFFka

- K-8, ul. Józefa 5 (Kazimierz).

Starka

- K-8, ul. Józefa 14 (Kazimierz).

Local Craft Beer

Despite a dramatic increase nationally, Kraków isn’t the most well-endowed when it comes to local breweries. That said, you can check out the historic Browar Lubicz (K-5, ul. Lubicz 17J), British-style T.E.A. Time (I-9, ul. Dietla 1), German-style Bierhalle (J-6, Mały Rynek 7) and Kazimierz’s huge Stara Zajezdnia (K-9, ul. Św. Wawrzyńca 12), all of which brew their beers on-site. Note that nearby Tarnów is home to one of the country’s absolute best breweries, Trzech Kumpli - look for it in bars and shops. To know exactly what’s on draught in each of Kraków’s multi-tap pubs, visit ontap.plfurther proof that Poland’s beer culture is headier than ever.

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BroPub Craft Beer & Burgers - J-8, ul. Stradomska 11 (Old Town).

Multi Qlti Tap Bar - I-5, ul. Szewska 21 (Old Town).

Viva la PINTA - J-5, ul. Floriańska 13 (Old Town). Szklanki - K-8, ul. Jakuba 19 (Kazimierz).

Weźże Krafta - L-8, ul. Dajwór 16 (Kazimierz).

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Multi Qlti Tap Bar

Top Art Spaces & Museums 3

There’s no better place to learn about Kraków’s history, culture and character than in its many museums. Ranging from obscure to obligatory, the city boasts upwards of 75 such cultural institutions. Clearly more than we can list here, what follows are those venues that we consider of most value to visitors, divided into digestible groups. Note that some of Kraków’s most essential museums are included in the Walking Tours.

5 Find a full directory of Kraków museums on our website. 2

Kraków’s Most-Visited Museums

Are they the best? That’s debatable, but some do demand that you plan your visit and get your tickets in advance.

1 Schindler’s Factory

The site of one of WW2’s most well-known stories thanks to Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List (spoiler: Nazi war profiteer has change of heart, eventually saving 1200 Jews), today this worldfamous factory is a world-class museum detailing daily life in Kraków during Nazi occupation. A recent policy change has made buying tickets in advance less of a necessity; get them online via www.bilety.mhk.pl, or at the museum ticket desk on the day of your visit. | See p.94.

2 Czartoryski Princes Museum

Recently modernised, the Czartoryski Museum is Poland’s oldest museum and one of the most valuable art collections in Europe. It includes a bit of everything: masterpieces by da Vinci and Rembrandt, trophies from the 1683 Battle of Vienna, Chopin’s death mask, Copernicus' remains, Shakespeare’s chair, ancient Egyptian artefacts, Far Eastern art, Polish historical memorabilia and more. Perhaps more meaningful for Polish audiences than foreigners, audioguides (10zł) are recommended for getting more out of the main exhibit. Very popular, all entrances are timed and tickets should be bought in advance via bilety.mnk.pl. Visiting time: 90mins.

J-5, ul. Pijarska 15, www.mnk.pl. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission 65/50zł, students 7-26 1zł, kids under 7 free, Tue free.

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Collegium Maius

Also known as the Jagiellonian University Museum, see the 14thcentury interiors and historical treasures of Copernicus’ alma mater. Tickets are timed and available online 10 days in advance via www. bilety.uj.edu.pl. | See p.54.

4 Rynek Underground

This hi-tech and highly popular museum takes visitors under the surface of the market square to explore the medieval merchant stalls that predate today’s Cloth Hall, and experience the city’s entire history - from its first settlers right up today - over the course of 6,000 metres of multimedia exhibits. Essentially an archaeological site full of touch-screens and holograms, highlights include a short film projected on a wall of smoke, a fantastic kids area with automated puppets, and the remains of an 11th-century cemetery replete with ‘vampire prevention burials’ (seriously). Tickets are timed and should be bought in advance online or from the ticket office in Krzysztofory Palace (Rynek 35). The museum entrance is located in the Cloth Hall opposite St. Mary’s Basilica. Visiting time: 90mins.

I-5, Rynek Główny 1, www.muzeumkrakowa.pl.

Open 10:00-19:00; Tue 10:00-14:00; Fri-Sun 10:0020:00; closed 2nd Mon of each month. Admission 36/32zł.

5 Wawel State Rooms

The main exhibition of castle interiors, the spectacular State Rooms include several rooms on the ground floor - all of which have retained their magnificent Renaissance-era timber ceilings - and the guest apartments upstairs. Full of luscious oil paintings, 16th-century tapestries, and some truly extraordinary wallcoverings, highlights include the Senator’s Hall - the largest room in the castle, which hosted the first royal wedding back in 1518. Tickets are timed and made available online at ebilet. wawel.krakow.pl 7 days in advance. Visiting time: 45mins.

I-7, Wawel 5. Closed Mon. Admission 35/25zł.

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For Art Lovers

Kraków is an absolute treasure trove for art history buffs. Our selections here skew more modern and contemporary.

1 Krakow National Museum, Main Building

The National Museum has 11 branches in Kraków, with this monolithic structureapparently built over the course of half a century from 1935 to 1989 - being the main administrative branch and landing spot for the institution’s most ambitious temporary exhibits. It’s worth finding out what’s on, and don’t be surprised if the temporary exhibit has a queue to get in or tickets for it are sold out on weekends. Permanent exhibits include the Gallery of Decorative Arts and the fabulous Gallery of 20th & 21st Century Polish Art on the top floor. The latter is worth a visit on its own, and will familiarise you with the most important Polish names in modern art. Visiting time: 2.5hrs.

G-6, Al. 3 Maja 1, www.mnk.pl. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission to permanent exhibits 35/25zł, students under 26 (with valid ID) 1zł, kids under 7 free; Tue free.

2 Museum of Photography (MuFo)

Opened in 2021, this new main branch of the only museum in PL devoted entirely to photography is located in a former Austrian barracks, modernised to host the institution’s permanent exhibition and changing temporary exhibits, plus a bookshop, library and reading room. The main exhibit - What Does the Photo Do? - takes a broad view of the medium across over 1000 objects, conveying the history, science, cultural and psychological impact of photography from its invention up to the present day. While well done, it leaves one wanting to see less cameras and more photos; consider the temporary exhibits if you’re more interested in the latter. Visiting time: 90mins.

L-3, ul. Rakowicka 22A. Open 10:00-18:00; Tue, Sat, Sun 11:00-19:00; closed Mon. Admission to permanent exhibit 23/15zł; Tue free. Temporary exhibit 15/10zł.

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'The Temptation of St. Anthony II' by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, 1921-22; Kraków National Museum.

3 Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK)

Located on the former grounds of Schindler’s Factory, this contemporary art centre presents provocative exhibits that will satisfy art fans. | See p.95.

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Bunkier Sztuki

Built in the 1960s, the concrete carbuncle known as the 'Art Bunker' stands alongside MOCAK as the city's best address for contemporary art. Recently modernised, inside you'll find three floors of groundbreaking art. Meanwhile, we await the reopening of the exterior cafe/restobar (slated for July 2024), - formerly one of the city's best beer gardens. Visiting time: 60mins.

I-5, Pl. Szczepański 3A. Open 12:00-19:00; closed Mon. Admission 22/12zł.

5 Zdzisław Beksiński Gallery

One of PL's most recognised and controversial 20th-century painters, Zdzisław Beksiński (1925-2005) is known for his large, almost luminous, emotionally-charged canvases depicting grotesque figures and apocalyptic landscapes. The themes of war, ruin, decay and deformity are prevalent in his work, which has been described as 'dystopian surrealism;' we'd call it a cross between H.R. Giger and Francis Bacon. This collection of 50 paintings in the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre (p.107) is perfectly presented in a dark room on black walls, where the only light is directly on the art itself. Visiting time: 40mins.

V-3, Al. Jana Pawła II 232. Open Thu-Sun 13:0019:00. Admission 20/15zł.

6 Jerzy Duda-Gracz Gallery

Adjacent to the Beksiński Gallery inside NCK (p.107), this 210m2 gallery exhibits almost 100 works by Jerzy Duda-Gracz (1941-2004). A prolific artist with a vast oeuvre, the most representative aspect of Duda-Gracz’s highly illustrative paintings is his grotesque, disfigured human caricatures. Portraying what he perceived as a deeply flawed and tragic world, his work provokes a strong emotional response in the viewer, but is also insightful and even humorous. Through his art he was a sharp critic of humanity’s intolerance, hypocrisy, laziness and consumerism. Visiting time: 45mins.

V-3, Al. Jana Pawła II 232. Open Thu-Sun 13:0019:00. Admission 20/15zł.

7 Szołayski House

This branch of the National Museum is devoted to Polish design, with temporary exhibits and two self-explanatory permanent galleries: 'Objects. Polish Design of the 20th & 21st Century’ and 'Sections. Polish Architecture of the 20th & 21st Centuries.’ Visiting time: 60mins.

I-5, Pl. Szczepański 9. Open 10:00-16:00; Tue 10:0018:00; closed Mon. Admission 18/12zł (permanent exhibits).

ART & MUSEUMS
Zdzisław Beksiński Gallery.
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'Two Generations' by Jerzy Duda-Gracz, 1974.

Niche & Noteworthy

Although specific in scope, these museums are absolutely worth the price of admission for interested parties.

1 19th Century Polish Art Gallery

This magnificent and historic exhibition inside the Cloth Hall showcases the major 19th century Polish art trends of portraiture and epic historical painting. Comprising just four rooms, the museum is refreshingly small, giving proper attention to each piece - some of which are enormous, and all of which are gorgeously framed. Almost everything by Jan Matejko here is rightly considered a national treasure, and the collection also includes works by Jacek Malczewski and Józef Chełmoński, as well as Władysław Podkowiński’s famous ‘Frenzy’ from 1894 (fragment shown on p.4). Like a small slice of the Louvre without the crowds, one of the perks of a visit is access to the magnificent cafe balcony overlooking the market square. Recommended. Visiting time: 40mins.

I-5, Cloth Hall. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Mon.

Admission 32/19zł, students under 26 (with valid ID) 1zł, kids under 7 free; Tue free.

2 Stained Glass Museum

This historic building was specifically designed to house a stained glass studio and has operated as one ever since opening in 1908. Artistic luminaries such as Stanisław Wyspiański and Józef Mehoffer created works here in the early 20th century, and the workshop remarkably retains much of its layout and atmosphere from those times. Today a ‘living museum,’ visiting is possible via guided tours, during which you’ll witness artists at work, learn the process of producing stained glass and see superb examples, including Wyspiański's famous 'Apollo' window, and 'Polonia' - recently completed from the artist's original design for the first time ever. The tour is offered in English at 12:00 and 15:00; purchase tickets online. The museum also offers workshops, a cafe and gift shop. Visiting time: 45mins.

G-6, Al. Krasińskiego 23, muzeumwitrazu.pl. Open 11:30-13:30, 14:30-16:30; Sat 10:00-17:00; closed Sun, Mon. Guided tours 50/40zł.

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The 19th Century Polish Art Gallery, overcompensating for its small size with enormous paintings.

3 Krzysztofory Palace

This 17th century Baroque palace on the market square houses the main branch of the Kraków Museum. The permanent exhibit tells the city’s story - past and present - through a lighthearted and interactive combination of history, magic and legend. Among the diverse and colourful exhibits you’ll see the iconic Lajkonik costume, brandish a medieval knight’s sword, and step inside a lifesized ‘szopka’ at this very kid-friendly museum. Tickets for all branches of the Kraków Museum are available here, and there’s also a large museum shop. Visiting time: 90mins.

I-5, Rynek Główny 35. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission 28/24zł, Tue free (permanent exhibit).

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Józef Mehoffer House

Mehoffer was one of the turn of the 20th century's artistic elite, a skilled stained-glass artist collaborating with Wyspiański on the interiors of numerous Kraków churches, as well as his own installations across Galicia. This, his house, was a meeting place for the city’s best artists and is a delight to visit, filled with elegant furnishings, Art Nouveau to impressionist-era art and many sketches, designs and finished stained glass pieces that attest to his important artistic legacy. You also won't find a more magical place to relax, read a book or grab a bite than the garden behind the house, presided over by Meho Cafe - one of the city's best-kept secrets. Visiting time: 45mins.

H-5, ul. Krupnicza 26. Open 10:00-16:00; Tue 10:0018:00; closed Mon. Admission 18/14zł, students under 26 (with valid ID) 1zł, kids under 7 free; Tue free.

Kościuszko Mound & Museum

A unique site that combines nature, engineering and heritage, head here on a nice day to pay respects to one of history’s most virtuous individuals. Dedicating his life to the cause of freedom, Tadeusz Kościuszko (17461817) fought in the American Revolution, freed his serfs, led an insurrection against foreign rule in Poland, and was basically America’s first abolitionist. Beloved in his homeland, upon his passing he was buried with the kings and a tribute in the form of an earthwork mound like that of city founder King Krak (p.100) was proposed. For three years, people brought soil from all over PL to add to the selected site overlooking the centre of Kraków. Completed in 1823, today Kościuszko Mound stands 34m high, 326m above sea level, and offers views of the Tatra Mountains on a clear day.

In the 1850s the occupying Austrians built a massive brick fortress around the Mound, inside which is the new Kościuszko Museum - a slightly bombastic multimedia exhibit that traces its subject’s heroic arc from spurned youth to commander of the Kościuszko Insurrection in 1794. Exiting onto the roof of the fortress, the winding climb to the mound’s peak may be tiring, but the panoramic views are fantastic. 4km west of the Rynek, getting there from the Old Town is currently a challenge due to road closures, but bus 101 goes straight there from Rondo Grunwaldzkie (H-9). Visiting time: 60mins. A-7, Al. Waszyngtona 1. Open 09:00-19:00. Admission 24/18zł.

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You don't need a ticket to visit the garden of the Mehoffer House.

Gifts & Souvenirs

It’s only natural to want to pick up a local souvenir, or find a nice gift that shows your friends and loved ones you were thinking about them while throwing back those pints. You may have noticed that Kraków has a giant souvenir gallery right in the middle of its market square, and while a stroll through the Cloth Hall (p.50) is a requisite experience, here are some alternatives worth considering.

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1 Local Spirits

Nothing says 'I've been to Poland’ like a suitcase of vodka. An easy souvenir, even if it’s not to your taste, Belvedere and Chopin are elite clear brands you can find in fancy gift sets, but flavoured vodkas like original Żubrówka (bison grass vodka) and Żołądkowa Gorzka (bitter stomach vodka, orange label) are certainly more unique, while also easy to find. Of course you’ll also find dozens of fruit flavours available in most alcohol shops; one recommended regional specialty is tarninówka, or sloe berry vodka, the fruit from which the nearby city of Tarnów takes its name. Miód pitny, or Polish mead, also bears mention for its medieval traditions and ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO) status; typically sold in ceramic bottles, in various strengths and sometimes flavoured with fruit, miód pitny (literally ‘drinkable honey’) also tastes great warmed up.

: BUY IT HERE:

The duty-free shops at Kraków Airport have a dangerously large selection of export vodkas and spirits, including tarninówka and miód pitny (if you look hard). For local herbal and fruit liqueurs (nalewki), however, head to Szambelan (I-6, ul. Bracka 9) or Niewódka (I-5, Pl. Szczepański 5), where you can taste samples before making a selection; the former is a shop with a wide range, the latter is a bar that sells their own bottles to-go.

2 Amber Jewellery

Honey alcohol isn’t the only golden nectar in town, there’s also plenty of amber. Though far from the Baltic Sea from which it hails, Kraków was a major stop on the Amber Road and you’ll find beautiful jewellery made from this fossilised resin all over the Old Town. Come back from PL without bringing baby some Baltic Gold and you’ve booked yourself a stint in the doghouse.

: BUY IT HERE:

Browse the stalls of the Cloth Hall, where prices are surprisingly competitive; stroll down ul. Grodzka (I-6), where you’ll find numerous amber galleries; head to the Amber Museum (J-5, ul. Św. Jana 2) for beautiful free exhibits and a top-notch shop.

3 Striped Flint

While we’re on the subject of gemstones and jewellery, Poland actually has its own unique stone, known as 'krzemień pasiasty,’ or 'striped flint.’ The only striped flint deposit in the world is located about 200km north of Kraków, where it has been mined since the early Bronze Age. In fact, the Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019. The grey and beige stripes of this regional wonder resemble the rolling of the sea, and striped flint jewellery has been steadily growing in popularity, prized for its rarity and inherent Polishness.

: BUY IT HERE:

Amber Jewellery (J-5, Pl. Mariacki 9).

Natura Sztuka (I-5, Św. Anny 1).

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Taste test and take home local vodkas from Szambelan.

4 Folk Pottery from Bolesławiec

Hailing from a small village in western Poland, Bolesławiec folk pottery is one of Poland’s most popular exports, and Kraków is a great place to start a collection for yourself or anyone else you know with a kitchen. Beloved for its simple hand-painted folk patterns, Bolesławiec is Polish design at its best - iconic, functional, extremely durable and oh so Polish. As the portfolio of patterns has expanded over the years, there is now truly something that will appeal to everyone, but the most traditional, iconic, original patterns are those with blue and white dots. Their products extend from bowls, plates, teacups, butter dishes, sugar bowls, pie dishes and other kitchenware to Christmas decorations, candleholders and other bits of decor. Trust us, if you’ve got an aunt or mother-in-law for whom you never know what to buy, this is the answer. Take caution, however. Buying Bolesławiec can be habit-forming.

: BUY IT HERE:

Niebieska Kropka (J-8, ul. Stradomska 15) - the city’s best selection.

Sławkowska Street (I-5) - find several ceramics shops on this street just off the market square.

5 Graphic Art & Posters

Poland has a rich tradition of graphic art, particularly poster art, which has developed as its own specific genre, with various schools and artists gaining national and even international renown as a result. In addition to posters for theatre productions, concerts, festivals and propaganda campaigns, during the PRL era Polish artists produced original posters for Hollywood blockbusters without having seen the films or knowing much about them. As a result, you can find unique, highly original Polish posters for some of your favourite films that will surprise and potentially delight you with their abstract representations.

: BUY IT HERE:

Visit one of Kraków’s two family-owned poster galleries - Galeria Plakatu (J-6, ul. Stolarska 8-10), or Dydo Poster Gallery (G-6, ul. Focha 1); both are amazing places to peruse and purchase limited edition prints, or collect some awesome postcards if you aren’t ready to travel with a poster tube.

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Discover the hipness of Polish poster art at Dydo Poster Gallery.

6 Slippers (Pantofle)

For first-timers in Poland (particularly our American friends with their ridiculous wall-to-wall carpeting), the idea of house slippers may seem a bit silly, but admit it - you love them. Wearing slippers around the home and having extra pairs for guests is simply part of Polish hospitality, and once you embrace it, why let go? Live here long enough and you’ll start travelling with your own pair, we promise. Women’s slippers, which are colourfully embroidered, are a particularly fashionable and very affordable gift from Poland. If you don’t know the exact size you need, does it really matter? They’re slippers, after all.

