What to see in Krakow on a rainy November day? Where to go to escape the tourist crowds that have overtaken Main Market Square in hot June? There’s plenty of places to go, but to be frank, you need to look for them, as they are hidden often far away from main tourist trails. In those places you will not see crowds of guided tours from China, neither will you experience noisy families with kids running everywhere – nor stumble upon drunken alko-tourists from any part of the world. But what you will see is Krakow unknown, quiet and definetly beautiful. So, after you will get the opportunity to see Krakow attractions from the “most-do” and “most-see” list, try visiting places off-the beaten track we have found especially for you!
If you’re undecided what to see in Krakow while wandering through the vibrant Main Market Square and walking around polish beloved Mariacki Church, try to go down and below the Market’s surface – to the Krakow Underground Museum. Its an amazing place – a museum was established in recently discovered unnderground tunnels, basements and cellars below the medieval Cloth Hall (Sukiennice). In the museouom you will learn about Krakow’s intriguing history stretched on 600 years. 4 metres below the Market’s bricked surfece you will get to touch the history (literally – on the touchscreens), admire the interactive holograms or use the different multimedia games to get closer to the Cracovian’s past life. What else? Well, you will have the most unique opportunity to visit vampire cementery! As there only 300 people allowed to visit the museum at one time it is highly recommended to book your tickets online.
Rynek Underground Museum Video:
When you will decide to come back to the surface you’ll delighted to find another museum – though not deditated to the far bygone past – 19th Century Polish Art Gallery. What’s inside? Many fascinating paintings from one of the hottest era in polish art – historical paintings by genious Matejko, delicate impressionist oil canvas by Jacek Malczewski, dreamy Ayhuayesca/absinthe/mescaline infuenced drawings by Witkacy and of course most sensual polish painting – “Frenzy” by W. Podkowinski.
One of Krakow Wikitravel most recommended sights (yes, we know that today everybody follows Wikitravel…) is famous Eros Bendato (Boned Eros) – a gigantic sculpture of a man’s head with bonded eyes which is located today just a few steps from the Town Tower Hall. This unique Krakow attraction was created by one of most known and controversial Polish artists – Igor Mitoraj. After short presence in another location – just in front of the Galeria Krakowska – Eros was brought to the Main Market Square, where he soon became one of the most recognizable and photographed sights.
What to see in Krakow – Igor Mitoraj Sculpture – The Head
Walking further along the Wisla river you can relax in the Planty Park – one of the nicest and quietest places around the Old Town. 13th century defensive walls and massive fortifications of old Krakow during the Austrian occupation have been almost completely destroyed to the ground level (apart from few exceptions such as Florianska Gate or Barbican – to find out more about them go to our “Krakow Old Town Article”!) and their remnants created an ideal base for broad green lanes of today Planty Park.
What to see in Krakow – Planty Park Krakow
One of the most intriguing places on the list of Krakow attracions is undoubtedly the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art&Technology. It’s worth knowing that this institution founded by Oscar Winner director Andrzej Wajda is something way beyond the traditional museum. Yes, you will find here an amazing collection of Japanese art gathered by ethnographer and traveler Feliks Jasienski. But apart from that there’s performance hall, Japanese cultural centre and great sushi bar. On the same list of less known museums Polish Aviation Museum can be found. Located at one of the oldest military airfields of Europe, it has something interesting to say (and show) everyone. While the old building has some amazing aircrafts and planes, the new one is filled with fun, interactive displays.
Polish Aviation Museum Video:
If you are mysteries hunter, Krakow will enchant you without a doubt – after seeing and climbing the mysterious Krakus Mound and Wanda Mound you’ll never stop thinking who and why built this enormous sized man-made hills. Krakus Mound is the city’s highest point – 16 meters high, 60 wide at the base and 16 wide at the top, it is said to have been raised in order to commemorate prince Krak’s death. Although until today, no signs of royal burial site have been found here by the archeaologists, Cracovians still tend to believe that legendary Krak still hounts the place. As a matter of face, even without legendary layer the mound is quite fascinating as it was confirmed that it used to be a site of pagan rituals. And even if you’re not a history seeker, you’ll enjoy walking up the hill and, after reaching the top, admiring the colorful panorama of Krakow. Wanda’s Mound, which is maybe not as much famous, was named after Krak’s (or Krakus’) daughter. The hill, also man-made, was erected on the other side of Wisla river – almost in the middle of industrial, real-socialist district of Nowa Huta.
What to see in Krakow – Panoramic view from the top of Krakus Mound
…and Nowa Huta is a different pair of shoes! This amazing, living monument of the socialist era in Poland became in recent years one of new Krakow attractions. You may be surprised, that this industrialized disctrict built around the huge steelwork factory, was erected in Krakow, which was always regarded as a city of intellectuals and artists. As a matter of fact, it was communists idea to build the perfect, proletariat city for 100 000 inhabitants next to the degenerated, bohemian old Krakow. Did they succeed? Not really – as in the ’60s their dream city became the cradle of anti-government movements. If you want to see something really special, visit the monumental Steelworks – which was named after W. Lenin and used to employ 40 000 workers. Although the factory is not open for the public, even short look at the buildings makes one feeling really small. Another attraction in Nowa Huta is The Lord’s Ark – the first church built in this socialist “city”. Noah’s arc shaped, the church was built only with people’s hands, against the government.It has some interesting treasures inside – such as tabernacle which has a fragment of rutile brought from the moon by the Apollo 11. Check the Crazy Guides Krakow walking tour in Nowa Huta – you’ll be taken through the communist monumental alleys in a Trabant 601 – the Eastern Block response to Volgswagen’s Beetle. Cool? You bet it is!
Nowa Huta Crazy Guides Video: