A picturesque piece of land located at the wide riverbed of Vistula. Long walks through the market and climbing the hills. Among the passers-by, one can recognize many languages: Polish, German, English, and Spanish. A place for everyone.
How did it all get started? According to the legend, the city’s founding is attributed to the prince of Poland Krakow, hence the name of the city, Krakow. The same legend tells us that the inhabitants were being harassed by a monster, a dragon to be exact, living under the hill on which the royal castle was located. He caused huge problems - he ate flocks and cattle, and sometimes even people. Eventually, the ruler outwitted the dragon. He ordered to fill dead animals with sulphur, wax, resin, and tar set it all on fire, give it to the beast to eat and die.
Krakow played an important role in the political life of the Polish state. Among other historical events, Władysław Łokietek had his coronation there. The city obviously got damaged a lot through the years, for example during the Swedish Deluge in 1655. Until 1795, it was formally the capital of Poland.
Tourist attractions that are worth visiting while in Krakow are also aplenty. By far the most important point of the trip should be Wawel, the former seat of the Polish rulers. While visiting this place, one can see the armoury, private royal apartments, and the treasury. Some of the greatest poles were buried there, among others Józef Piłsudski and Kazimierz the Great. In addition, under the hill, there is a cavern of the legendary dragon and its monument.
Another characteristic monument of the capital of Lesser Poland is the Cloth Hall. It's located in the central part of the Main Market Square. It was built around the 13th century at the special request of the residents. It served mainly as a place to trade. The building changed over the years. Currently, the bottom part is taken up mostly by stalls with jewellery and souvenirs. On the first floor, in turn, there is the Polish Painting and Sculpture Museum of the 19th century.
While walking around the Main Market Square in Krakow, one can hear the trumpet call, performed by a trumpeter on every hour of the day, from the tower of the Assumption of Mary church. At first, it was played only at noon.
There is also a legend connected with the trumpet call. A city guard gave a signal every day from the highest tower to open and close the gates of the city. In addition, when the enemies approached or a fire broke out, he would sound an alarm. Once, the city was attacked by the Tatars. The guard sounded the alarm and while the gates were being closed, one of the arrows hit the trumpeter right in the throat before he finished playing the trumpet call. To commemorate this event, the melody always breaks off right at the end.
The city offers many other attractions. Many museums, parks, old districts, churches. Also, the Barbican and Kazimierz, a district with numerous monuments of Jewish architecture.
Another characteristic feature of the Lesser Poland’s capital are pigeons, about which there is also a legend going around. Prince Henry IV Probus wanted to unite all the Polish lands under his rule and crown himself as a king. However, he didn’t have enough money to do that. He decided to go to a witch who turned all his knights into pigeons. The pigeons sat down on the St. Mary's Church and began to peck out small pebbles, which, while falling, turned into gold coins. The prince decided to go to Rome to get the Pope's blessing. Along the way, however, he began to spend his money carelessly and never reached his destination nor did he return to his homeland. However, his loyal fellowship of knights is still waiting for him, in the form of pigeons.
Krakow is a city of many legends, monuments and beautiful places that are worth visiting. And the view of Wawel illuminated in the evening is absolutely breath-taking and will leave a mark in your memory for years to come.