: BUY IT HERE:

Cloth Hall (I-5, Rynek Główny 1/3).

Krakuska Sztuka Ludowa (I-5, ul. Szewska 9).

chesspieces

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Wooden Chess Sets

While you’re scanning the stalls and shops of the Cloth Hall - both inside and out - keep your eyes peeled for handsome hand-carved chess sets, which are very affordable and make a nice present. Of particular note are the hexagonal threeperson sets - an interesting variant on the classic game which is probably new to most, particularly popular in Poland, and just as crazy (and fun!) as it sounds.

: BUY IT HERE:

Moje Szachy (L-10, Św. Benedykta 3) - if you’re a chess fanatic, or just an ardent admirer of craftsmanship, seek out Łukasz Wiciarz’s woodshop, where the sculptor can be found hard at work creating pieces for the beautiful sets available here.

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Hand-carved from Moje Szachy. [Photo c/o Kraków dla Mieszkańców.]

Getting Around

Although we firmly believe the best way to get around Kraków is on foot, the city boasts a comprehensive and easyto-use public transport system, as well as car share, bike share, motorised scooters and more.

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Slowing down and scared of the scrapyard? Make a new beginning among like-minded trams at the Kraków Engineering Museum (p.81): a continuing care community for trolleys on their twilight track.

Kraków Airport

For detailed information about getting to/from the airport, visit our website.

Trams & Buses

While Krakow has no underground metro system it does have an integrated bus and tram system which runs from 05:00-23:00, with night trams and buses continuing less frequently after that. Check timetables, figure out how to get from point A to point B, and buy tickets via krakow. jakdojade.pl - an invaluable navigation site and transport app.

Transport tickets can be purchased from the handy ticket machines (also in English) at major stops, on-board trams and buses, or electronically via the Jakdojade mobile application (recommended). Note that some older ticket machines take coins only, so it may be wise to have some handy.

Tickets are the same for trams and buses, and are timed, allowing you to change between tram or bus lines within the allotted time. The cheapest fare is good for 20mins at a cost of 4/2zł. By our estimation, this is about the time it should take to go 5-8 stops, depending on traffic, and ideal for travel around the Old Town, Kazimierz and Podgórze. If you’re going outside the centre (Nowa Huta, for example), we recommend you purchase a 60min ticket (6/3zł). 90min, 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, and unlimited weekend family passes are also options. Note that those over the age of 70 ride for free, as do kids until age 7. ISIC and student cards are valid for discounted tickets, but you must carry your ID and be under 26.

Most importantly, if you purchase your ticket via a ticket machine, you must stamp it immediately on boarding the tram or bus in the small machines on-board, even if you bought your ticket on-board. Inspectors regularly travel on the lines handing out very costly fines to those without valid or proper tickets. | jakdojade.pl

Rideshare & Taxis

You’ll be happy to know that some of the rideshare apps likely already on your phone will work in Kraków, including Bolt, Free Now and Uber. In fact, rideshare services and taxis are basically indistinguishable in Poland at this point, with drivers typically operating on multiple platforms at the same time. Note, however, that rideshare providers don’t have the same permissions as licensed taxi drivers and may not be able to take you as close to your destination, or get you there as directly. If you want to make sure you’re getting an actual taxi, download the iCar app or call (+48) 12 653 55 55.

Car Rental & Car Share

All most travellers need to rent a car in PL is 18 years of age, a credit card (not debit), and a valid foreign driver’s licence. Note, however, that those from countries that didn’t ratify the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (United States, China, Australia...) cannot legally drive on their home licences; an International Driver’s Licence is technically required. Though some companies will still rent you a car, you assume full liability for any damages if you get behind the wheel; you also run the risk of getting a citation from the police for driving without a valid licence. If you’re looking to leave the country, be aware that you can’t cross the Polish borders into Ukraine, Belarus or Lithuania in a rental car. Major car rental companies like Avis and Hertz can be found at the airport, as well as in the city centre.

Poland also has a very good car share service: Traficar. Download Traficar’s own mobile app, or access this service through the Bolt app (Bolt Drive), to get access to their fleet of cars parked around Kraków. For short trips the cost is comparable to taking a taxi; the day rate option is a great alternative to traditional car rental, and you don’t have to pay for gas. In both cases just park the car in a legal space within their service zone when you’re finished. You can also drive to and drop the vehicle off in another Polish city where Traficar operates. As such, this is a great option for day and weekend trips, as well as big shopping trips, or simply picking up friends at the airport. Note that like any car rental, however, you need a valid driver’s licence recognised in PL.

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Bike Rental & Bike Share

While Kraków isn't exactly a great cycling city, the centre is very flat and authorities have been doing an admirable job of adding more bike paths and improving road surfaces. Having two wheels under you is not only a great way to get some exercise while getting around, but also a good way to explore more of the centre and reach attractions beyond it like Zakrzówek (p.12), Nowa Huta (p.104) and Kraków’s Mounds (p.33, 100).

Embarrassingly, Kraków does not have its own city bike share system at the moment, but a decent number of electric bikes are available around the centre of town via the Bolt transport app. There are also plenty of bike rental companies in the centre of town, most of which offer both regular bikes and electric-assisted bicycles, as well as bike tours and bike repair services.

Cruising Kraków

- I-5, ul. Sławkowska 6A (Old Town).

Kraków Bike Tour

- I/J-5, ul. Sławkowska 11 (Old Town);

- J-8, ul. Józefa 12 (Kazimierz).

Electric Scooters

Although agitating to some, electric motorised scooters provide a relatively cheap, efficient and environmentally-friendly way to get around Kraków. At the moment the most useful e-scooter mobile apps are Tier, Bolt (electric bikes also available) and Lime (also available through the Uber app); all three have similar prices and restrictions. Note that scooters are automatically slowed down and cannot be parked anywhere between the Planty and the market square. You can only end your ride in a designated scooter parking spot, so plan ahead. If you find the mobile app options frustrating, you can rent an e-scooter by the hour or the day from Cracow Scooters (+48 782 78 26 82), located in the Wawel Parking Garage (I-7, Plac Na Groblach 24).

Bike Tripping

For insight on some of the best bike trips beyond the centre of Kraków, including maps, distances and estimated times, visit our website.

GETTING AROUND 40

Boutique - Atelier

CRACOW BONARKA 11 Kamieńskiego Street, GALERIA KRAKOWSKA 5 Pawia Street lilou.pl

MARK STORIES OF YOUR LIFE BY CREATING UNIQUE ENGRAVED JEWELERY
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Symbols of precious moments

Old Town

Full of majestic architecture, cobbled pedestrian lanes and priceless cultural treasures, Kraków's Old Town casts a compelling spell of magic and grandeur. Start here.

Kraków Market Square, with Wawel peaking out coyly from the back. [Photo by Przemek Czaja, madeinkrakow.pl.]

PlacBiskupi

Stefana Batorego Garbarska Biskupia

Krupnicza

Studencka Podwale

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Holy Cross Church Holy Trinity Basilica Krzysztofory Palace Bagatela Theatre Archdiocesan Museum of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła Archaeology Museum St. Barbara's Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace St. Casimir's Czartoryski Museum St. Florian's Pod Baranami Czartoryski Museum - Arsenal Kraków City Hall Stary Teatr Hutten-Czapski Museum Kino Agrafka Palace of the Arts Galeria Krakowska Hipolit House Natural History Museum St. Anne's Pharmacy Museum Szołayski House Bunkier Sztuki Philharmonic MICET Jan Matejko House Tadeusz Kantor Gallery - Workshop Geology Museum Copernicus Monument The Zbruch Idol Rynek Underground 19th Century Polish Art Gallery Sheraton Grand H15 Francuski Campanile Gródek Unicus Palace Wyspiański Amber Design Residence Wawel Saski Amber Boutique Pod Różą Unicus Radisson Blu Mikołaj Pod Wawelem Best Western Plus Kraków Old Town Polski Pod Białym Orłem Stary Wielopole H15 Luxury Palace Bonerowski Palace Grand Hotel Polonia Vienna House by Wyndham Andel’s Leonardo Boutique Hotel Copernicus Matejko Holiday Inn City Center Mercure Old Town Filharmonia Dworzec Główny Starowiślna Uniwersytet
Pl. Ws. Świętych Teatr Słowackiego Teatr Bagatela Św.Gertrudy Wawel Stary Kleparz Poczta Główna © OpenStreetMap contributors. Available under the Open Database License. 1 cm = 77 m Scale 1:7 700 0 50 100 150 m
Jagielloński

Walking Tour

This self-guided sightseeing route leads you from the main medieval entrance into the city from the north - Floriańska Gate (#3) - to Wawel Royal Castle in the south, via the Market Square (#7). Known as the ‘Royal Route,’ this was the coronation path of Poland’s kings and queens for 400 years, though our route deviates from the historical one to take in more of the most important and interesting sites. Covering only about 2km, if done correctly - that is with a few culture, food and beverage breaks - it should take a few hours. Find recommendations for the latter on p.60, and visiting time estimates for major cultural sites at the end of their descriptions.

'Planty’ Park

Kraków’s Old Town gets its unique shape from its medieval defensive walls, which once extended north from Wawel Castle like two arms encircling the city. During Kraków’s ‘modernisation’ as a part of Austrian Galicia, these walls were razed (with the exception of the small section along Floriańska Gate (#3)) and the scummy moat surrounding them was filled in. While today it’s easy to lament the destruction of Kraków’s ancient city gates and towers, we can at least appreciate the green pedestrian parkway that replaced them. Known simply as ‘the Planty’ (Plants), this 3km teardrop-shaped park is today one of Kraków’s most charming and unique features, filled with old trees, flowers, benches and historic monuments. Strolling its circuit would take over 1hr, but watch it fly by in good company. A popular place for street musicians to perform, drunks to drink (note that drinking in public will win you a fine from the police) and couples to make out, if you haven’t smooched someone on a park bench in the Planty before leaving town, well then you haven’t finished your itinerary.

Słowacki Theatre

Today regarded today as an architectural masterpiece, the Słowacki Theatre initially ignited fierce criticism due to the demolition of the medieval Church of the Holy Ghost to make room for it. Completed in 1893, Jan Zawiejski modelled his Baroque design on the Paris Opera and the structure is distinguished for its elaborate facade decorated with allegorical figures. The foyer and marble staircase are supreme examples of Art Nouveau design, and the lavish stage curtain by Henryk Siemiradzki is worth seeing. Typically open during productions only (all of which include English subtitles), guided tours can be arranged by phone (tel. +48 12 424 45 25).

J-5, Pl. Św. Ducha 1.

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City Defensive Walls

Pijarska Street leads you along the only surviving fragments of the city’s medieval defences. After the Tatar invasion of 1241, which destroyed most of the city (and was made forever famous by the St. Mary’s bugle call, p.49), Kraków began building a perimeter of fortified walls surrounded by a moat. Consisting of two 2.5m thick walls - a lower outer wall, and a 7m high inner wall - with 10m high towers on top, the system eventually grew to include 47 towers and 8 city gates. By the 19th century these defences were obsolete, costly to maintain, and the moat had become a health hazard. Torn down in 1810, this section along ul. Pijarska (including the Barbican (#5) and City Arsenal) was saved thanks to the determination of Jagiellonian professor Feliks Radwański, who convincingly argued to the Senate that removing the walls would leave the city exposed to dangerous ‘northern winds’ which could wreak havoc if unleashed, particularly upon ladies’ dresses as they went in and out of St. Mary’s Basilica (#8).

Today the Haberdashers’ Tower (so named because the Haberdashers guild was responsible for manning the tower) gives entry to a seasonal museum where you’ll learn a bit more about Kraków’s dozens of lost towers. Mostly it gives you an opportunity to walk between the few that remain, the primary reward for which is great views and photo ops from the balcony of Floriańska Gate. Visiting time: 20mins.

J-4/5, ul. Pijarska. Open Apr 1 - Oct 31 only, 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission 18/14; includes admission to the Barbican.

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Florianska Street and the Florianska Gate (#3).

Floriańska Gate

Erected in 1307, this Gothic gateway tower was the most important of the city’s eight medieval gates, as it was the Old Town entry point for royal processions on their way to Wawel. These processions actually started at St. Florian’s Church on Plac Matejki (J-4) and passed over a drawbridge into the Barbican, which was attached to Floriańska Gate via a long brick defensive bridge.

Standing 34.5m tall, including the Baroque ‘helmet’ added in the 17th century, Floriańska Gate features a stone eagle on the side facing the Barbican, and a 19th century bas-relief of Saint Florian facing Floriańska Street. In addition to an iron grate that was raised and lowered, there is an altar in the actual passageway, and a chapel hidden above in the tower itself (accessible via the Defensive Walls Museum (#2) in spring/summer). | J-4.

Czartoryski Princes Lane

This small charming section of ul. Pijarska hosts a colourful outdoor art market every day, where local artists hang their works directly on the medieval walls between Floriańska Gate and the 14th century Carpenters’ Tower. Further on, the square is dominated by buildings historically associated with the Czartoryski Museum, including the beautiful 'Klasztorek’ building (ul. Pijarska 6), the City Arsenal (Pijarska 8) - located between the Joiners’ Tower and Carpenters’ Tower, and the Czartoryski Palace (Pijarska 15) - today the primary home of Kraków’s most famous and historic museum collection (p.29). All three buildings were given their present Neo-Gothic style in the mid-19th century when the museum was moved to Kraków from Puławy and they were adapted to accommodate it; notice that all three are connected on the second storey by covered brick passageways.

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View of Czartoryski Princes Lane from Floriańska Gate (accessed via the City Defensive Walls Museum (#2)).

In front of the Arsenal stands a sculpture by DanishIcelandic artist Berthel Thordwaldsen (1770-1884). Labelled simply 'Mercury,’ the full title of the piece is actually 'Mercury Before the Assassination of Argus,’ making it a bit more than it appears. According to Greek Myth, Argus was a giant with hundreds of eyes, assigned by the goddess Hera to keep her husband Zeus away from his lover Io, who Hera had turned into a white heifer (cow). Zeus sent Apollo/Mercury to kill Argus and bring him the heifer, which he did by first lulling the behemoth to sleep with his lute. Take a look at the sculpture now and you’ll see that Apollo/Mercury has accomplished this and is now about to deliver the killing blow. | J-4.

Barbican

Passing through Floriańska Gate and standing between it and the mighty fortress known as the Barbican, you are actually inside what was once a fortified tunnel connecting the two; this space served as a final checkpoint before entering the city. The external entrance to the Barbican was actually on its northwest side, entered via a drawbridge over the moat.

Built at the end of the 15th century, the Barbican was the showpiece of the city’s medieval defences. With 3m-thick walls, this masterpiece of medieval military engineering proved impenetrable during several sieges from the 16-18th centuries and is today one of the only surviving structures of its kind in Europe. Built in Gothic style, the structure is topped by seven turrets and includes 130 slots used by archers and riflemen.

Today the Barbican can be visited as a seasonal museum, where you’ll learn more about Kraków’s medieval defences, but can also run around its chambers.

| J-4. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission 18/14zł; includes admission to the City Defensive Walls.

Jan Matejko Monument

Located just beside the Barbican, this monument pays homage to one of Poland’s greatest painters, and Kraków’s most beloved sons: Jan Matejko (1838-1893). Famous for his epic historical paintings - which have been reproduced enough to become imprinted in the national psycheMatejko’s work can be seen throughout Kraków from the Czartoryski Museum (p.29), to the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery (p.32), to the polychromes inside St. Mary’s Basilica (p.48). Educated in Kraków and later principal of the Academy of Fine Arts, Matejko also trained an entire generation of great Polish painters, including Wyspiański, Mehoffer and Malczewski. This impressive monument is the work of Jan Tutaj, and located along what was Matejko’s daily walk from his home to his job at the Arts Academy (which today bears his name) on nearby Plac Matejki (also named in his honour). To learn more about Matejko, visit his home - today a museum at ul. Floriańska 41 | J-5.

Choose Your Adventure!

Follow Matejko’s route to the imposing Grunwald Monument on Plac Matejki? Then perhaps on to the daily Stary Kleparz food market on Rynek Kleparski?

Take a culture break in the Czartoryski Museum (p.29) to see a surprisingly small Da Vinci portrait or Chopin’s death mask?

No tickets for Czartoryski? That’s okay, check out an ancient apothecary, including an alchemy workshop in the basement, at the Pharmacy Museum (ul. Floriańska 25).

Too tired for a museum? Take a break in Jama Michalika cafe (ul. Floriańska 45) - the famous clubhouse of Kraków’s Art Nouveauera creatives.

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Original entrance to the Barbican and Kraków's Royal Route.
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Main Market Square

Following the Royal Route down Floriańska - the city’s principal commercial street - deposits you directly onto Kraków’s main market square (‘Rynek Główny’) in front of St. Mary’s Basilica. Originally laid out in 1257, the grid-like urban plan of the Old Town and its central square have changed little in the centuries since. Measuring 200 metres squared (40,000 square metres), the Rynek ranks as the largest medieval square in Europe, and is surrounded by elegant townhouses, all with their own unique names and histories. Lined with cafes and restaurants, and filled with people, pigeons, performers and horse-drawn carriages, this is the city’s social gravitational point, and has always

St. Mary’s Basilica

One of the most dazzling and important churches in the country, this brick beauty was rebuilt in its present Gothic three-nave form way back in 1320. The northern tower was raised to 80m high and made into a watchtower in the late 15th century. It is from here that the hejnał mariacki - the city’s famous bugle call - is played every hour on the hour; don’t miss it.

St. Mary’s breathtaking interiors, including a deep blue vaulted ceiling covered in gold stars, are absolutely worth seeing. The magnificent wooden altar is considered a masterpiece of Gothic sculpture and was the principal work of German

been a place of historic happenings, including festivals, fairs, concerts, parades, protests and even executions. It was here that homage to the King was sworn until 1596, here that Tadeusz Kościuszko inspired the locals to revolt against foreign rule in 1794, and here also that ‘Der Führer’ himself announced the square’s name change to ‘Adolf Hitler Platz’ in 1939. Fortunately the moniker didn’t last long and today the Rynek is again the biggest stage for Polish culture in the world. Absolutely packed with historical monuments and places of interest, make sure you take a stroll through the Cloth Hall (#11), hear the hourly bugle call played from St. Mary’s tower, and take a seat somewhere to soak up the atmosphere. | I-5.

artist Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz) from 1477-1489; it depicts the Virgin Mary’s Quietus amongst the apostles. The colourful wall decorations were designed by Polish painter Jan Matejko, and carried out in the late 19th century by the master and his famous students Stanisław Wyspiański and Józef Mehoffer - who also did the church’s stained glass windows.

