We had our breakfast at the hotel at 7:30 again, and headed to the famous polish city Krakow. It was about 1.5 hour drive into Poland.
We did get our polish stamp in our passports twice.
“In its long history Krakow underwent many ups and downs. The proud capital city of a mighty kingdom for centuries, it was turned into a sleepy borderland town of the Austrian empire in the 19th century. Then it became a vital center of Polish national awakening at the turn of the 20th century and the cradle of Poland’s rebirth, only to be reduced to backwater under communism. Now Krakow is nearly a million city ripe for restoration to European status. And the beautiful Old Town area remains its vibrant hub with numerous landmarks, museums, art galleries, music venues, theaters, university colleges, etc. on top of myriad boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.” (http://www.krakow-info.com/1oldtown.htm)
First we visited the very famous Wawel hill the “hill of fame”. We hired a tour guide who really truly loved his town. We could tell that the Polish people feel great friendship toward Hungarians. They had intertwined history.
“Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history and culture. From the 11th century on Poland's monarchs took up their residence here in the Royal Castle. And they were both crowned and buried here, in the Wawel Cathedral where later on Polish national heroes have also been laid to rest since the 19th century. The place not only overflows with priceless art treasures, architectural beauties, relics of the past and curiosities. It is also full of glory, magic, history and fable.” (http://www.krakow-info.com/smocza.htm).
After looking around on the Wawel hill Our tour guide took us through the Wawel cathedral
“The Wawel Cathedral, Poland's national sanctuary with 1000-year-old history, was the coronation site of Polish monarchs. It is arguably the most interesting place in the whole country, with the adjacent Wawel Royal Castle being the close second. Its present 14th-century walls shelter a great variety of top-class objects of art, from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque to Classicist to Modern. It is also the burial ground of most Polish royalty as well as the greatest national heroes, two poets, four saints and countless Krakow bishops. Near the entrance, on the right side of the nave between pillars, there is an excellent 15th-century late-Gothic sarcophagus of King Vladislav II Jagiello (1386–1434) of red Hungarian marble. And on the left side it is mirrored by the 1906 good imitation of a Gothic sarcophagus by way of a symbolic tomb of King Vladislav III Warnenczyk (1434–1444) whose body wasn't found on the battlefield at Varna. The late-l4th-century red marble sarcophagus ranks among Europe's best sculptures of the period. In the middle of the south aisle one finds the 1902 sarcophagus of Queen-Saint Jadwiga (1384–1399) carved in white Carrara marble with her grave insignia, wooden scepter and orb, displayed near by. Eighteen chapels full of art treasures surround the cathedral. Magnificent white “pearl of the Renaissance" vis-a-vis the tomb of Queen Jadwiga, the Sigismund Chapel, couples the exquisite Baroque of the black marble Vasa Chapel. The Chapel of the Holy Cross (first to the right on entrance) seems most interesting owing to its 1470 Russian murals and the splendid 1492 marble sarcophagus of King Casimir IV Jagiello (1447–1492) by Veit Stoss. The chapel also boasts two outstanding late-Gothic triptychs by 15th-century Krakow painters, the imposing 1789 late-Baroque tomb of Bishop Soltyk, and fine stained-glass widows of the turn of the 20th century.” (http://www.krakow-info.com/smocza.htm).
Our pictures of the cathedral.
After the wawel Hill we have walked around in twon, had lunch and a little bit of shopping.
Krakow as we saw it
The Main squere
The house in which the last Pope resided while in Krakow.
At a fountain
We had an appointment at wieliczka the famous salt mine at 5 p.m., so we had to live Krakow at 3 to get there.
“The Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in southern Poland near the city of Krakow, has been working since the late 13th century. The mine consists of over 200 km of underground passages, connecting more than 2000 excavation chambers on 9 underground levels extending down to 327m below the surface Over the centuries, miners have established a tradition of carving sculptures out of the native rock salt. As a result, the mine contains entire underground churches, altars, bas-reliefs, and dozens of life-size or larger statues. The largest of the chapels, which is named after Kinga, the Hungarian queen is located 101 meters below the surface, it is over 50 meters long, 15 meters wide, 12 meters high. As a testament to its historical and artistic importance, the mine has been placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List of sites designated as having ``outstanding universal value to mankind.''
It is a Tertiary (Miocene) layered salt deposit which was deformed by the overthrusting Carpathian Flysch nappes.” (http://www.e-sga.org/news10/art10.html).