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Monday, 8 December 2014

Walking Around the Kraków Old Town

After visiting the Wawel Royal Castle, we descended Wawel Hill to get to the Old Town (Stare Miasto) of Kraków. The streets are paved with cobble stones not unlike any old town of other European cities.

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On the way to the main square in the Old Town, we passed by the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and the neighbouring St. Andrew's Church.

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The Church of St. Andrew is the one with two towers built in the Romanesque style. It is old of the oldest buildings in Kraków.

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The main square in the old town is the Main Market Square. It is considered the largest medieval town square in Europe with the Cloth Hall at the centre of the square. The square is surrounded by historical buildings such as old townhouses, palaces and churches.

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The Cloth Hall was built in the 16th century for international trading. Merchants met in the hall to discuss businesses and making deals. Its role as trading centre hasn't changed, as tourists are bargaining in the shops selling souvenirs and accessories.

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One of the iconic buildings in the Main Market Square is the St. Mary's Basilica which is also know as the Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. It is a Gothic church made of red bricks.

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Before we end out walking tour of the Old Town of Krakow, we passed by the St. Barbara's Church which is also made of red bricks.

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Hill is a limestone hill by the bank of the Vistula river. The history of Wawel Hill dates back to the medieval legends of a dragon living in the cave on the hill and its slayer Krakus. Surrounded by waters and marshes, the hill became a natural protection haven for the settlers. It is natural that it became the centre of political power by the end of the 9th century. Since then, it had been the residence of people in power; a military hospital during the end of 19th century; an official residence of Head of State during the independence of Poland in 1918; and now a museum.

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The Wawel Cathedral was thoroughly restored in the early 20th century, followed by the restoration of the royal castle. The restoration works took a few decades to complete.

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The arcaded galleries with a large courtyard of the castle building were added when the Italian Renaissance entered Wawel in the 16th century.

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The Wawel Royal Castle is the top attraction in Krakow. A visit to Krakow is mot complete without a stroll around the castle compound.

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