Although available for worship without a fee via the main entrance, tourists are asked to buy tickets (sold in a separate building) and only enter via a side entrance during the hours listed here.

J-5. Open 11:30-18:00; Sun 14:00-18:00. Admission 15/8zł, kids under 8 free.

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View of St. Mary's from Noworolski Cafe.
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Kraków Bugle Call

One of Kraków’s most celebrated traditions is the hejnał mariacki – a 40-second bugle call played every hour on the hour in each of the four cardinal directions by local firemen from the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica. First mentioned in 1392, Kraków’s hejnał (pronounced “heynow”) was likely played at dawn and dusk to signal the raising and lowering of the city gates, but bugle calls were also used to warn of fire, invasion and other dangers. In 1838 the tune began to be played at noon, making Kraków the first Polish city where the exact time was given. Since 1927 the noontime hejnał has been broadcast live on Polish radio, transforming the tune into a national symbol.

Listen carefully and you’ll notice that Kraków’s bugle call seems to end rather abruptly. Although it’s unclear when this started, legend goes that one morning a city guardsman saw an army of Tartar warriors just beyond the city walls and played the hejnał to call the slumbering city to arms. As he did, an arrow pierced his throat, thus ending the tune and his tenure as a guard. Was the city saved? Probably not (the Tartars sacked the city several times in its early history), but henceforth the unfinished note became a hejnał tradition in honour of the brave bugler who died before finishing the melody.

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[Photo by Przemek Czaja; madeinkrakow.pl]

Adam Mickiewicz Monument

Proudly poised in the middle of the market square is Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), Poland’s greatest literary hero. Known as the ‘Father of Polish Romanticism,’ his epic poems and dramas served as inspiration for insurrections against the imperial powers that had partitioned Poland out of existence in the late 18th century. Here he stands atop a large pedestal surrounded by symbolic representations of the Motherland, Science & Learning, Poetry, and Patriotism. Ironically, this work by Teodor Rygier lost the design competition, but the public demanded it be built. Originally unveiled in 1898, like so many other symbols of national pride, it was destroyed by the Germans during WWII, and this copy is from 1955. As it happens, Mickiewicz never actually visited Kraków until 35 years after his death, when his body was laid to rest in the Royal Crypts of Wawel Cathedral (p.64). | I-5.

St. Adalbert’s Church

This mad mix of pre-Roman, Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture is remarkable for being Kraków’s oldest church, and it’s

still an active place of worship. The earliest parts of the building date to the 11th century, thus pre-dating the Rynek and explaining its seemingly random position within it. If it’s open, a look inside is interesting, not least because the floor sits some two metres below the surface of the main square. | I-6.

Cloth Hall

The iconic showpiece at the centre of the market square, Kraków’s Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) is essentially one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, and its historical development mirrors that of the city itself. Proof of a structure at this site dates back to the mid-13th century; when King Kazimierz the Great approved construction of a purpose-built trading hall in the mid-14th century, however, Kraków’s importance as an east-west trading post vastly increased and the city thrived. After a fire in the mid16th century, the Cloth Hall was given a Renaissance facelift, replete with gargoyles, making it the most magnificent building in all of Kraków.

Though the name ‘Sukiennice’ literally refers to textiles and fabrics, Kraków’s Cloth Hall saw an array

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Does beer taste better if it’s imbibed in the sun outside Kraków’s Cloth Hall? Yes, yes it
by W. Wandzel, wandzelphoto.com.]
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of commodities bought and sold in its merchant stalls, including wax, spices, leather and silk, as well as lead and salt from the nearby Wieliczka mines (p.111). To this day it is still crammed with merchant stalls selling amber, lace, leather and woodwork, plus plenty of tourist tat, and a stroll through its central thoroughfare is essential.

In addition to the trading stalls, the Cloth Hall harbours several other areas that are worth your time. In 1879, despite the country having been partitioned for nearly a century, the first Polish National Museum was established on the upper floor, making the Cloth Hall the focus of a huge upsurge of Polish patriotism. Known today as the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery (p.32), some of the museum’s massive historical paintings occupy entire walls and are well worth a look. Enter through the museum to also access Cafe Szał, which occupies the fantastic first-floor terrace (weather dependent) overlooking the market square and St. Mary’s.

Down below on the ground floor, the historic 1910 Noworolski Cafe also boasts enviable outdoor seating, but make sure you see the interior’s wonderful Art Nouveau motifs by Józef Mehoffer. The east side of the Cloth Hall is also the entry point for Rynek Underground (p.29), which takes you below the surface and back in time to trace the development of the market square; one of Kraków’s most popular museums, you may want to get your tickets a day in advance. | I-5.

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Open since the 1500s, the customer service in here is still medieval. [Photo by G. Ziemiański, fotohuta.pl.]

Town Hall Tower

This 70-metre tower is the only remaining element of Kraków’s Town Hall complex. Dating back to the 14th century, numerous additions, fires and renovations had the buildings looking like a bit of a hodgepodge by the early 19th century and locals were actually calling for their removal. In 1817 the decision was taken to tear down a granary attached to the Town Hall, but during the demolition the Town Hall proper was damaged and apparently one thing led to another. To get an idea of what it once looked like, find the small replica on the west side of the tower. Now consider that between the Cloth Hall and St. Adalbert’s Church there was also a large building called the Great Scales, with a Small Scales building beside it, and you start to realise that Kraków’s Rynek was once much more cluttered. [Both those buildings were also torn down in the 19th century and you can see their foundations in the Rynek Underground Museum (p.29).]

Today the 14th-century Town Hall Tower stands as a prime example of Polish Gothic architecture, and few realise that it actually leans some 55cm. The interior museum doesn't offer much beyond some medieval costumes, old photos, info about its clock mechanism, semi-decent views and lots of stairs. Visiting time: 30mins.

I-5. Open March to end of October only, 10:00-18:00; Mon 10:00-15:00. Admission 18/14zł; Mon free.

Eros Bendato

Beside the Town Hall Tower you’ll find one of Kraków’s most well-known landmarks and popular meeting places - a giant, toppled bust titled ‘Eros Bendato’ (Eros Bound). Inevitably serving as a backdrop for almost every tourist who visits Kraków (your turn!), the bronze body part is the work of Polish artist Igor Mitoraj (1944-2014). Fans of his work can find another large sculpture in the charming courtyard of Collegium Luridicum, across from the Church of Saints Peter & Paul (#21). | I-5.

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12 13 Sunrise glow-up on the Town Hall Tower and Cloth Hall.
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Mitoraj’s monument to empty-headedness.

Piotr Skrzynecki Monument

Before departing the market square, take note of one more monument opposite Eros - that of Piotr Skrzynecki (1930-1997). Always sharply dressed with fresh flowers in hand, Piotr is right at home as a loyal patron of Vis a Vis - one of the oldest bars on the market square. He’s also only a few doors down from Piwnica Pod Baranami, the legendary cabaret he founded in 1956. Skrzynecki was an essential component of the Cracovian art scene - acting, directing, writing, critiquing, organising unusual cultural events, throwing far-out birthday bashes and being an all-around eccentric. His legacy lives on, and you can get a taste of it by dropping into Pod Baranami for a drink (Rynek 27, into the courtyard and down the cellar stairs). | I-5.

Choose Your Adventure!

If you’re not having a drink with Piotr, consider traversing busy and often raucous ul. Szewska to ul. Krupnicza (H-5) - Kraków’s first ‘woonerf.’ Lined with trees and gastro points, it’s a good place to get off the tourist trail.

Take a detour to visit Plac Szczepański (I-5) - a plaza lined with Art Nouveau architecture, a few museums and some decent hangouts (check out Charlotte for coffee, Morskie Oko for Polish food and Betel for beers).

Follow the red line to Copernicus’ alma mater.

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Join us for an authentic Italian experience full of the small, simple pleasures that bring fulfilment to life.

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Ul. Sławkowska 13-15 Kraków telefon: +48 506-820-222

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Have a drink with Pete at Vis a Vis. [Photo by Zygmunt Put.]
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Collegium Maius

On aptly named Jagiellońska Street you’ll find Collegium Maius, the oldest building of Jagiellonian University, which is the second-oldest university in Central Europe. Built as the uni’s main campus in the late 1300s, a century later it was redesigned as the lateGothic structure surrounding the picturesque arcaded courtyard that has survived to this day. While professors lived and worked upstairs, it was in the ground floor lecture halls in the 1490s that Nicolaus Copernicus developed the critical faculties (or just doodled in his notebook) that would later lead to him to revolutionise our understanding of the universe.

Today a museum, 60min tours in English are given Mon-Fri at 13:00, while shorter 30min tours in English are also available most weekdays until 13:00; go to www.bilety.uj.edu.pl to see what times are available. Visiting without a guide is also possible Mon-Fri 13:30-17:00 and Sat 10:00-15:00. Inside you’ll see the grand lecture hall, old refectory, professors’ quarters, library and treasury, observing fabulous interiors, medieval instruments and uni

memorabilia along the way, as well as the world’s oldest globe depicting the Americas.

Another highlight of visiting is the courtyard clock, from which wooden historical figures appear and parade past to music from the mid-16th century every two hours between 09:00 and 17:00. There are also typically temporary exhibits you can visit independently (with their own pricing and opening hours). The building’s courtyard also houses a gift shop and cafe.

I-5, ul. Jagiellońska 15. Courtyard open 09:00-18:00, free entry. Museum admission 17/10zł; Wed 13:30-17:00 free.

Collegium Novum

Built in 1873-1887 and opened for Jagiellonian University’s 500th anniversary, Collegium Novum (Latin: New College) was designed in Neo-Gothic style to match Collegium Maius (Main College). In addition to the gorgeous façade, the building contains a beautiful assembly hall (Aula) where a painting of Austria’s Franz Joseph I hung until a group of students famously shredded it in a symbolic act calling for the restoration of

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Collegium Maius - built back when the Sun still revolved around the Earth!

an independent Polish Republic in 1918. Several important paintings remain, however, including portraits of university founders Kazimierz the Great and Władysław Jagiełło, and Jan Matejko’s Copernicus: Conversation with God. Today the university’s administrative centre, Collegium Novum is not necessarily open to tourists, but you might be able to have a poke around if you can pass yourself off as a student. A monument to Copernicus stands nearby.

I-6, ul. Gołębia 24.

Bishop’s Palace & Papal Window

A pleasing stroll through the Planty will soon bring you to the Bishop’s Palace - sneakily the second largest palace in Kraków (after Wawel) and the residence of Kraków’s bishops since it was first built in the 14th century. Today the Palace is famous for having been the residence of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla from 1958 to 1978, before he became Pope John Paul II. During his hometown visits as Pope he would often make evening appearances in the 'Papal Window’ to address the crowds below - a tradition which Pope Francis continued during his visit in 2016. A beautiful mosaic image of JPII makes the particular window easy to identify, and during papal anniversaries you can be sure the area across the street will be festooned with flowers and candles. The palace itself is off-limits, but the courtyard is open to tourists where you’ll find the city’s first monument of the Polish Pope, erected in 1980.

I-6, ul. Franciszkańska 3. Courtyard open 09:00 until dusk.

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Collegium Novum.
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St. Francis Basilica

Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, the interior of St. Francis Basilica is absolutely worth popping in for, even if you could care less about looking at another church (trust us). Dating back to the 13th century, this was actually Kraków’s first brick building. At the end of the 19th century, resident artistic genius Stanisław Wyspiański - founder of Poland’s Art Nouveau movement, and subject to his own museum (H-6, Pl. Sikorskiego 6) - was commissioned to renovate the main nave, and he did so with colourful floral patterns on the walls that deftly balance the organic and geometric. He also designed eight gorgeous stained glass windows, including the controversial, iconic and absolutely must-see centrepiece,' 'God the Father.’ A working church, mass is frequent, so please be respectful.

I-6, Pl. Wszystkich Świętych 5. Open 10:0016:00; Sat 13:00-15:00.

Wyspiański Pavilion

Following his work on St. Francis Basilica, Wyspiański was commissioned to design a triptych of windows for Wawel Cathedral (p.64). He chose to do portraits of three figures from Polish history: Henryk Pobożny (a 13th century ruler killed in battle with the Mongols), King Kazimierz the Great (14th century ruler remembered as one of PL’s ‘greatest’) and St. Stanisław (11th century Bishop of Kraków and patron saint of PL). Martyrs Henryk (on the left when outside the

building) and Stanisław (on the right) are shown at the moment of their deaths, while Kazimierz’s bare skull bears the royal crown - a vision based on what Wyspiański saw when present at the opening of the king’s casket 600 years after his death. Deemed too grotesque and controversial at the time, the project was shelved for some 100 years before Piotr Ostrowski of the Kraków Stained Glass Museum (p.32) created windows using Wyspiański’s original designs for the first time, and a building specifically for displaying them was erected here in 2007.

Curious for its facade of ceramic tiles which rotate to adjust the light, and for the fact that it is otherwise poorly suited for the display of stained glass (facepalm), this very slim building requires visitors to enter its narrow corridor to see the windows illuminated during the day. When open it is worth entering, however, as this building also hosts Kraków Story - a store that sells products, gifts and souvenirs exclusively made by Cracovian brands and artists (notably in contrast to the Cloth Hall).

Across from the back door of the Pavilion you have the Wielopolski Palace, built in the 16th century; if you’re wondering where the city’s administrative headquarters moved after the demolition of the Town Hall, this is the answer (not open to the public).

I-6, Pl. Wszystkich Świętych 2. Open 09:00-20:00.

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Wyspiański's 'God the Father' - possibly the world's most beautiful window.

Grodzka Street

Turning onto ul. Grodzka, you are now officially back on the ‘Royal Route.’ One of Kraków’s oldest, busiest and most commercial streets, here you’ll find plenty of distractions (try not to get run over by a horse-drawn carriage), including dozens of shops, amber galleries and restaurants. Keep an eye out for the ‘Bar Mleczny Pod Temidą’ (Grodzka 43) - one of Kraków’s oldest and most high-profile milk bars from the communist era. If you’re up for the kind of food tourism that would send the Michelin folks running, step inside. | I/J-6/7.

Church of Saints Peter & Paul

With large sculptures of the Twelve Apostles atop the church gate, six saints set in the facade itself, plus plenty of tourists, singers and street performers, there always seems to be a crowd in front of this early 17th century former Jesuit church. Not only is this the largest of Kraków’s historical churches, it’s also the first Baroque

building in present-day Poland. Lacking the decorative excess of later Baroque works, enter the grand but austere interior on a Thursday morning and you might catch a demonstration of the church’s 46.5m Foucault Pendulum - a device invented by French physicist Leon Foucault in 1851 which proves the earth’s rotation.

The church’s crypt holds the tomb of Jesuit priest Piotr Skarga, famous for his oratory skills and author of Lives of the Saints (1577) - the most popularly read Polish language book until the 1900s (no comment). [That’s Skarga’s stern countenance haunting the square opposite the church, seemingly ready to yell ‘get off my lawn!’ at any skateboarders.] Since 2010 the crypt of Sts. Peter & Paul Church has been the home of the National Pantheon of Poles distinguished in the arts, science and culture; most recently composer Krzysztof Penderecki was buried here in 2022.

J-7, ul. Grodzka 52A. Open 09:00-17:00; Sun 13:30-18:00.

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The Church of Saints Peter & Paul - Baroque done tastefully.

St. Andrew’s Church

With Peter & Paul’s set back from the road, it’s actually St. Andrew’s that dominates views down ul. Grodzka. One of the best-preserved Romanesque buildings in Poland, St. Andrew’s is one of the oldest buildings in Kraków and also a rare example of a fortress church. Built between 1079 and 1098, it was known in those days as the ‘Lower Castle,’ with the Upper one on Wawel Hill. It was here that, as the rest of the city was burned and looted, most of Kraków's residents withstood the 1241 Mongol invasion - the same catastrophe that famously struck down the bugler mid-note (p.49), after which the city decided to build proper defensive walls (p.45). The Baroque steeples were added in 1639 and the interiors were given a much more ostentatious refurb than the Baroque church next door; if you get inside, check out the pulpit shaped like a ship on the seas. J-7, ul. Grodzka 54.

Kanonicza Street

Crossing St. Mary Magdalene Square - so named for the church that stood here from the 13th to early- 19th century - we arrive on one of Kraków’s oldest and most picturesque streets, a cobbled lane lined with superb Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The 14th century Bishop Ciołek Palace at no. 17 is today a museum of religious art, while no. 19 next door was once the residence of the future Pope John Paul II and today houses a museum devoted to him. At the end of the street was one of the city gates, and the last building on the right, no. 25, held the royal bathhouse in the 1300s. Later famed Polish chronicler Jan Długosz lived here, and in the 1870s the Wyspiański family also resided here.

It’s uncertain if we have Długosz to thank for this saucy tale from the bathhouse days, but let’s finish with a flourish. Apprehensive about her arranged marriage to Lithuanian Grand Duke Jagiełło - who was rumoured to have gigantic genitals - future Queen Jadwiga sent her servants to spy on the manhood of her husband-to-be. Whatever the report back, she seems to have approved and the couple got married, taking up residence at Wawel Royal Castle - at the foot of which you now stand. Congrats for making it this far, turn the page to find somewhere to relax, or dive right into the castle complex on p.62. | I-7.

“Pod Aniołami – Under the Angels” is an extraordinary place. With its historical 13th-century interiors and brilliant cuisine based on Polish culinary traditions it brings you closer to the medieval city. This place is famed for marinated meats grilled and smoked on hardwood from beech trees, and for other old Polish dishes.

Restauracja „Pod Aniołami” ul. Grodzka 35, 31-001 Kraków www.podaniolami.pl e-mail: restauracja@podaniolami.pl tel.:+48/12 421-39-99 / PodAniolamiRestaurant

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Eat & Drink

Long famous for its dusky candlelight cafes and labyrinthine cellar clubs, Kraków has also become a showcase for the latest gastronomy trends, steadily gaining a reputation as a world-class dining destination. What follows are some favourite venues near the Walking Route. For full details and additional recommendations, visit our website.

COFFEE & BREAKFAST

Camelot Lulu

J-5, ul. Św. Tomasza 13

Redolent of a pre-war opera house café, and great for coffee, bubbly, breakfast or lunch, this place captures the atmosphere all of Kraków should aspire to.

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Charlotte

I-5, Pl. Szczepański 2

Almost too hip for its own good, this Parisian-style bakery/bistro/ cafe is ideal for early risers, or those who enjoy a glass of wine after work.

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Gossip

J-5, ul. Św. Jana 30

Just off the tourist trail, this charming café exists to break your fast, serving really good sandwiches and sweet or savoury breakfasts all day from 08:00.

