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Top 10 Interesting Facts about Kraków

Cracow
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Cracow

Kraków has always been free and independent. It managed to retain its autonomy even during the times when Poland was divided. The city has always been considered to be the “benchmark of Polish culture” and the country’s cultural capital.

Here, Travel on Spot presents a few of the city’s more prominent features.

1. St. Mary’s Trumpet Call can be heard playing hourly from the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica – a major symbol of Kraków. The melody always stops short, which symbolises the legend of a trumpeter who, in 1240, wanted to warn the locals of an approaching enemy, but was killed by an arrow.

2. The Town Hall Tower of Kraków is the city’s own version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Even though the tower deviates from the base by mere 55 cm, it can be clearly seen thanks to its being 70 m high.

3. The 11-tonne Sigismund Bell, located in the bell tower of the Wawel Cathedral, is sounded only during the most important of the Polish holidays.

Wawel castle in Cracow
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Wawel castle in Cracow

4. The Caste of Wawel has a “one painting exposition”. The exhibit in question is Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” original.

5. The Balaton Restaurant in Kraków is a traditional Austro-Hungarian tavern that’s been frequented by entire Polish generations. Here you can hear Hutsuli songs and try traditional Hungarian potato pancakes with pepper, which can be already smelt on the street.

6. Kraków University, established in the 14th century, is the oldest university in Poland.

7. Stephen Spielberg’s famous movie Schindler’s List was shot in one of Kraków’s Jewish quarters, called Kazimierz. Most of the quarter’s houses are still decorated with Stars of David. The local synagogues and tiny shops and cafés that serve Jewish dishes are all enshrouded in the spirit of those times.

8. Kraków’s Market Square is the largest medieval commercial square in Europe (each of its sides is 200 m long).

Cracow by night
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Cracow by night

9. The Plantais Boulevard, which stretches all around the Old Town, is the most popular place of recreation in Kraków. Plantais is surrounded by trees that are centuries old.

10. It took twelve years for the legendary master Wit Stwosz to create the Gothic altar of St. Mary’s Basilica.

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