Welcome to Kraków and Poland
Kraków is a magical city, situated in the southeast of the country, between the Jura uplands and the Tatra Mountains, on the banks of the Vistula River.
It has one of the best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe: Cracow Old Town, the historic central district, is listed at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1257, the Main Market Square is one of the largest medieval market squares in Europe. It is dominated by the 16th-century Cloth Hall, which continues to perform its role as a trading centre with lively market stalls and cafés in and around the building. The surrounding lanes of the Old Town are ringed by Planty Park, a leafy band of greenery that follows the line of the Old Town walls. The voluminous hulk of Wawel Hill, to the south, is home to Wawel Castle, the seat of Polish kings from the 11th to the early 17th century. One of the major tourist attractions is also Kazimierz, which was once a cradle of Jewish culture and a separate town in its own right.
Kraków is rich in cultural attractions, with almost a quarter of Poland’s museum holdings housed here and the city’s cultural scene is without parallel in Poland – the city was justifiably named as one of the nine European Cities of Culture in 2000. The city’s cultural heritage is mirrored by its intellectual achievements – Jagiellonian University and several other higher-education institutions. The student population of the city numbers over 100,000, which ensures a lively nightlife scene. The official city webpage with detailed information for visitors, such as guides to restaurants and hotels, as well as information about the city’s culture, and history can be found here.