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CASUAL DINING

Chimera

I-5, ul. Św. Anny 3

This gorgeous, foreign-friendly courtyard buffet offers fast and healthy eats, and may be the most pleasant budget dining option in town. Perfect for a pit stop.

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Czerwone Korale

J-5, ul. Mikołajska 14

You’ll polish your plate in this cheerful, colourful and cheap Polish restaurant offering all the standards - delicious and wellpresented - in a folk-inflected interior.

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Moo Moo Steak & Wine

J-6, ul. Sienna 9

This modern steak and burger house boasts a huge wine list and exudes a casual class, making it a popular choice for date nights, big groups and business travellers.

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Pino

I-5, ul. Szczepańska 4

Exhibiting all the latest gastro trends, Pino offers a range of metropolitan eats in a postindustrial interior. Ideal for dinner and drinks with friends and family.

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FINE DINING

La Campana Trattoria

I-7, ul. Kanonicza 7

With great pasta, risotto and a romantic atmosphere, La Campana also boasts one of the city's best summer gardens.

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Pod Aniołami

I-6, ul. Grodzka 35

One of Kraków’s most royal dining experiences, enjoy real medieval dishes in 13th century cellars filled with genuine historical artefacts.

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Pod Nosem

I-7, ul. Kanonicza 22

Changing their menu monthly with seasonal ingredients in mind, enjoy contemporary Polish cuisine in sumptuous surroundings 'under the nose' of Wawel Castle.

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BARS

Ambasada Śledzia

J-6, ul. Stolarska 8/10

This cult dive specialising in pickled herring and 'Polski tapas’ is lovely by day, and a great place for late eats with unpredictable company.

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Antycafe

I-5, ul. Sławkowska 12

With slightly sinister art and gloomy lighting, Antycafe wants to be edgy, but it's really just a great hangout with 2 bars, craft beers and an eclectic crowd.

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Lastriko

I-6, ul. Gołębia 6

This friendly, funky hangout has it all: huge garden, daily brunch, wide range of wines, world-class cocktails, weekend DJs and a young, playful crowd.

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Multi Qlti Tap Bar

I-5, ul. Szewska 21, 1st floor

This hip and refined haven for hopheads offers 25 taps pouring Polish craft beer, plus gourmet hot dogs and fries above one of Kraków’s craziest streets.

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LATE NIGHT

Space Club

I-5, ul. Szewska 4

State-of-the-art sound and light design, three bars, two dancefloors and more musical diversity make this Space a cut above your typical cellar club.

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Teatro Cubano

I-5, ul. Jagiellońska 10

Kraków’s Little Havana, this rhythmic club offers a diverse crowd of students and travellers, live music almost every night and parties into the wee hours.

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Cafe Breakfast menu Restaurant Fine dining Pub/Dive bar/ Craft beer Wine bar/ Sommelier Cocktail bar Club/DJ parties Live music/ Concerts Outside seating Symbol Key 61

Wawel

Looming above the river, Wawel’s glorious architectural ensemble is both a source and symbol of Polish pride. Comprising the Castle, Cathedral and a vast wealth of cultural treasures, a walk through this royal complex is obligatory.

Every self-respecting European city boasts a castle, but Kraków’s is particularly precious as it represents Poland’s status as a highly influential European state, both politically and culturally, during the medieval era, when its territory covered almost one million square kilometres. It was here that the Polish monarchs were crowned, lived, ruled and were buried; 35 of them, in fact, from the 14th to 17th centuries. Each of these rulers added their own updates to the royal lodgings, resulting in the beguiling mix of Romanesque, Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque architecture remarkably still largely intact today.

Evidence suggests that this dramatic outcropping of limestone above the Wisła River was inhabited as far back as the 7th century, and was already a fortified castle when the first cathedral was built here in 1000 CE. From the 1319 coronation of Władysław the Short onwards, Kraków/Wawel’s power, wealth and

influence only grew, becoming a leading centre of humanism and the arts during the 1500s. A 1596 fire forced Sigismund III Vasa to relocate his royal court to Warsaw, a move that would become permanent, triggering Wawel’s steady decline as its political importance dwindled.

During the Partitions (1795-1918), the occupying Austrians adopted the castle for use as a military garrison and hospital, demolishing several buildings and adding others. Restoration works began after WWI when Poland regained independence, only for Nazi Governor General Hans Frank to famously make it his headquarters during WWII. Much like the city itself, Wawel’s splendour is arguably what saved it from destruction. Although looted repeatedly over the centuries, the holdings of the Royal Castle have grown through post-war acquisitions, donations and restitutions into one of the most important museum collections in the country.

Powiśle Plac Na Groblach
Stradomska Bernardyńska Świę te j Ge r tru dy Cathedral Tickets Seasonal ticket office (closed Nov-Apr) Main ticket office
Nov-Apr) Luggage office Wawel Planty Planty Wisła Crown Treasury Cathedral Museum North entrance gate South entrance gate Lost Wawel State Rooms, Royal Apts The Armoury Art of the Orient Wawel Recovered St. Bernard's Pod Wawelem © OpenStreetMap contributors. Available under the Open Database License. 1 cm = 43 m Scale 1:4 300 0 50 100 m 1 5 2 4 3 7 6 7 63
Koletek
Dragon’s Den entrance (closed

Points of Interest

The castle complex is free to enter without a ticket and here we cover the main sites you can explore without prior planning. For ticketed exhibits see p.68.

Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument

Greeting visitors above the northern entrance to Wawel Castle is the slightly larger-than-life likeness of Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817) on horseback, graciously doffing his cap to the crowds. If you aren’t familiar with the greatest Pole that ever lived (sorry JPII), and arguably one of the best humans history has ever produced, we strongly encourage you to stop your life and learn about him (scan the QR code!). A national hero of America and Poland (as well as Belarus and Lithuania), Kościuszko was a brilliant military engineer and tireless freedom fighter who joined the American Revolution, then led an Uprising against foreign rule in Poland. A champion of human rights, he sought to abolish serfdom in Europe and slavery in the US, dedicating his sizable US assets to the education and freedom of slaves in his will. Beloved in his homeland, a large mound was built in his honour overlooking Kraków (p.33) and his remains are buried alongside Poland’s kings in the Royal Crypts of Wawel Cathedral.

Pope John Paul II & The Cathedral Museum

Upon entering the northern gates you’ll see a life-sized statue of local-boy-made-good Saint John Paul II (1920-2005). One of eleventybazillion (rough estimate) such monuments around PL, this one stands outside the entrance to the Wawel Cathedral Museum, which JPII himself opened back in his days as Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. Included with entrance to the Cathedral itself, inside you’ll find a wealth of religious and secular items from the 13th century onwards related to the rich history of the site. Visiting time: 20mins.

Open 09:00-16:00, closed Sun.

Wawel Cathedral

Considered to be the most important building in Poland, Wawel Cathedral is stunning inside and absolutely packed with history. Don’t miss the massive bones hanging up outside the entrance, said to belong to the fearsome dragon who once lived beneath Wawel Hill (p.67). The first cathedral at this site was built of wood shortly after the founding of the Bishopric of Kraków in 1000CE. Twice destroyed by fire (dragon breath?), the third and current building was consecrated in 1364 and built on the orders of Władysław the Short - Poland’s first king to be crowned here in 1319. His tomb can be found inside, along with all of PL’s pre-16th century kings, but it is the grand tomb of St. Stanisław (1030-1079), former Bishop of Kraków, which takes centre stage. Wawel Cathedral boasts 18 chapels, all of them about as ostentatious as you’ll ever see, and we recommend paying extra for the audioguide so you can appreciate what you’re looking at as you follow the visiting route.

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Also included is a trip up the 144 steps of the Cathedral’s bell tower to see Poland’s version of Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell - an enormous chime from 1520 that can be heard 30km away. Beginning with Sigismund I in 1548, Poland’s monarchs were buried in the Cathedral’s underground crypt, which is also open to visitors and includes the tombs of national heroes such as Kościuszko, Mickiewicz, Piłsudski and, most recently (and controversially) President Lech Kaczyński, who perished in a plane crash in 2010; save the Royal Crypts for last as the exit deposits you outside. Visiting time: 45mins.

Open 09:00-16:00, Sun 12:30-16:00.

Cathedral Tickets

Wawel Cathedral has its own ticket office directly opposite of the Cathedral entrance. Unlike tickets for Wawel’s other exhibits (p.68), Cathedral tickets are not timed and can be purchased in person right before your visit. The 23/16zł ticket includes access to Wawel Cathedral, the Royal Crypts, Sigismund Belltower, and the Cathedral Museum. Audioguides (recommended) are available in 11 languages for an additional 12/8zł.

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Wawel Cathedral, coronation site and burial place of Poland's kings

Arcaded Courtyard

One of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Poland, Wawel’s iconic courtyard is emblematic of Poland’s ‘Golden Age.’ With the arrival of the Italian Renaissance in Poland in the early 16th century, a new palace was commissioned by King Aleksander Jagiellończyk (reigned 1501-06) and his brother Sigismund I (r. 1506-48) to replace the existing Gothic residence at Wawel. Italian architects Francesco Fiorentino and Bartolommeo Berrecci oversaw much of the construction, which continued throughout Sigismund I’s entire reign. Today the central courtyard, which features open cloisters supported by slender columns allowing free movement between the royal apartments and state rooms that surround it, is considered an architectural masterpiece.

The Chakra Stone

One of Wawel’s most well-known legends is that of the chakra stone - a natural energy point or centre of consciousness found in every living being, as believed in the spiritual and yogic traditions of India, China, and various New Age communities. According to some, the human body harbours many chakra points, but seven are considered to be the

most important, and these correspond with the seven sacred stones the Hindu deity Shiva flung across the earth as a gift to mankind. Those seven stones just so happened to land in what are today some of the most important spiritual centres on earth, namely Rome, Mecca, Delhi, Delphi, Jerusalem, Velehrad (bad aim?) and – surprise! – Wawel Hill.

Legend claims the cosmic energy of the chakra is strongest in the Chapel of St. Geroen, an 11th century Romanesque church that was demolished in the 16th century. Today its traces are part of the ‘Lost Wawel’ (p.68) exhibit, but chakra hunters concentrate their efforts in the northwest corner of Wawel’s Arcaded Courtyard, placing their hands and bodies against the wall to catch the good vibrations. Doing such won’t earn you any sympathy from the Wawel staff, who consider the legend a nuisance and have done all they can to downplay it, including roping off the wall, putting museum exhibits over it and having a guard posted to keep people’s hands off. Although some credit the chakra with protecting Kraków throughout its history, Wawel guides are instructed not to speak about the chakra stone, and the Catholic Church also dismisses the legend. If you want our take, we’ll just say that powerful forces are at work here indeed.

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Like much of Kraków's great Renaissance architecture, Wawel's courtyard was designed by Italians.

Sandomierska Tower

One of Wawel's two artillery towers, Sandomierska Tower was built around 1460 to defend the castle against attack from the south. Buy a 5/2zł ticket from the machine outside the entrance if you want to climb the 137 winding steps to the top. The views are decent, particularly of the castle courtyard and Cathedral, but the photo opps are underwhelming.

Open Apr 22 to Oct 31 only, 10:30-18:00.

The Wawel Dragon & Dragon's Den

Formed about 25 million years ago, the spectacular limestone formation of Wawel Hill is not the solid piece of rock it appears to be, but rather filled with eerie caves and crawl spaces. As legend would have it, the craggy chambers beneath Wawel were once home to ‘Smok Wawelski,’ or the Wawel Dragon, a nasty creature who liked nothing more than to gorge himself on cows, sheep and maidens. Versions of the story vary, with the first dating back to the 13th century, but it generally follows that piles of brawny knights fell beneath the dragon’s fiery breath before brains took over the task and a clever hero (in some cases King Krak, his sons or a modest cobbler) tricked Smok into eating a sheep stuffed with sulphur, which caused him to explode/expire.

Freed of their fearsome tenant (and now we’re back in the realm of confirmed facts), the caves under Wawel became a famous tavern and brothel during medieval times. Today they function as a seasonal tourist trap, luring families into their less-than-awe-inspiring confines, but kids love itand it’s a convenient way to end your visit to Wawel as the short route through the caves deposits you outside the complex on the riverbank below right in front of a bronze monument of the famous dragon. Since 1972, this strange eight-limbed Smok has been entertaining crowds with intermittent blasts of fiery breath, so just be patient and don't look down his throat. To enter the Dragon’s Den, buy a 9/7zł ticket from the machine outside the entrance.

Open April 22 - October 31 only; April - Aug open 10:30-19:00; Sept & Oct open 10:30-18:00.

Culinary excitements in the most luxurious interiors in Europe
WAWEL
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Vistula River

Ticketed Exhibits & Tours

While Wawel’s courtyards and gardens are free to enter, most interior exhibits have a timed ticket requirement. If you would like to see any of the exhibits listed here, we recommend you go online to ebilet.wawel.krakow.pl and buy your tickets in advance; tickets are made available online 7 days before the date of entry. If you’re unable to buy tickets online, or there are none available, you may still be able to buy them in person if you’re at Wawel Visitor Centre when it opens (good luck).

'Wawel: The Most Precious' guided tour

To see all of Wawel would take days, but this once-daily English-language guided tour takes you through the highlights of all the main exhibits, making it arguably the best bet for enterprising tourists. Visiting time: 140mins.

State Rooms

The primary exhibit of Wawel’s interiors, these are the public rooms where the royals held court and entertained guests. Full of Renaissance-era art, tapestries and coffered timber ceilings, the State Rooms are absolutely worth visiting. Guided tours (EN) and audioguides (EN, PL, UA) are also available. Visiting time: 45mins.

Royal Private Apartments

More opulent 16th century interiors in the rooms reserved for the royal family and their courtiers. See Renaissance furnishings, paintings and tapestries, plus porcelain and table silver collections. Guided tours (EN) and audioguides (EN, PL, UA) are also available. Visiting time: 45mins.

Crown Treasury

This worthwhile exhibit covers twelve rooms filled with precious artefacts from PL’s past, including the crown jewels, coronation sword, royal heirlooms, armour, weaponry and exquisite works of gold and silver. Guided tours (EN) and audioguides (EN, PL, UA) are also available. Visiting time: 60mins.

Armoury

A wealth of weaponry and military equipment from the Middle Ages up to the 18th century, including swanky crossbows, spiky pikes, swords and shields, plus hussar wings, cannons and replicas of the banners captured at the Battle of Grunwald. Visiting time: 40mins.

Art of the Orient

Decorative art from the Near East was highly fashionable amongst the Polish nobility as it entered the kingdom via military and trade contact with Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus and Crimea. See carpets, ceramics, arms and armour, plus Ottoman tents and trophies captured at the 1683 Battle of Vienna. Visiting time: 50mins.

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Kazimierz

Before WWII, Kazimierz was the centre of Jewish life in Kraków. Today it offers a unique opportunity to commune with that culture, and is also known for its street food, candlelit cafes and bohemian atmosphere.

Kazimierz - the only place in Poland where it feels normal that there are synagogues in the landscape. This one is the Tempel Synagogue (p.74).

Św. Sebas t iana

Skałeczna Ko r deckieg o Orzeszkowej Sukiennicza

Wietora Rybaki Skawińska

Rollego

Paulińska

Piekarska Krakowska

Podgórska

The story of Kazimierz is largely the story of Kraków’s Jewish community, but not only. Founded as an independent city in 1335 by its namesake, King Kazimierz the Great, Kazimierz occupied an island on the other side of a Wisła river tributary, and was given a similar layout, defences and the same municipal rights as Kraków. Several large churches were built, but the city began to flourish after 1495, when King Jan Olbracht expelled Kraków’s Jews - living peaceably alongside their Polish neighbours since the late 13th century - into Kazimierz, most of them resettling in the eastern part of the city, around ul. Szeroka. The Jewish community then erected its own walls, creating a proper Jewish quarter, which occupied only 20% of Kazimierz, but included 50% of its residents; this area became the main spiritual and cultural centre of all Polish Jewry. In 1800 the occupying Austrians incorporated Kazimierz into Kraków, gradually

removing barriers between the two cities, as well as those between its Polish and Jewish communities, which became more integrated than ever.

That, of course, came to a dramatic end during World War II. In 1941, the Nazis forced Kraków’s Jews into a ghetto in Podgórze, and Poles living in Podgórze were relocated to Kazimierz. Almost all of Kraków’s 68,000-80,000 Jews perished in the liquidation of the ghetto or in Nazi death camps. The post-war communist authorities allowed Kazimierz to fall into neglect, but, despite this, the district earned UNESCO accolades in 1978. After the fall of communism, interest in the area was revived, largely by the 1993 film Schindler’s List. While Kazimierz’s Jewish heritage and historical sites make it a requirement for visitors, it’s the district’s nightlife that delivers its vitality today. Known for candlelit cafes, dive bars and late night street food, expect an artsy, nostalgic aura by day and restless energy after dark.

Wisła New Jewish Cemetery
Podgórska Trynitarska Przy Moście Mostowa Skałeczna Węgłowa Augustiańska Meiselsa Plac Wolnica Bożego Ciała Józefa Św. Ag n ieszki S t r a d o ms ka Meiselsa Nowa Estery Warszauera Podbrzezie Bocheńska Gazowa Wąska Św . Wawrzyńca Kupa Izaaka Jakuba Brzozowa Szeroka Miodowa Dajwór Przemyska Brzozowa Św. Sebastiana Starowiślna S t a r o w i ś l n a Joselewicza Miodowa Św .Wawrzyńca Halicka Koletek Miodowa Pl. Bawó ł Św Katarzyny Krakowska DIETLA DIETLA DIETLA Grunwaldzki Bridge Piłsudski Bridge Bernatek Footbridge Silesian Uprisings Bridge Footbridge Plac Wolnica Plac Nowy Cricoteka Jan Karski Bench St. Catherine's Ethnographic Museum Corpus Christi Church Dom Esterki Skałka & the Pauline Monastery Engineering Museum Skwer Judah Eden Spatz Aparthotel PURO Hotel Kazimierz Kazimierz Rubinstein Estera M29 Św. Wawrzyńca Stradom Stradom Stradom Plac Wolnica Miodowa Miodowa Orzeszkowej © OpenStreetMap contributors. Available under the Open Database License. 1 cm = 90 m Scale 1:9 000 0 100 200 m 6 2 14 1 4 16 3 7 8 12 9 13 10 5 17 15 11 71

Walking Tour

Just south of the Old Town, you’re officially in Kazimierz as soon as you cross ul. Dietla - once a swampy tributary of the Wisła River. This self-guided tour takes you to all of the area’s major points of interest, ending at Plac Wolnica, from which point you’re well-positioned to carry on across the river into Podgórze (p.86). The trail is about 1.5km , can be started anywhere, and completed in as little as 30mins if you refuse to take more than a passing interest in anything; for those that have the time to spend we reckon it will comfortably occupy several hours. To help you out, we’ve listed the approximate visiting times for various sites and you’ll find recommendations for where to rest and refuel on p.84.

Meiselsa Street

We begin our wander somewhat arbitrarily at Meiselsa Street, but if you’re coming on foot from Wawel or the ‘Skałka Church,’ or by tram, this is a strong entry point to the heart of the district. The street is named after Dow Ber Meisels - Chief Rabbi of Kraków from 1832 to 1856, and then Chief Rabbi of Warsaw until his death in 1870. Deeply involved in politics, Meisels was a Polish patriot and nationalist who fought to abolish discriminatory laws against Jews, and supported Polish independence. In Kraków strong Catholic support allowed him to serve on the Senate and even represent the city in sessions of the Austrian Parliament in Vienna. In Warsaw his outspoken support of the Polish cause led to persecution from the Russian government and multiple periods of forced exile; his funeral in 1870 became a large Polish-Jewish demonstration against Russian rule.

At Meiselsa 18 we come to the first of 9 synagogues along our route - the Chewra Thilim Synagogue (1896); filled with original polychromes, today this former prayer house hosts the very hip restaurant/bar/club Hevre. Catty-corner is an inviting alleyway you might recognise from the film Schindler’s List (ul. Meiselsa 17), which includes an art exhibit, antiques, a great beer garden (Mleczarnia), and a fantastic vodka bar (Wódka). | J/K-8.

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The iconic ‘Schindler’s Passage’ on Meiselsa Street.

Choose Your Adventure!

Carry on along the prescribed route towards the heart of the Jewish quarter and main Jewish market?

Head south down Bożego Ciała (Corpus Christi) Street towards the gentile part of Kazimierz and its main market square?

Stroll through Schindler’s Passage to ul. Józefa (#11) - known for its small galleries, boutiques and antique shops?

Do one of the most 'Kazimierz' things possible by having a quick beer in Mleczarnia's beer garden?

Judaica Foundation

This Jewish prayer house was built in the 1880s and functioned up until WWII. In the late1980s it was saved from ruin and reopened as a Jewish cultural centre - one of the first buildings in the neighbourhood to be renovated. Although once again looking in need of a rehab, the centre subsists on a remarkably steady schedule of lectures, concerts, art exhibits, film screenings and other events related to Jewish life in Poland's past and present; generally open for events only, visit judaica.pl for the programme. K-8, ul. Meiselsa 17.

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The former Chewra Thilim Synagogue, now Hevre restobar.

Plac Nowy

Although a bit of an eyesore filled with street food vendors, metal market stalls and rat-like pigeons, Plac Nowy (New Square) is the spiritual centre of contemporary Kazimierz. Incorporated into the Jewish quarter in the late 1600s, it didn’t really begin assuming its current shape until the early 19th century, with its central landmark, the Okrąglak (rotunda), added as late as 1900. For generations this square was referred to as ‘Plac Żydowski’ (Jewish Square); not only was it the primary marketplace of the Jewish quarter, but the rotunda served as a ritual slaughterhouse for poultry right up until Nazi occupation. Today, hungry locals of every ilk line-up around its hole-inthe-wall food hatches to enjoy the best zapiekanki’ (p.20) in Poland. Essentially a French bread pizza with the toppings of your choice, visiting Kraków without eating a Plac Nowy zapiekanka would be like visiting Dublin without having a Guinness.

Daily open-air markets here could be selling anything from fresh produce, antiques and random rubbish to vinyl records, books and secondhand clothes. As trade dries up in the evening the area takes on a new guise: Kraków’s premier pub crawl circuit. Full of shambolic charm, veteran boozers Singer and Alchemia put Plac Nowy on the

nightlife map, and remain the square’s best bets for candlelit, pre-war mystique. In recent years the bars surrounding the square have begun to diversify, but this bohemian outpost remains one of Kraków’s most interesting and exciting nightlife destinations.

Tempel Synagogue

Exit Plac Nowy stage left via ul. Estery and you’ll run straight into the Tempel Synagogue, Kraków’s youngest and arguably most spectacular synagogue today. Built under Austro-Hungarian occupation in 1850-52, the synagogue’s design by Ignacy Hercok was fashioned after the Leopoldstädter Tempel in Vienna (hence the name), which was destroyed on Kristallnacht. Though the exterior is typical of the Moorish Revival style popular during that time, the heavily gilded interior incorporates Polish folk motifs and is absolutely worth the price of admission. Used as a warehouse and stables during Nazi occupation, the synagogue survived WWII and even held regular services into the mid-1980s. It was restored to its pre-war splendour in 2000 and today hosts occasional concerts and religious ceremonies.

K-8, ul. Miodowa 24. Open 10:00-16:00; Sat closed. Admission 10/5zł.

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Flea market on Plac Nowy.

Jewish Community Centre

Opened in 2008 by the Prince of Wales, the JCC is the headquarters of Kraków’s small but resurgent Jewish community, and organises a large number of events and programmes for both tourists and local community members. A friendly first point of contact for anyone wanting to connect with modern Jewish life in Kraków, walk-ins are welcome.

K-8, ul. Miodowa 24. Open 08:00-20:00; Sun 12:00-17:00; closed Sat.

Kupa Synagogue

Set back from the street, the unfortunatelynamed Kupa synagogue was founded in 1643, using funds from the local kahal/qahal (mi-kupat hakahal) - the autonomous Jewish government. While that may explain the name, it sadly doesn’t change the fact that ‘kupa’ means' poop’ in Polish (hey, you learned a word!). Designed in Baroque style

with a square prayer room, the richly decorated interior features paintings of Biblical scenes, holy places and zodiac symbols done by an unknown artist in the 1920s. During the war it was looted and many architectural elements were destroyed, including the bimah; then after the war, in 1945, an angry Polish mob set it on fire. Restored in 2002, an informational pamphlet in English is available for visitors, and there is also a small photography exhibit in the upstairs women’s gallery.

K-8, ul. Miodowa 27. Open 10:00-16:00; closed Sat. Admission 10/5zł.

Choose Your Adventure!

Continue down ul. Miodowa to the evocative New Jewish Cemetery (p.76)?

Follow the prescribed route to ul. Szeroka?

Concert inside Tempel Synagogue. [Photo by W. Krysiak; Jewish Culture Festival archive.]
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New Jewish Cemetery

Established in 1800, this was the Jewish community’s primary burial grounds until 1930. Once an enormous 20ha, it has been reduced by wartime devastation, postwar neglect and modern development to only 4.5ha today. Sadly, many of the finest tombstones from this cemetery were sold during the war, or used as pavers by the Nazis. Today there are an estimated 10,000 tombstones inside, many of which lie in overgrown clusters. A beautifully peaceful and undeniably evocative place for a reflective walk, please cover your head upon entry.  L-7, ul. Miodowa 55. Open 09:30-16:00; closed Sat.

Szeroka Street

Make a right onto ul. Szeroka, perhaps Kazimierz’s most characteristic street, and you’ll walk down a narrow lane which has been staged to resemble a row of pre-war Jewish shop fronts (actually the ‘Dawno Temu Na Kazimierzu’) before the street opens up into a wide square.

Kraków’s very own 'Broad Street’ might differ considerably from its NYC doppelnamer, but the moniker fits; the street originally served as the town square of a small 12th-century village known as Bawół, which was absorbed into Kazimierz in 1340. In the late 15th century Jews banished from Kraków began settling in this area, and Szeroka became the epicentre of Jewish culture in Poland. Today it is the epicentre of Jewish heritage tourism and, in addition to three surviving synagogues, other points

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Al fresco dining on Szeroka Street.

of interest around the square include a monument of Jan Karski - ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ for his early efforts to alert the Western Allies of the Holocaust - beside the Remah Synagogue (#8), a 16th-century Jewish bath house (mikvah) located in the basement of what is today the Klezmer Hois hotel and restaurant (ul. Szeroka 6), the birthplace of cosmetics queen Helena Rubinstein at ul. Szeroka 14, and a large stone memorial for the victims of the Holocaust. | K-8.

Remah Synagogue & Cemetery

Dating from the mid-16th century, this is Kraków’s smallest but most active synagogue, with Shabbat services every Friday. Built by his father, it became the synagogue of one of Poland’s greatest Jewish scholars, Rabbi Moses Isserles (1530-1572) - better known by the Hebrew acronym ‘Rema.’ A world-famous talmudist and posek, after his death and up until WWII, thousands of pilgrims would visit Isserles’ grave in the adjacent cemetery annually on the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer. In use until 1800, the cemetery fell into utter ruin during Nazi occupation with only a dozen tombstones surviving the war in their original state; among them was that of Rabbi Isserles, which many interpreted as proof of his miraculous power. After the war the cemetery was' tidied up’ with many of the intact tombstones being rearranged in straight rows, and fragments of those which could not be restored used to create a 'wailing wall.’ Today the cemetery and synagogue - whose modestly decorated interior features a reconstructed bimah and restored ceiling motifsare an important pilgrimage site for devout Jews from all over the world.

K-8, ul. Szeroka 40. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Sat. Admission 10/5zł.

Popper Synagogue

Tucked behind a gated courtyard, nestled between the street’s Jewish restaurants, you’ll find Popper Synagogue - the least celebrated of Szeroka’s synagogues, though once the most splendid. It was built in 1620 by Wolf Popper, who became one of the richest men in Europe trading cloth and potassium nitrate (known then as saltpetre). Unfortunately his family squandered his riches after he died and the building fell into decline. None of its interiors survived WWII, in fact little is known of them. Converted into a cultural centre (Dom Kultury) during the communist era, the synagogue was only recently returned to the Jewish community and is now under the stewardship of Austeria - a publishing house and bookshop specialising in Judaica.

K-8, ul. Szeroka 16. Open 10:00-18:00; Fri, Sat 10:00-19:00.

Choose Your Adventure!

Expedite your tour by skipping over a few synagogues to ul. Dajwór?

Take a crash course in Jewish culture inside Poland’s oldest synagogue (#14)?

Follow the route down the picturesque lane of ul. Lewkowa to the Izaak Synagogue (#10) and food truck park?

Wailing wall at Remah Cemetery. Mural outside the Popper Synagogue.
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Izaak Synagogue

Built in early Judaic-Baroque style, this Orthodox synagogue was a gift to the city from Izaak Jakubowicz, a wealthy banker to King Ladislaus IV. Opened in 1644, it is considered to be the most architecturally important of Kraków’s synagogues, with a vaulted ceiling and decorative arabesques. Destroyed by the Nazis, the building was returned to the Jewish community after the communist period and renovated, revealing fragments of the original wall scriptures. Presently it is undergoing further restoration and not open to visitors.

K-8, ul. Kupa 18.

Józefa Street

Turning from the Izaak Synagogue onto ul. Kupa you’ll immediately see a large mural on ul. Józefa. Installed in 2015, the work features portraits of five historical figures connected to the area, namely (from left to right): Holy Roman Emperor Józef Hapsburg II (whom the street is named after),

Helena Rubinstein (cosmetics entrepreneur, born in the district), Karol Knaus (local architect, artist and conservator), Esterka (the Jewish lover of King Kazimierz the Great), and finally King Kazimierz the Great himself (founder of Kazimierz).

One of the neighbourhood’s oldest streets, it was a country lane connecting the village of Bawół to Skałka (p.83) before Kazimierz was established. In 1533 the street became divided by the walls of the Jewish quarter, with a city gate installed at the intersection with ul. Jakuba, and the street’s name changed to ul. Żydowska (Jewish Street). The current name came into use in the 19th century, referring to Emperor Józef II, who famously stayed at Józefa 2 - then the Governor’s Palace - in 1773. Today the street is one of Kazimierz’s most characteristic, with the ground floors of the mostly unrenovated tenement buildings occupied by cafes, bars and restaurants, but also colourful murals, small galleries and boutiques, particularly the western end. | K-8.

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Kowea-Itim Le-Tora Prayer House on Józefa Street.

High Synagogue

In need of a good scrub, this is Kraków’s third oldest synagogue, completed in 1563. The design is unique for having its prayer room upstairs, and it’s widely speculated that this was to protect the congregation from unfriendly neighbours. Unfortunately it didn’t save the synagogue from arson during WWII, and today none of the original furnishings remain; unlike Kaz’s other synagogues, however, the Aron Kodesh (torah ark) has survived. The size of the high-ceilinged, white-washed room suggests that it was once magnificent, but today it is closed to tourists aside from a small Jewish bookshop on the ground floor.

K-8, ul. Józefa 38.

Kowea Itim Le-Tora Prayer House

Many traces of Kazimierz’s Jewish heritage are ‘hidden in plain sight,’ but easy to miss; that’s not the case with this former Orthodox prayer house. Most of what we know of the building is based off of its still-justvisible Hebrew inscription, which says something along the lines of 'Making Time for the Torah Society,’ and indicates that Talmud lessons were conducted here. The two Stars of David on either side of the inscription tell us that the organisation was founded in 1810 and that the building was renovated in 1912. The original mezuzah trace can be seen on the doorway here, and on many buildings in the district if you keep your eye out. Devastated during the war, today the building is strictly residential.

K-8, ul. Józefa 42.

For almost a decade the success and supremacy of Moo Moo has been evident in its 3 locations. Its Steak & Burger Club was the first to open in Krakow’s Old Town, Moo Moo Steak & Wine opened next in the Old Town as well, followed by it’s latest branch in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz. Regionally sourced Polish beef is always used, and the talented kitchen teams ensures the juicy, delicate and aromatic flavors that these restaurants have become known for. With an ambience that elevates and befits a good time, Moo Moo derives its true merit from outstanding flavors, a splendid selection of wines, and a great attitude. Well done!

MOO MOO 3 LOCATIONS IN KRAKOW

Moo Moo Steak & Burger Club Św. Krzyża 15

Moo Moo Steak & Wine Sienna 9

Moo Moo Steak & Wine Szeroka 3

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Mural of Kazimierz the Great giving side-eye on Józefa Street.
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Old Synagogue

Originally built in the 15th century, the Old Synagogue is the oldest surviving example of Jewish religious architecture in Poland, and one of Kraków’s most important historical monuments. Rebuilt with Renaissance and military elements in 1570, the Old Synagogue ('Stara Synagoga') is a rare, surviving example of a fortress synagogue, meant to shelter and protect civilians during a siege. Looted by the Nazis and converted into a warehouse, today the building is a museum showcasing the history and traditions of Polish Judaism. At the centre stands the bimah, enclosed in an elaborate, wrought iron balustrade. The exhibits assume no great depth of knowledge on the viewer's part and are therefore a good primer for gentiles. There are also changing temporary exhibitions, and a bookshop. Visiting time: 45mins.

A fragment of Kazimierz’s original city defensive walls runs along the east side of the synagogue, before which there was actually a moat from the 14th to early-19th century. As you walk this way take note of the huge mural behind the synagogue, which takes its inspiration from the

Jewish family that lived in the building for 400 years before relocating to Israel after WWII.

K-8, ul. Szeroka 24. Open 09:00-17:00; Mon 10:00-14:00. Admission 18/14zł, Mon free.

Galicia Jewish Museum

Another mural can be found on the exterior wall of the popular Galicia Jewish Museum. Inside, the museum's permanent exhibit keeps the memory of Jewish life in the region alive via hundreds of photographs documenting Jewish heritage sites in former ‘Galicia’ - the name of the ethnically diverse province of the Austrian Habsburg Empire, which existed from 1772-1918 and extended from Kraków to Ternopil (presentday Ukraine). The images, taken over the past 30 years, and ranging from derelict synagogues to restored cemeteries, prove both haunting and hopeful and deserve to be seen. The museum also houses temporary exhibits, a bookstore and kosher cafe. Across the street is a food truck park. Visiting time: 1hr.

L-8, ul. Dajwór 18. Open 10:00-18:00. Admission 24/18zł, senior 17zł, kids under 7 free.

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Is the Old Synagogue Kazimierz's Barbican?

Św. Wawrzyńca Street

Named after Saint Lawrence, this was one of Kraków’s most industrialised streets in the early 1900s. The entire south side of the block between ul. Dajwór and ul. Wąska houses historical buildings related to the Kraków power plant, which produced steam, electricity and heat for the city from 1905 to 1985; the most arresting of these is the red-brick machine hall from 1905 (no. 25). Across the street is the Judah Food Market, featuring a large mural by Israeli street artist Pil Peled. On the opposite corner with ul. Wąska is the former Jewish school, today a public high school (no. 14).

If you follow the street’s tram tracks, you’ll notice that they suddenly run off the road into a hangar. This is Kazimierz’s late 19th century tram depot, today full of historical trolleys and part of the Museum of Engineering & Technology The second half of this huge and historical transportation complex is actually across the street and today host to the sprawling Stara Zajezdnia brewery/restaurant/summer beer garden.

Heading on from the tram depot, you’ll find yet another food park on the left, while the entire final two city blocks on the north/right side belong to Corpus Christi Church. One of the city’s largest holy sites, this massive brick beauty is a three-naver in Gothic style and dates back to the 14th century. According to legend, a robber who had stolen a holy relic repented on this spot, abandoning the reliquary. The priests in pursuit saw a strange light emanating from the ground and, discovering their sacred prize, founded a church here in recognition of the miracle. Huzzah! | K-9.

The Stanisław Lem Experimental Garden al. Pokoju 68, Kraków

Museum of Engineering & Technology

ul. św. Wawrzyńca 15, Kraków

mit.krakow.pl/en

INŻYNIERII I TECHNIKI – INSTYTUCJA KULTURY MIASTA KRAKOWA Sense the city
Experiment among nature KAZIMIERZ 16
MUZEUM
in the heart of Krakow
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Judah Food Market.

Plac Wolnica

Visiting today, you’d never realise that Plac Wolnica was once equal in size and stature to Kraków’s Market Square. When laid out as the town square of Kazimierz (Rynek Kazimierski) in 1335, this space measured 195m by 195m (only 5m shorter on each side than Rynek Główny), making it the second largest market square in Poland, if not Europe. Take a look at our map and imagine the Town Hall at the very centre with Corpus Christi Church in roughly the same position as St. Mary’s Basilica on Kraków’s market square, with ul. Mostowa in the role of ul. Grodzka, and you start to get an idea of its former boundaries, which changed (along with the name) after the two cities were incorporated in 1800.

Unlike Kraków’s, Kazimierz’s Town Hall has survived, despite burning down twice and losing its administrative function. Originally Gothic, it was rebuilt in its present neo-Renaissance style

in the late 19th century. A curious plaque on the building commemorates the arrival of the Jews to Poland in the Middle Ages, and since WWII the Town Hall has housed the Ethnographic Museum, offering charming insight into Polish folk culture and rural traditions (open 10:00-18:00, closed Mon; admission 18/10zł, Tue free).

Hardly the bustling market it once was, when hundreds of merchants gathered to sell everything from meat and textiles to amber and especially salt (as it lay directly on the route to Wieliczka), today the square does occasionally host food fairs, concerts and other cultural events. And though lacking the verve of Plac Nowy, there are an increasing number of restaurants and bars around its perimeter, as well as along ul. Mostowa - a walk down which leads you directly to the footbridge into Podgórze (p.86). | K-9

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Kazimierz Town Hall (Ratusz Kazimierski).

‘Skałka’ Church & Monastery

This gorgeous riverside sanctuary is one of the oldest, most legendary and important religious sites in Poland. It was here that the Bishop of Kraków, Stanisław of Szczepanów, was beheaded on the order of King Bolesław II in 1079; soon after, the king was exiled, the royal family fell under a curse and the Polish territory fractured. As a result, the cult of Stanisław grew and in 1253 he was canonised, becoming the patron saint not only of Kraków, but all of Poland

Since 1472, Skałka has been home to a Pauline monastery, and in the 1700s the church received a Baroque refurb which endures to this day. The church’s crypt (open 07:00-17:00, 5/3zł) is a national pantheon for distinguished Poles, and includes the remains of painters Stanisław Wyspiański and Jacek Malczewski, writer Czesław Miłosz, and others. The pool where St. Stanisław’s remains were thrown stands outside the church, elegantly adorned with a 17th century sculpture of the saint, and its waters are said to have healing properties. In 2008, the ‘Three Millennia Altar’ was built in the church courtyard, featuring 4m monuments of St. Stanisław, St. John Paul II, St. Faustyna, St. Jadwiga, St. Adalbert, St. Jan Kanty, and Abbot Augustyn Kordecki.

I-9. Open 07:00-20:00.

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Detail from the Skałka entrance gate.

KAZIMIERZ

Eat & Drink

A brilliant place to both start your day and end it, Kazimierz’s best venues blur the lines between cafe, bar and eatery. Known for food truck parks and late night street food, the neighbourhood also offers some of Kraków’s finest, most innovative dining. The district’s legendary dive bars, full of candlelight and antiques, emit a sepia glow, where enough alcohol might usher you into a lost era.

COFFEE & BREAKFAST

Poranki

K-8, Plac Bawół 4

Open early, this tidy little cafe run by two local sisters offers inventive sweet or savoury breakfast options, plus cakes and coffee, including Aeropress.

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Ranny Ptaszek

J-8, ul. Augustiańska 5

Run by a mother-daughter team that’s very active locally, this tiny breakfast bar (too small for groups) seemingly straight outta Brooklyn offers outstanding vegetarian brunches.

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CASUAL DINING

Hamsa

K-8, ul. Szeroka 2/ul. Miodowa 41

This fresh, nostalgia-free Israeli restaurant features tasty mezze and other Middle Eastern specialties that encourage sharing, plus a fabulous garden.

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Kolanko No. 6

K-8, ul. Józefa 17

Cult Kazimierz cafe known for its shaded garden, savoury crepes, affordable world cuisine and local beers. Many ingredients come sourced from their own goat farm.

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Sąsiedzi

K-8, ul. Miodowa 25

Perfect for introducing yourself to Polish cuisine, this restaurant deftly balances elegance and homely comfort. Dine in the lovely garden if you can.

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Starka

K-8, ul. Józefa 14

Famed for its homemade vodkas and excellent Polish food, Starka’s classic interior of dark woodwork evokes an interwar-era pub. A great value.

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Woosabi

K-9, ul. Św. Wawrzyńca 19

Located in the former electrical plant, this urban oasis serves up creative Asian dishes, signature cocktails and fresh jungle vibes.

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FINE DINING

Bottiglieria 1881

K-9, ul. Bocheńska 5

Earning Kraków’s only Michelin star, this wine bar/restaurant exudes class and romance, offering tasting menus of their authorial cuisine.

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Folga

K-8, ul. Estery 12

It’s not all scuzz on Plac Nowy. Duck into this food sharing restaurant/wine bar to dine on beautifully-presented fresh seafood and Mediterranean delicacies.

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Karakter

K-8, ul. Brzozowa 17

Fine dining for foodies inside a retro modern interior that exudes effortless panache, the daring menu includes mussels, mezze and many surprises.

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BARS

Alchemia

K-8, ul. Estery 5

Obligatory. This dim bohemian cafe/bar captures the sepia spirit of the neighbourhood, is open late and hosts hype concerts in the basement. Their brunch spot next door is spot-on too.

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Hevre

J-8, ul. Meiselsa 18

Once a Jewish prayer house, now a hip bar and restaurant, with peeling original frescos and DJ parties in the basement on weekends. Only in Kraków...

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Mleczarnia

K-8, ul. Meiselsa 20

This cosy cafe/bar full of worn fabrics, rickety furniture and murky portraits is perfect for daydreaming or evening romance, and the beer garden opposite is unbeatable.

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Szklanki

K-8, ul. Jakuba 19

With 28 taps pouring craft beer, ciders, spritzers and wine, this place appeals to all with a loungy vibe, lovely garden and roof terrace overlooking the Jewish cemetery.

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Weźże Krafta

L-8, ul. Dajwór 16

This large beer garden is the perfect flophouse for hopheads, dispensing delicious Polish craft beer and Neapolitan pizza next to the Jewish museum.

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Wódka Cafe Bar

K-8, ul. Meiselsa 15

This small, classy shot bar in Schindler's Passage is a great place to explore the wonderful world of Polish vodkas. See how many you can sample before leaving town.

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LATE NIGHT

Piękny Pies

K-9, Pl. Wolnica 9

At this cult drink tank hard-living artists and cougar vampires fraternise upstairs while dance parties erupt in the basement, and all meet the dawn.

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Singer

K-8, ul. Estery 20

This veteran café inhabits a perpetual dusk until after midnight, when guests down shots and dance on tabletops to a mix of gypsy and klezmer swing. Legend.

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Podgórze

Just across the river from Kazimierz, Podgórze possesses a more independent, community atmosphere. Rich in natural beauty, tragic history and evocative spaces, the neighbourhood offers opportunities for both reflection and escape.

Photo taken by a search-and-rescue team looking for tourists who followed our Krzemionki Route.

Zatorska Ludwinowska

Przedwiośnie

Krasickiego

Smolki S

Kalwaryjska

Długosza

Redemptorystów

Podgórze means ‘foothills,’ and the area’s river boulevards, wooded hills and limestone cliffs make it one of Krakow’s most exciting districts to explore. It’s this same sinister geography, however, which the Nazis viewed as ideal for a prison district, creating the Kraków Ghetto here in March 1941. Violently liquidated two years later, the majority of the Kraków’s Jewish residents died inside, while others perished in the nearby KL Płaszów concentration camp (p.99), or in the gas chambers of Auschwitz (p.111) and Bełżec. Traces of the Ghetto are still visible today, and this brief legacy, with its connections to Oskar Schindler, are still what people most associate with the district.

Podgórze’s history stretches back over 10,000 years, however, to the time of Kraków’s founder,

who legend claims is buried under Krakus Mound (p.100) - the city’s most ancient structure. Podgórze also has a proud tradition of independence. Granted city rights in 1784, Podgórze was only incorporated into Kraków in 1915 and showed its independent spirit when locals seized control of the suburb from the Austrian Army at the end of WWI in what is regarded as the first action of the Second Republic of Poland. Skip to 2010, when the opening of both the Bernatek footbridge and Schindler’s Factory Museum seemed to lift a shroud off the area, and tourists are now a common sight. Despite steady development, Podgórze retains its atmosphere of anguish, mystery and independence today, rewarding those who take the time to explore it.

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Walking Tour(s)

One of Kraków’s largest districts, our tour begins at the footbridge leading into Podgórze’s historical centre, before diverging into two separate routes (see map on previous page).

The Former Ghetto & Zabłocie route (p.90) is thematically preoccupied with WWII, taking you on a 2km walk through the heart of the former Jewish Ghetto to once-industrial Zabłocie, culminating in a visit to Schindler’s Factory or the Museum of Contemporary Art. You might also consider doing this route in reverse.

The Krzemionki route (p.96) takes you up into the limestone bluffs that extend all the way to Krakus Mound. This is a more scenic and strenuous 2.7km walk that requires good footwear and culminates in sunset views from the top of the mound.

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Bernatek Footbridge

With a twin walkway design by local architect Andrzej Getter, this 130m-long structure straddling the Wisła River exclusively accommodates pedestrians and cyclists and has become beloved for its convenience and aesthetic appeal. The bridge has also played a key role in the revitalisation of the areas on both sides between Plac Wolnica and Rynek Podgórski, which is now perfect for a

pub crawl or a romantic stroll. It’s on this bridge that local couples had adopted the somewhat tired tradition of attaching padlocks engraved with their names, but the city was actually in the process of removing them when we went to press (proving once and for all that love is fleeting). That aside, the bridge is adorned with ten acrobatic, gravity-defying sculptures by Jerzy Kędziora, making it a legit tourist attraction and great way to enter the neighbourhood. | K-9.

Jerzy Kędziora's high-wire sculptures are like a mini-circus troupe on Bernatek Footbridge.
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Leo Square & Brodzińskiego Street

After crossing the bridge, to your left is a small green square lined with townhouses, waiting for its young trees to grow. Nothing special on its own, the square doesn’t actually have a name, but we’re dubbing it 'Leo Square' after the man whose monument stands at the middle, Juliusz Leo. A moustache to be reckoned with, Leo spearheaded the expansion of Kraków during his stint as mayor from 1904 to 1918, including the incorporation of Podgórze. There are

Brodzińskiego Street.

a few good places for taking a rest here, including the veteran dive bar Drukarnia, and if you round the corner of the orange building onto Brodzińskiego

Steeet - a charming lane that runs along the elevated road - you’ll find even more cafes and eateries en route to Rynek Podgórski; a worthwhile detour, even if you intend to doubleback and follow the beige Ghetto route. | K-10

Choose Your Adventure!

Follow the blue trail south down ul. Brodzińskiego for a more off-the-beaten path adventure through the hills of Krzemionki to Krakus Mound (#7)? Turn to p96.

Follow the beige trail east down ul. Józefińska for a more historical route through the former Jewish ghetto to Schindler’s Factory (#8)? Turn to p.90.

Skip the history and follow lively ul. Nadwiślańska east along the river for restaurants and boutique shopping? You can then reconnect with the beige route at Plac Bohaterów Getta (#3, p.92).

Sistine Chapel

© GOVERNATORATO DELLO S.C.V. DIREZIONE DEI MUSEI 2023 ©SCRIPTA MANEANT 2023. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Former Ghetto & Zabłocie Route

Józefińska Street

One of the neighbourhood’s oldest streets, Jozefińska was marked out when Podgórze was granted city rights in 1784, and follows the old wagon route to Wieliczka; the ‘Lion Tavern’ at number 2 (on Leo Square) dates from this time. One of the first things you’ll see is a large mural on the side of number 3 by the Italian artist known as Blu. Although now deteriorating since it was first installed in 2011, the controversial mural criticises the Catholic Church with its megaphone/bell in the colours of the Vatican, featuring the Vatican crest as well. Nearby is an odd seesaw dedicated to Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz, though some art we’re simply not able to explain.

Józefińska was one of the main streets running through the Kraków Ghetto, which existed in this area from March 1941 to March 1943. Initially comprising a 20 hectare (50 acre) space surrounded by a 3-metre high wall (remnants of which can be seen at #5 and #6), 3000 gentile residents were removed from the area and replaced with about 18,000 Jews from Kraków and the surrounding areas who found themselves with an average living space of less than 2 metres per person. There are several historical markers on the sides of buildings throughout Podgórze pertaining to the Kraków Ghetto, and you’ll find one on the side of the present-day music school at Józefińska 10/12 near Blu’s mural. [These

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'Ding Dong Dumb' mural by Blu, 2011.

historical plaques are all marked on our map on p.87.] This building housed the German Labour Office during the war, where work documents for all Jews over 14 were issued. These documents had to be renewed each month and were the key to avoiding deportation (and potentially death). 60% of Jews were employed by German businesses outside the ghetto like Oscar Schindler’s enamel factory; these businesses paid the Nazi authorities 4-5zł per worker, per day; the workers themselves received nothing.

Another historical marker can be found on the very next building (Józefińska 14), which housed a Jewish hospital moved to the ghetto from Kazimierz. The brutal murder of the hospital’s patients and staff during the liquidation of the ghetto was famously depicted in Spielberg’s film, Schindler's List.

Crossing Węgierska Street and looking to the right, you can try to imagine an entrance gate to the ghetto standing at the end of the block, which was built here following a reduction in the ghetto’s size

after mass deportations to Bełżec death camp in June 1942. The next building on the block is the Podgórze Savings Bank, a beautiful example of Art Nouveau design from 1910 (Józefińska 18). As another historical plaque alludes, during WWII the Jewish Social Self-Help Organisation was housed here, and it was in these halls that the dreaded ‘selections’ were made, deciding which Jews would be transferred to death camps as the ghetto shrank in on itself. The next residential building on this side (Józefińska 22) was one of several Jewish orphanages inside the ghetto, and the last to remain. As such, the children

and staff here were brutally murdered during the liquidation of the ghetto, while the children of orphanages at Józefińska 31 and 41 were sent to death camps during prior deportations.

Arriving at Józefińska 24 we can mercifully change topics for a moment, thanks to a large-scale mural dedicated to Polish sci-fi master Stanisław Lem (1921-2006). The most translated Polish author in history, Lem wrote both intellectual and absurd sci-fi classics like Solaris and The Star Diaries. Born in Lwów, his family survived the war with false documents hiding their Jewish ancestry and were resettled in Kraków after the Polish border shifted west and Lwów became Ukrainian Lviv. It was here that he spent his entire literary career, and his legacy was no doubt a big contributor to Kraków becoming a UNESCO City of Literature. Today the mural’s quote - which is from Lem’s 1957 book Dialogues and loosely translates to" In the end, humans will be reduced to mindless servants of the iron geniuses and, perhaps, shall begin to worship them as divine...” - is more unsettling than ever as AI technology has gone from science fiction to everyday science. Maybe if we keep using our brains to read and write guidebooks we can avoid the potential outcome of Lem’s prophecy…? | L-10.

As you can tell from this short walk down just one street, almost every building in Podgórze has a horrible wartime history. Scan the code to learn more about this dark time in the district’s past.

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"The End is nAI!" Lem mural at Józefińska 24.
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Podgórze Savings Bank.

Turning left onto ul. Targowa you’ll pass both a great bar/brunch spot (Targowa 2) and an excellent bakery (Massolit) en route to ‘Ghetto Heroes Square’. Before a post-war name change, this square was known as Plac Zgody (‘Business Agreement Square’) for its role as a place of trade. First plotted in 1836, the square has had a turbulent history, with turns as a marketplace, horse stable, execution site, taxi rank, bus terminal and parking lot. During the time of the Kraków Ghetto it was both residents’ greatest source of relief and the scene of their greatest horrors and

Following the liquidation of the ghetto in March 1943, Plac Zgody was strewn with furniture, clothes, luggage and other belongings that victims were forced to abandon. This image would inspire the square's 2005 redesign. Laid out with 70 large metal chairs meant to symbolise absence, the entire square has essentially been turned into an odd, but iconic memorial to the victims of the Kraków Ghetto. A place for candles and reflection was created in the former German guardhouse at the north end of the square, however the gesture rings hollow considering the space is rarely used. | L-9/10

humiliation. As the ghetto’s largest open space, Plac Zgody was a place for people to socialise, relax and escape the oppressive overcrowding of the tenements. It was also the site of families being torn apart, beatings and executions. All deportations out of the ghetto began here, with transports taking victims to Płaszów train station and on to death camps, or to the KL Płaszów concentration camp (p.99), created just 2km south of here.

Eagle Pharmacy

When the Nazis created the Jewish ghetto in 1941, this pharmacy and its Polish owner Tadeusz Pankiewicz found themselves at the very heart of it. Deciding to stay, Pankiewicz and his staff were the only Poles allowed to live and work in the ghetto, and over the two years of its existence, their pharmacy became an important resource for acquiring food, medicine and falsified documents, and a safehouse

Is a chair still a chair if no one sits in it? [Photo by E. Dufaj; Jewish Culture F estival archive.]
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for avoiding deportations. Pankiewicz (recognised today as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’) and his staff risked their lives in many clandestine operations while bearing witness to tragedy through the windows of the pharmacy as the ghetto and its 18,000 inhabitants were ultimately ‘liquidated.’ Today the building is a small museum, which heartrendingly describes life in the ghetto via first-hand testimonials and hands-on displays that create a very intimate visiting experience. If you don’t have the time or stamina for a visit to Schindler’s Factory (or Auschwitz for that matter), strongly consider this alternative. Visiting time: 45mins.

L-10, Pl. Bohaterów Getta 18. Open 10:00-17:00; closed Mon, Tue. Admission 18/14zł; Wed free.

Choose Your Adventure!

Expedite your way to Schindler’s Factory (#8) by going down Kącik Street?

Take a detour down ul. Lwowska to see the remnants of the Ghetto Wall (#5)?

Either way you’ll have to cross the street. The crosswalk at the northern end of the square is almost directly where one of the main gates into the ghetto once stood, near the intersection with ul. Kącik.

Ghetto Wall Fragment

The most conspicuous evidence of the ghetto today is this 12-metre stretch of the original ghetto wall. It is commonly said that the top of the ghetto wall was deliberately shaped to resemble Jewish tombstones. In 1983, a commemorative plaque was attached to this wall, which reads: “Here they lived, suffered and died at the hands of the German torturers. From here they began their final journey to the death camps.” As it happens, reading the plaque you are actually now outside of the ghetto. One of the four gates stood just metres from here at the intersection of Lwowska and Józefińska.

M-10, ul. Lwowska 25-29.

Ghetto Wall Fragment

250 metres away you’ll find another fragment; enter through the gate beside the high school, which you should find unlocked, even if closed. Though less visible and less visited than the fragment on ul. Lwowska, this section of the ghetto wall is longer and more striking thanks to its ironic juxtaposition with the playground equipment alongside it.

M-11, ul. Limanowskiego 62.

Choose Your Adventure!

To stay on your trajectory to Zabłocie and Schindler’s Factory, double back the way you came. Turn to p.94.

If you’re fit you can charge up the steep hill at the back of the playground, make a right at the top of the hill, and connect to the blue route that leads to Krakus Mound. If it’s a nice day, we recommend this option. Turn to p.99.

Honour Kraków's Jewish population by visiting Eagle Pharmacy.
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‘Only-in-Kraków’ views off of Limanowskiego Street.

Lipowa Street

Traverse the tunnel under the train tracks and you’ve entered Zabłocie, historically an industrial area that started as a salt port before booming with factories in the late 19th and early 20th century. Lipowa was one of the main roads connecting Zabłocie to Płaszów, a major transport hub. In addition to Schindler’s enamelware factory (Lipowa 4), this area bound by train tracks and the river had factories producing soap, toothpaste, iron goods, furniture, nets, boxes, vodka and even metal umbrella mechanisms - all of which opened in the fifty years before WWII. During the war, many of these factories were commandeered by the Nazis, adapted for the war effort, and staffed with unpaid Jewish workers who were shuttled in and out of the Kraków Ghetto (and later the KL Płaszów concentration camp) each day. Zabłocie was strongly connected with the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), which had storage warehouses here, and several factories producing aviation parts.

One of the first buildings you see upon exiting the tunnel is a soaring and neglected grey building on the left side behind the Orzo restaurant. This was part of the massive Telpod electronics manufacturer which took over many of Zabłocie’s factories, including the Schindler factory complex, during the communist era and operated until 2002. The first building on the right side of the street (Lipowa 3) started as a match factory in 1922 before becoming the Kraków Glassworks; today it is a museum where visitors can see live glassblowing demonstrations.

After 1989, most of Zabłocie’s state-run factories closed or stagnated, and in the past twenty years many have been torn down and replaced by modern apartment complexes, making this one of Kraków’s most rapidly developing neighbourhoods. Skipping over artsy and underground straight to ‘bourgie’ and corporate, a walk around mostly reveals a treeless and poorly planned neighbourhood full of beauty parlours, boutiques, restaurants and office complexes. | M/N-9

Schindler’s Factory

In 2010, the Oskar Schindler Enamelled Goods Factory reopened to the public as a worldclass museum. The story of Oskar Schindler and his employees is one which has been well-known since Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List (which was shot almost entirely in Kraków) brought it to audiences across the world in 1993, and while that story is covered in detail at this museum, it’s the city of Kraków that stars in the main role of its permanent exhibition titled, ‘Kraków During Nazi Occupation 1939-1945.’ Individual histories of Kraków’s wartime inhabitants guide visitors through the exhibit which covers the war of 1939, everyday life under occupation, the fate of the Jews, the city’s underground resistance and more, using vast archival documents, photos, radio and film recordings, period artefacts and dynamic multimedia installations. Other exhibits change regularly, while a separate section of the original factory is reserved for film screenings, lectures and other events. A must-visit, Schindler’s Factory is one of the most fascinating museums in the entire country and we recommend you reserve at least two hours if you want to see everything.

One of Kraków’s most popular museums, entries are timed, but tickets are generally available from the ticket desk for immediate entry; alternatively, buy them in advance online (www.bilety.mhk.pl).

Visiting time: 2.5hrs.

N-9, ul. Lipowa 4. Open 10:00-19:00; Mon 10:00-14:00; Fri, Sat, Sun 09:00-20:00; closed 1st Tue each month. Admission 36/32zł, Mon free.

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Popular Polish museum motif, seen here in Schindler's Factory.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK)

Opened in 2011, MOCAK does not disappoint, capably holding its own with comparable international art institutions. Located within the former site of Schindler’s enamel factory, the building alone impresses with its avant-garde styling and ultra-modern layout. The museum boasts a large and fine collection of modern art highlighting both Polish and international artists, and there are always several provocative temporary exhibitions, plus a large cafe and bookshop. Despite the relatively late closing hour, make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy all the museum has to offer. Visiting time: 2hrs.

N-9, ul. Lipowa 4. Open 11:00-19:00; closed Mon. Admission 25/14zł, Thu free for permanent exhibit.

Choose Your Adventure!

To find a place to eat and relax nearby, see our suggestions on p.102.

To check out the area’s only green spacePark Stacja Wisła (M/N-8), head towards the river.

To escape the area, catch a tram at the end of ul. Romanowicza (N-9), or head back to Plac Bohaterów Getta (M-9).

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Lost in the Polish language terrorscape at MOCAK.

Krzemionki Route

A fine choice. Note that this route takes unpaved trails, and once you leave the area of Rynek Podgórski you may not have another opportunity to buy food or drinks, so consider stocking up now.

Rynek Podgórski

This handsome triangular plot was the main market 'square’ of the Free City of Podgórze, until the independent city was absorbed into Kraków in 1915. The marketplace was laid out in the 18th century at the foot of Lasota Hill, where roads leading to Kraków, Kalwaria, and Wieliczka intersected. The Rynek said goodbye to commerce in 1917 when a new tram line was added, its turning loop taking up most of the trading space (oh modernity). Though the loop was eventually moved, the markets never resumed, and today the quiet square is mostly lined with residential buildings, save for the iconic St. Joseph’s Church dominating the south end, an two former Town Halls - the 'Under the White Eagle’ manor at no. 14 (early 19th century to 1854), and the stately building at no. 1 (1854-1915, now the Kraków City

Council Department of Architecture). It was beside the latter that the main gate into the Jewish Ghetto stood on ul. Limanowskiego during WWII (L-10).

The awe-inspiring Neo-Gothic St. Joseph’s Church - Podgórze’s primary house of worship - was built between 1905-09 to the design of Jan Sas-Zubrzycki. Dominated by an 80m clock tower, elaborate masonry dressing, gargoyles and sculptures of saints, St. Joseph’s slender, yet imposing brick facade rates among the most beautiful in Kraków. The interior is no less beautiful and the area behind the church has been turned into a small landscape park featuring benches and tables, a play area for young children, and the 1832 belfry - all that remains of the original temple. | K/L-10.

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St. Joseph's Church on Rynek Podgórski.

Choose Your Adventure!

If you’re eager to get to off the pavements and onto the Mound (#7), make a left at the foot of the church steps onto ul. Rękawka, then cut up into the woods after no. 20 (see map on p.87).

To check out one of Poland’s biggest parks, make a right onto ul. Zamoyskiego.

Plac Niepodległości

A walk down Zamoyskiego soon brings you to the foot of the main stairs leading up to Bednarski Park, and to the top of the stairs leading down to Plac Niepodległości (Independence Square). The latter was the site of the first actions of the 1918 'Liberation of Kraków.’ While today the western side of the square is dominated by the Korona sports complex, in the early 20th centurywhen Poland was partitioned and Kraków was part of Austrian Galicia - this was the site of an Austrian army barracks. In a revolt led by Antoni Stawarz (whose image you’ll find on a large mural at the foot of the park steps), it was here on October 31st, 1918, that Polish soldiers put on the national colours, ‘attacked’ the barracks and managed to take over command without a shot being fired. As such, Podgórze was the first place in Poland to regain its independence after 72 years of Austrian occupation. But Stawarz’s uprising didn’t stop there;

he marched his men all the way to the main market square, liberating the entire city as more soldiers and civilians joined the ranks of the emancipating army. Though the rest of Poland would wait until November 11 to regain independence, Kraków claims its began on this aptly-named square 11 days earlier. Huzzah. Today the square is most notable for its farmers market every Wednesday and Saturday morning. | K-10.

Bednarski Park

Opened on the site of a former limestone quarry at the end of the 19th century, Bednarski gets our vote as Kraków's most beautiful park, thanks to its unique perch over Podgórze at 240m above sea level, picturesque cliffs, multitude of large trees and lush spaces to explore. Officially the park occupies about 8.5ha, but another 13.5ha of afforested area creates a continuous green space stretching all the way along the top of the Krzemionki cliffs from Rynek Podgórski (in the east) to the Mateczny Roundabout (in the west).

Reopened in 2023 after major restoration works, the park now features new benches, lamps, stairs and pathways, plus a fantastic modern playground, a gazebo overlooking Podgórze, bathrooms and a cafe. The area to the southwest around the TV Tower remains untamed and is absolutely worth exploring if you want to disappear into the wilds. | K/L-11.

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Famous faces of Podgórze. Photo by Aga Burghardt.
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Modern playground in Bednarski Park.

Plac Lasota & Rainbow Stairs

The eastern exit of the park puts you on Plac Lasoty, once home to Podgórze’s rich and famous, as the street’s gorgeous villas suggest. On the corner stands the towering Villa ‘Mira’ (1896), while Villa ‘Julia’ next door - former home of park founder Wojciech Bednarski - features a clocktower (built 1903); Antoni Stawarz - leader of the bloodless 1918 ‘Liberation of Kraków’ - lived in the third villa here (Plac Lasoty 3).

Before the fancy estates, this was actually gallows hill. During the communist era it was renamed Kostka-Napierski Square after one of the leaders of a peasant uprising in the mountainous Podhale region to the south in June 1651. Although the peasants succeeded in taking Czorsztyn Castle they were forced to surrender 10 days later and the three leaders were brought to Kraków, more specifically here, where one was quartered, another beheaded, and Kostka-Napierski was impaled. In 1991, the city changed the name back to Lasota Square. Moving right along….

Turn left after the Stawarz villa to find Podgórze’s rainbow stairs (ul. Tatrzańska). Each step has a random quote or aphorism in Polish, and even if you don’t understand the phrases, it’s still a nice spot for a photo-op. Halfway down the stairs at ul. Potebni, make a right onto the footpath and enjoy a short, scenic walk through the woods to Lasota Hill. | L-11

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Aerial view of Fort Benedict on Lasota Hill.

Lasota Hill

Although the entire limestone upland of Krzemionki (including Krakus Mound) is considered to be ‘Lasota Hill’ (Wzgórze Lasota), we use the term to refer to this elevated meadow above ul. Rękawka. It was here that one of the most powerful scenes from Schindler’s List was filmed, in which Schindler and his wife stop here on horseback and witness a Nazi round-up taking place in the Jewish Ghetto below. This scene serves as the emotional turning point for Schindler’s character as he focuses in on the ‘girl in the red coat’ - the otherwise black-and-white film’s most powerful visual device.

Though in summer the trees are a bit too lush, in winter this spot does indeed offer views of Podgórze, Kazimierz and the Old Town from its ridge behind St. Benedict’s Church. In olden days Lasota Hill was a popular site for pagan worship, and this church - one of the city’s oldest and smallest - was built here in the 11th century specifically to put a frowny face on such practices. The hill’s other major point of interest is obviously Fort Benedict - the only surviving fortress of three that were built in Podgórze in the mid-19th century. An imposing 16-sided brick monolith, today the fort stands abandoned with its future uncertain. Though you can probably find a way through the fence to explore it up close, we’re sure you’ll find (like we did) that this fort is indeed impenetrable. | M-11.

Choose Your Adventure!

Although it looks far away from here, Krakus Mound is only 20mins on foot from here and worth the walk. Note that a small shop just before the pedestrian overpass is the last chance to buy drinks or snacks (if it’s open). Turn the page and finish the job.

The footpath to the left behind Fort Benedict leads you to the Old Podgórze Cemetery and a ridge above one of the surviving sections of the Ghetto Wall. Charge down the hill to see it up close and connect with the beige route on p.93.

KL Plaszów

While thousands of tourists use Kraków as a jumping-off point for Auschwitz (p.111), few realise that Kraków actually had a concentration camp in its own backyard. On a large tract of lonely, undeveloped land behind Krakus Mound lies the former site of ‘Konzentrationslager Plaszow bei Krakau’today a wild, uneven expanse of grass, weeds and stone.

If you think you aren’t familiar with its story, you probably are. It was here that many of the real-life events in the film Schindler’s List took place; as a result, camp commandant Amon Goeth (the film’s antagonist) is one of history’s most notorious Nazis. Built with Jewish slave labour, the Kraków Ghetto was swiftly liquidated upon the completion of this prison camp in March 1943. Covering over 80ha, some 150,000 prisoners passed through the camp in less than two years, and the number that perished is in the tens of thousands.

Today an open-air memorial park, plans to build a museum here are underway. For now, visitors will find outdoor info boards with archival photos, several execution sites and memorials, the ruins of a Jewish funeral home and the remnants of two Jewish cemeteries.

Just south of Krakus Mound, you can get there on foot in 10mins from the south rim of Liban Quarry (p.101), or take a tram to ‘Cmentarz Podgórski,’ and access the site via ul. Jerozolimska.

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The 'Monument of Torn-out Hearts' in Płaszów.

Krakus Mound

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. The oldest structure in Kraków, Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) is one of two prehistoric monumental mounds in the city (the other being Wanda Mound in Nowa Huta, Z-3 on the map on p.105) and is also its highest point, providing wonderful panoramic views from its 16m summit. The site of centuries of pagan ritual, the mound retains an ancient, evocative atmosphere amplified by its immediate surroundings - the cliffs of Krzemionki, the rolling fields of Płaszów to the south, the grim Liban quarry and the Podgórze cemetery.

The result of great human effort and innovative engineering, Krakus Mound has long been a source of mystery. Connected with the legend of Kraków’s mythical founder, King ‘Krak’ or ‘Krakus,’ the mound is said to have been constructed in honour of his death when noblemen and peasants filled their sleeves with soil, bringing it to this site in order to create an artificial mountain that would rule over the rest of

the landscape. The location hardly seems accidental. In addition to being an ideal vantage point over the surrounding valleys, when standing on the Krakus Mound at dawn on the summer solstice, the sun can be seen rising directly behind Wanda Mound, 10km away; conversely, standing on Wanda Mound at dusk, the sun sets in a straight line behind Krakus Mound. Indeed, sunset is a perfect time to be on either peak.

In the interwar period, extensive archaeological studies were undertaken to date the mound and verify if Krak was indeed buried beneath it. Though no grave was found, 8th century artefacts were uncovered, and it was determined that a massive 300-year-old oak, likely cut down in the 11th century when St. Benedict’s Church was built, once stood atop the mound. There is general agreement today that the mound was created by a Slavonic colony sometime between the latter half of the 7th century and the early 10th century, though other hypotheses credit the structure to the Celts. It remains one of

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Sunset goals at Krakus Mound.
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Poland’s greatest archaeological mysteries. Originally four smaller mounds surrounded the base of Krakus Mound, however these were levelled by the Austrians in the mid-19th century during the construction of the city’s first fortress, which surrounded the area with a wall embankment and a moat; ironically these fortifications were themselves levelled in 1954. Krakus Mound also inspired the modern creation of earthwork mounds honouring Kościuszko (1823) and Piłsudski (1937), which are also worth visiting if you have time. | M-12.

Choose Your Adventure!

Although a cold drink atop Krakus Mound is the perfect way to end an outing, more places of intrigue lie right on its doorstep.

Follow the path behind the Mound south to the corner of the cemetery for amazing views from the rim of Liban Quarry. Want to be in the quarry? Hike just a bit further and take the path descending to the right.

Follow the same path but stay along the rim trail and you’ll quickly come to the ruins of a 19th century Austrian gunpowder warehouse. Just 200m south you’ll enter the former territory of the KL Płaszów concentration camp (p.99), 10mins on foot from the Mound.

To quickly return to civilisation, take the path east from the Mound down to ul. Maryewskiego, turn right and follow the edge of the cemetery to Aleja Pod Kopcem, weaving your way down to ul. Wielicka where you can catch a tram back to the centre.

Liban Quarry

One of the most forgotten places in Kraków, the 18ha Liban Quarry is first and foremost a place of remembrance for the victims of the Nazi penal labour camp that operated here during WWII. Today a nature sanctuary, its towering cliffs, ponds and dense vegetation, combined with refinery equipment and creepy war relics, offer adventurous visitors some intriguing opportunities for exploration, photography and reflection.

Established in 1873 by the Jewish limestone company ‘Liban and Ehrenpreis,’ during Nazi occupation over 2000 Polish and Ukrainian men and women performed gruelling slave labour here. During the liquidation of the camp in July 1944, 146 prisoners somehow managed to escape; 21 others were executed and a memorial can be found at their mass grave along the edge of the quarry near ul. Za Torem (though our advice is to avoid that part of the complex). After the war, the quarry resumed operation, closing in 1986.

In 1993 Steven Spielberg used Liban as a stand-in for the nearby KL Płaszów concentration camp (p.99), where he was not permitted to film. 34 barracks and watchtowers were set-up here, and though most of the set was removed, some traces remain confusingly mixed with genuine artefacts, making it unclear just how uncomfortable you should feel as you walk amongst the rusty machinery and fence posts - some still strung with barbed wire (be careful!). Certainly, the most disturbing sight is the central pathway paved with Jewish headstones; we can assure you they are not genuine. An incredibly evocative, yet peaceful and beautiful site, enter the quarry at your own risk via a trail from the south rim along the eastern edge of the quarry. | M-12.

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Rusting refinery equipment in Liban Quarry.

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Eat & Drink

You’ll find no shortage of cafes and restaurants in Podgórze, primarily located between the Piłsudski (K-10) and Kotlarski (N-8) bridges. Check the address line for ‘(Zabłocie)’ to find our recommendations within easy walking distance of Schindler’s Factory; the rest are all within minutes of Rynek Podgórski and Plac Bohaterów Getta. Visit Kraków IYP online for full descriptions, details and more options.

COFFEE & BREAKFAST

Cawa Cafe & Wine

L-10, ul. Nadwiślańska 1/6

Ideal for coffee, brunch or wine, enjoy the casual vibe and exotic eats of this friendly neighbourhood cafe near Podgórze’s waterfront.

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Nad & Greg

J-5, Rynek Podgórski 11

This gourmet French patisserie expertly makes all their delicious pastries and cakes from scratch, earning a cult following among locals. Join in.

Targowa 2

L-10, ul Targowa 2

Near Plac BG, this bar and bistro has it going on: chic interior, chill local vibe, craft beer and wine and outstanding vegetarian breakfasts.

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CASUAL DINING

Delecta

L-10, ul. Limanowskiego 11

A Podgórze mainstay, this rustic trattoria combines authentic Italian cuisine with a cosy atmosphere, good for both dinner dates and family gatherings.

Emalia

N-9, ul. Romanowicza 5/9 (Zabłocie)

Above-average Polish and European dishes served in a casual setting, where they also bake their own bread and make their own vodkas. Solid choice.

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Kuchnia Polska ‘Gąska’

L-10, ul. Limanowskiego 1

Simple, seasonal Polish cooking in an elegant, but restrained interior reminiscent of a country manor. Fill up on traditional fare, finish with flavoured vodka. 2

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Hala Lipowa

N-9, ul. Lipowa 4D (Zabłocie)

Right near MOCAK, this indoor food hall offers 6 diverse food concepts, weekday lunch specials, craft beer, cocktails and frequent weekend events.

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Nostra Napoletana

M-8, Park Stacja Wisła (Zabłocie)

This authentic Italian pizzeria in Zabłocie's only park is a great place to relax, have a spritzer in the sun, or turn the kids loose without worrying what they'll eat.

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Techies

M-9, ul. Na Zjeździe 11

A slightly corpo vibe is overcome by an exciting menu of tacos, tapas, nachos and more, plus craft beer and cocktails made primarily with tequila and mescal. Yum.

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DINNER & DRINKS

Euskadi

K-10, ul. K. Brodzińskiego 4

Kraków’s only Basque eatery, offering a range of exotic tapas and tiny entrees for sharing in an intimate, social setting. Excellent.

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Luktung

K-10, Rynek Podgórski 11

Order multiple small sharing dishes of exotic Southeast Asian cuisine, plus cocktails, for a lively, social and very different dining experience with friends.

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Orzo

N-9, ul. Lipowa 4A (Zabłocie)

With fusion-inflected eats, original cocktails, plenty of greenery and lots of space, Orzo checks all the boxes, shifting its vibe as the day progresses.

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Salute

N-9, ul. Romanowicza 4 (Zabłocie)

An outstanding wine list and cocktails, accompanied by small Mediterranean-inspired dishes designed for sharing. Salute is modern gastronomy at its best.

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ZaKładka

K-10, ul. Józefińska 2

One of the best meals around; this Parisian-style bistro is perfect for a romantic dinner, or afternoon aperitif on the sunny sidewalk.

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NIGHTLIFE

Drukarnia

L-10, ul. Nadwiślańska 1

Usually the last place to close their doors, this veteran dive bar has coveted sidewalk seating and a front room where smoking is somehow still allowed.

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Krako Slow Wines

N-9, ul. Lipowa 6F (Zabłocie)

The perfect palate-cleanser after Schindler’s Factory, sample natural wines, tapas or full entrees from Central Europe and the Caucasus in this warm bistro/bar.

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K-10, ul. Kalwaryjska 9/15

This large, laidback pub pours Polish craft beer, makes outrageously good sandwiches and also boasts a spacious seasonal terrace. Spot on.

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Tworzywo

L-10, Plac Bohaterów Getta 2/1 Arguably the perfect neighbourhood bar, snag a coffee or beer and a chair outside Tworzywo, and simply revel in the banality/beauty of being there.

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Nowa Huta

One of only two planned socialist realism cities ever built, Nowa Huta was conceived as a proletariat paradise to undermine Kraków’s intellectual elitism. With its monumental architecture and resistance to change, today this residential district gives visitors a glimpse back into the communist era.

Aerial view of Nowa Huta's (incomplete) urban plan around Plac Centralny (p.106).

SOLIDARNOŚCI

The plan to build Nowa Huta was hatched after WWII when Poland’s new Socialist government encountered resistance from mostly middle-class Kraków. To ‘correct the class imbalance’ authorities conceived of an adjacent industrial city that would be anchored by a massive steel mill, populated with 100,000 peasants, and become a beacon of Socialist pride and propaganda. Despite an impractical, purely ideological location that destroyed several ancient villages (take Wanda Mound (Z-3) - an 8th century earthwork - as evidence), work began at breakneck speed in 1947, with enthusiastic volunteers flocking in from across the country.

Architecture was a key tool of the state, and the sanctioned style of the time - Socialist Realism - dictated intimidating apartment blocks made from concrete. The urban plan accounted for the possibility of turning Nowa Huta into a fortress if it came under attack; underground bunkers could shelter the entire population, wide avenues would prevent the spread of fire, and the large number of trees would help absorb a potential nuclear blast.

Such threats would no doubt be a consequence of the new city’s strategic importance, primarily as the site of the ‘Lenin Steelworks,’ which opened in 1954, boasted the largest blast furnace in Europe, and employed 40,000 people, producing 7 million tonnes of steel per year at its peak. As monumental as residential Nowa Huta may seem, it pales in comparison to the 1000 hectare Steelworks complex, which includes multi-storey melting ladles and halls large enough to fit Krakow’s market square several times over.

Although erected in record time, the utopian dream of Nowa Huta was never fully realised. Due to a lack of funding (foreshadowing the economic hardships to come), key structures were never built, and many ornamental details were never added. However, what was completed is impressive, and stands in stark contrast to Kraków’s Old Town, as intended. Today Nowa Huta is Kraków’s most populated and most green district. If you’re curious about communist-era design, history or nostalgia, this is the place.

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Points of Interest

Nowa Huta offers austere architecture, outstanding art, urban recreation and historical paranoia, with lots of everyday banality inbetween. Start your tour by taking a tram to Plac Centralny (about 20mins from the centre), then decide where your interest takes you.

Plac Centralny & Aleja Róż

The epicentre of Nowa Huta’s urban plan, Plac Centralny’s (Central Square) superlative socialist realism design gives the district its unique character: grandiose, yet dull and alienating. The fact that it was never completed is just one of many layers of irony. Where a colonnaded theatre was to stand at the southern end, today is merely an empty field and small monument honouring Solidaritythe social and political movement that toppled the Soviet-backed regime. The Town Hall - resembling a mini version of Warsaw’s Palace of Culture & Science - was also never constructed on its central plot near today’s Park Ratuszowy (V-2). The pedestrian thoroughfare connecting these points therefore never developed, making Plac Centralny little more than a trumped-up traffic roundabout.

In terms of an actual plaza, the southern end of Aleja Róż (Roses Avenue) served this role, and it was there that from 1973 to 1989 an enormous monument of Vladimir Lenin stood in full stride. Dismantling it after the fall of communism was an important symbolic act, taken to almost comic extremes when Plac Centralny, which had been named after Joseph Stalin for a time, was officially re-designated ‘Ronald Reagan Central Square’ in 2004, as you’ll notice on street signs.

Despite the slight sense of farce, the square’s sweeping arch of six-storey arcaded buildings harbours several curiosities for visitors. Don’t miss the 'Markiza’ neon sign in the southeast corner; though the cake shop it advertised is long gone, the sign stands out as the area’s most nostalgic

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Socialist realism gets real on Plac Centralny.

memento from the PRL (Polish People’s Republic) era. Perhaps the most timeless shop in Nowa Huta is Cepelix (Os. Centrum B bl.1). Specialising in traditional Polish folk art and design, this amazing gift shop is the only locale to retain its original ‘50s interior decor, including long chandeliers and a coffer ceiling covered in hand-painted ceramic plates. Needless to say, the surrounding buildings would look a lot better today if they had also stayed committed to these details.

Nearby Aleja Róż was renovated in 2023, resulting in much more greenery and a return of roses to Roses Avenue. It's here you’ll find the Bar Mleczny Centrum milk bar - one of the cheap Soviet-era worker cafeterias which still survive in this district. Only a few doors down behold the outdated interiors of the famous Stylowa Restaurant; once one of the most exclusive restaurants in town, today you can drop in for a shot of vodka or a meal and imagine it’s the 1980s. Between those two throwbacks you’ll find Good Lood - Kraków’s best ice cream parlour - and a well-earned reward for trekking around Nowa Huta. | V-3

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Nowa Huta Cultural Centre (NCK)

An odd conglomeration of ugly buildings mainly from the 1970s and 80s (those chandeliers, though!), NCK is one of Kraków’s premier performance centres, hosting a huge repertoire of cultural events ranging from dance and theatre to art, film and more. Of most interest to tourists are two separate galleries devoted to provocative 20th century Polish painters preoccupied with the grotesque. While Zdzisław Beksiński’s canvases are drenched in surreal dystopian decay, the colours are almost luminous (20/15zł, p.31). Jerzy Duda-Gracz, meanwhile, skewers not the future, but the present with his cynical caricatures of man’s physical and moral decay (20/15zł, p.31). A compelling pairing, if you like one, chances are you’ll like the other (joint ticket 25/20zł). The ground-floor restaurant features a huge terrace, cocktails, pizza and burgers, and the space in front of the building operates as a food truck park - making this arguably the best place in the hood to find food. Visiting time: 75mins.

V-3, Al. Jana Pawła II 232. Open 08:00-20:00; galleries open Thu-Sun 13:00-19:00.

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Nowa Huta Museum

This large museum inside the former Światowid Cinema - a local landmark in socialist realism architecture, completed in 1957 - offers excellent exhibits on the history and culture of Nowa Huta over three floors. While the upstairs and ground floor change often, the former cinema’s vast cellars hold the intriguing exhibit 'Nuclear Threat: Shelters of Nowa Huta’ - part of the Nowa Huta Underground project (2nd branch at #4; tickets are good for both). The largest of some 250 such shelters beneath NH, here you’ll learn about the very organised and intricate plan Poland had for dealing with a potential nuclear attack during the Cold War, and the role every citizen would play in such an event. If you’re from the West, it’s akin to mild culture shock. Visiting time: 2hrs.

W-3, Os. Centrum E 1. Open 10:00-17:00; Sat, Sun 10:00-18:00; closed Mon, Tue. Admission 16/12zł, Wed free.

Choose Your Adventure!

Continue your urban safari via an uneventful 15min walk to NH Underground (#4) and Reservoir (#5)?

Take a tram 2 stops down Al. Solidarności to the Steelworks gates (#6)?

Go back in time - for better and for worsein the Stylowa Restaurant (Os. Centrum C3)?

Nowa Huta Underground: State of Emergency

Beneath Nowa Huta are enough emergency shelters to protect its every resident from an air raid or nuclear bomb - a very real threat during the Cold War. Though their effectiveness in a nuclear event has always been dubious, these shelters gave residents a sense of security and were an effective tool for authorities in the propaganda war with the West. The shelters here at Mechanical School No. 3 and under the Nowa Huta Museum (#3) are open to the public and one ticket is good for both. Occupying 124m2, this exhibit introduces some of the most interesting shelters in the world and explores the human instinct to

hide from danger. To find it, enter the building from Al. Solidarności, then into the central courtyard; the discreet museum entrance is on the left side. Visiting time: 45mins.

X-2, Os. Szkolne 37. Open 10:00-18:00; closed Mon. Admission 18/14zł; Wed free.

Nowa Huta Reservoir

Probably the nicest place to relax in Nowa Huta if you're having a communist-era overdose, this reservoir and the surrounding park are ideal for families, picnickers, and anyone looking for an outdoor activity or place to soak up some sunshine. Food trucks, coffee and ice cream are all on hand in summer, and around the perimetre you’ll also find an outdoor stage, pier, graduation tower, parkour course, sports courts, a playground and artificial beach, plus public pools and an entire fun park for kids. Kayaks and paddle boats can be rented here and if you’re really brave, you can even go swimming in the lake, or sign on for a 2hr float trip down the Dłubnia river, which flows from here to the Wisła (ask at the kayak rental on-site, but best if arranged in advance via nowahutatravel.pl).

For further adventure, find the trail behind the playground that leads within minutes to the rustic manor house of famous 19th century painter Jan Matejko, and the 17th-century wooden church next door; both sites are seldom open, but make for an interesting glimpse at the village vibes Nowa Huta's colossal concrete corridors wiped out. | X-1

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Underground crisis room at the Steelworks.

Eat & Drink

Although our prediction that Nowa Huta will someday be the trendiest place to go out in Kraków is no closer to becoming reality, it’s not the food desert it once was. Today there are quite a few hip locales alongside artefacts from the PRL era; note, however, that none of them are open early or stay open late.

Przestrzenie Nowohuckie

V-3, al. Jana Pawła II 232

This huge beer garden behind NCK is NH's hippest hangout at the moment, serving Neapolitan pizzas, epic burgers and spritzers by the carafe.

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Skarbnica Smaku

V-3, Os. Centrum C1/U2

Serving traditional Polish cuisine in socialist realist interiors, this first-rate restaurant pays homage to NH's past, rather than still being stuck in it.

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Klub Kombinator

X-2, Osiedle Szkolne 25

A cool, laidback neighbourhood cafe/bar inside a theatre. Host to frequent parties, film screenings and other cultural events. Open Thu-Sun only.

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Administrative Buildings of the Sendzimir Steelworks

While the monumental Plac Centralny is the face Nowa Huta turns to the public, its true architectural glory-piece is the twin palatial edifices flanking the main entrance gate of the former Lenin Steelworks. Built in 1952-55 and crowned with a Renaissance comb attic, these imposing monstrosities are the most exquisite example of socialist realism in Kraków. Although the rest of the massive complex today known as ‘ArcelorMittal Poland’ (which still employs about 3500, but doesn’t play the huge role it once did) is off-limits, these long abandoned administrative buildings can be toured with a guide. You’ll be amazed at the grandeur and well-preserved state of the interiors, which look as if the workers just left and might be back soon. The route takes you through the main lobby, offices and massive conference rooms - where you’ll see magnificent marble staircases, enormous chandeliers, coffered ceilings and ‘50s decor - before heading underground to a secret command post filled with nuclear fallout maps, emergency communication equipment, sleeping cots and more. Subterranean passages connect the two administration buildings, both of which you get to explore during the 90min tour (available in multiple languages; arrange in advance by phone or via online form). Recommended. To get there take a tram to the 'Kombinat’ stop. Visiting time: 90mins.

Z-1, ul. Ujastek 1, tel. (+48) 79 160 58 79, www. fundacjanh.org.

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The dizzying heights of socialist realism architecture.
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Day Trips

As if there weren’t already enough to explore in Kraków, the surrounding Małopolska region is home to as many as 15 more UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 6 national parks. If you’re here for a longer stay, consider venturing out to these worthwhile sites; visit our website for more details and ideas.

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1 Auschwitz-Birkenau

Each visitor to Kraków is confronted with the prospect of visiting the former Nazi death camp in Oświęcim: the most tragic site - and foremost symbol of - the Holocaust. Although there are local alternatives (Schindler’s Factory (p.92), Eagle Pharmacy (p.92), KL Płaszów (p.99)), none of them have the emotional impact and resonance of a trip to Auschwitz. We believe it’s an experience everyone should have, but at 75km away from Kraków, know that a visit takes up an entire day. For complete info on what to expect and how to plan your trip, go to our website.

Getting there: Sign on with a Kraków tourist agency to have transport arranged; otherwise the fastest bus takes 1hr 20mins, fastest train 1hr 45mins.

2 Wieliczka Salt Mine

One of the most famous attractions in Poland, tourists have been exploring this well-preserved underground world for centuries. Although most leave thoroughly impressed, the turnstile nature of the operation deserves some critique. More than a historic industrial site, the mine’s chambers are filled with wondrous works of art carved from salt, including a stunning 22,000m3 chapel from the 17th century. A huge source of wealth dating back to the 13th century, the town of Wieliczka also has its charms; though visitors could spend the day here, most just do the Tourist Route and leave after 2.5hrs. Full details on our website.

Getting there: Literally the next town over (15km away), trains and buses run regularly; journey time 25-45mins; malopolskiekoleje.pl.

3 Tarnów

Małopolska’s second city by size, Tarnów is actually dwarfed by Kraków and has serious small town charm along with a rich history. Possessing one of the most picturesque and well-preserved Old Towns in Poland, Tarnów is a showcase of medieval urban planning and Renaissance architecture.

Quiet and romantic, the city is loaded with historical monuments, boasts several historic wooden churches, worthwhile museums and even hilltop castle ruins - enough to warrant spending the night (and its own In Your Pocket site: iyp.me/tarnow). Pick up the free Tarnów IYP mini-guide from the tourist info office on the market square.

Getting there: 80km east of Kraków, you can get to Tarnów on the A4 highway in less than 1hr. Trains run often; journey time 50-80mins.

4 Ojców National Park

Although it is Poland’s smallest national park at only 21.5km2, Ojców has much to offer, particularly for cyclists, rock climbers, hikers and history buffs. Characterised by thick woodlands, deep ravines, limestone cliffs and incredible standing stones, the picturesque landscape is also home to over 400 caves, some of which can be easily explored. In addition to natural wonders, the park boasts two castles: Kazimierz Castle, today largely a ruin, and Pieskowa Skała, one of PL’s most glorious examples of Renaissance architecture. There’s also a famous trout farm in the valley, so feast on fresh fish after a hike or museum visit.

Getting there: Only 24km away, buses run often from ‘Kraków Nowy Kleparz’ (I-2) to ‘Ojców Parking’ or ‘Sułoszowa/Pieskowa Skała;’ journey time 3540mins, e-podroznik.pl. Ojcow.pl also arranges tours and transport.

FURTHER AFIELD
111
Tarnów market square.

19th Century Polish

Art Gallery 32

Adam Mickiewicz Monument 50

Arena Garden 16

Bagry Lagoon 11

Barbican 47

Bednarski Park 97

Bernatek Footbridge 87

Bishop's Palace 55

Bunkier Sztuki 31

Church of Saints Peter & Paul 58

City Defence Walls 45

Cloth Hall 50

Collegium Maius 29, 54

Collegium Novum 54

Czartoryski Princes Lane 46

Czartoryski Princes Museum 29

Dragon's Den 67

Eagle Pharmacy 92

Eros Bendato 52

Floriańska Gate 46

Galicia Jewish Museum 80

Ghetto Wall Fragments 93

Grodzka Street 58

High Synagogue 79

Hotel Forum 11

Hype Park 14

Izaak Synagogue 78

Jan Matejko Monument 47

Jerzy Duda-Gracz Gallery 31

Jewish Community Centre 76

Józef Mehoffer House 33

Józefa Street 78

Józefińska Street 90

Judaica Foundation 73

Kanonicza Street 59

KL Płaszów 99

Kościuszko Mound 33

Kowea Itim Le-Tora

Prayer House 79

Kraków National Museum 30

Krakus Mound 100

Kupa Synagogue 75

Krzysztofory Palace 33

Lasota Hill 99

Leo Square 89

Liban Quarry 101

Lipowa Street 94

Main Market Square 48

Meiselsa Street 72

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK) 95 Museum of Photography (MuFo) 30

New Jewish Cemetery 76

Nowa Huta

Cultural Centre (NCK) 107

Nowa Huta Museum 108

Nowa Huta Reservoir 108

Nowa Huta Underground 108

Old Synagogue 80

Park Lotników Polskich 16

Piotr Skrzynecki Monument 53

Plac Bohaterów Getta 92

Plac Centralny 106

Plac Lasota 98

Plac Niepodległosci 97

Plac Nowy 74

Plac Wolnica 82

Planty Park 44

Pope John Paul II Monument 64

Kościuszko

Popper Synagogue 77 Rainbow
98 Remah
77 Rynek
96 Rynek
29 Schindler's
94 Skałka
Monastery 83 Słowacki
44 St.
50 St.
59 St. Francis
56 St.
48 Stained
32 Stanisław
Garden 16 Steelworks
Buildings 109 Św.
81 Szeroka
76 Szołayski
31 Tadeusz
Monument 64 Tempel Synagogue 74 Town Hall Tower 52 Wawel
66 Wawel Cathedral 64 Wawel
Museum 64 Wawel Chakra Stone 66 Wawel Dragon 67 Wawel State Rooms 29 Wyspiański
56 Zakrzówek
12 Zdzisław
31 VENUE INDEX
Stairs
Synagogue & Cemetery
Podgórski
Underground Museum
Factory 29,
Church & Pauline
Theatre
Adalbert's Church
Andrew's Church
Basilica
Mary's Basilica
Glass Museum
Lem Experimental
Administrative
Wawrzyńca Street
Street
House
Arcaded Courtyard
Cathedral
Pavilion
Quarry
Beksiński Gallery
krakow.inyourpocket.com 112
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