Kraków- the heart of Poland!

St. Mary's Basilica, Kraków

Discover Kraków!

St. Mary's Basilica, Kraków

Kraków is a magic city. It is the former capital city and the heart of Poland, which exceeds all Polish cities in many ways. Famous for its ambience, monuments, specific climate and open-minded people, Kraków is a very hospitable place with many faces: legendary, green and picturesque, industrial, Jewish. The second city in Poland visited by the foreigners is easily accessible by car, train, bus, and airplane. The most popular quartier is still the Jewish Kazimierz, but the Old Podgórze has recently reached a huge popularity too. Apart from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK) which has been opened lately, you can enjoy visiting the RynekUnderground, opened in September 2010 under the Main Market Square, aiming at introducing the spectators to the atmosphere of the medieval city.

Having more time, you can explore the interesting places around Kraków such as the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec,  the Wieliczka Salt Mine or theOjców National Park. Only 100 km from Kraków, there is a beautiful mountain range – Tatra Mountains where you may enjoy climbing or trekking or just visiting Zakopane -the town at the foot of the Tatra Mountains called the winter capital city of Poland.

tatras mountains

Bridges and Kraków Mounds

Kraków is situated by the Vistula River, which divides city into parts and connects it with several beautiful bridges. The legendary founder of the city was Prince Krak, the vanquisher of the Wawel Dragon. The remnants of the oldest history of the city have been preserved in two mounds from the 7th century called the Wanda and Krak mounds.

Visiting the second one is especially interesting during St. John’s Eve, the 24th of June, when the celebrations take place and traditional folk rituals are presented. People sing songs and also sit around bonfires. The young women wear crowns from wild flowers, which are later thrown into the river whilst men jump over the fire.

However, still the most famous mound is the Kosciuszko Mound, risen by Cracovians in commemoration of the Polish national leader Tadeusz Kosciuszko, completed in 1823. The serpentine path leads to the top where we can admire a panoramic view of the city. The last is Piłsudski Mound also known as Independence or Freedom Mound, the newest and the largestof Krakow’s four mounds.

the Main Market Square, Kraków

The Royal city for architecture lovers

The most spectacular and unique buildings can be found on Royal Route which is a former route of royal ceremonial processions. It begins from St. Florian’s Church, past the Barbican, through Florianska Street to the Main Market Square, later through Grodzka and Kanonicza Street to the Royal Castle on Wawel Hill.This route is very overcrowded, although, it cannot be missed as the most precious churches and tenement houses of the city are located along it.

What is worth to see…It’s hard to stay objective, living in this city, when every brick has its own history. But being in Kraków you must definitely visit the Main Market Square, which is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. Among many interesting buildings, the most beautiful are: the Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the Town Hall Tower and St. Mary’s Basilica. The Rynek has always been the city’s assembly point for the public celebrations, parades, protests and it remains so till now.

St. Mary's Basilica

 Sukiennice Cloth Hall is a Gothic-Renaissance building decorated with a mascaron attic. Today it is a souvenir shopping arcade, with 19th century Polish art on the first floor and medieval stories in the basement.

The center of the Old town is encircled by the plane trees, green and full of life „lungs of the city”, it is a 3 kilometers long public park filled with trees, flowers and monuments. Undoubtedly, it is a very popular place for the street musicians.

This is not the right time for explaining details about all monuments worth seeing. This tends to be just an encouragement to visit, for example, St. Mary’s Basilica altars, carved in limewood, which are one of the largest in Europe or to hear one of the most characteristic and amazing melody related to this church and Krakow in general – a bugle call (polish „hejnal”) that sounds every hour from the tower of the Basilica. It is the sound of Polish history.The Polish oldest university, established in 1364, the Jagiellonian University with enormous Gothic Collegium Maius building was a study place for many eminent people. It’s possible to see a place where Nicolaus Copernicus conducted his experiments.

Florianska street, Kraków

Wawel Castle and Cathedral

One of the Krakow most fabulous streets is Kanonicza, which leads to Wawel Hill (228 m). Wawel Castle houses many precious examples of Polish architecture and culture. The Royal Castle is famous for its Renaissance galleries and Flanders tapestries. Also, very interesting collections of weapons, tents and rugs are placed on Wawel. The hill is also known as a place where the kings of Poland were crowned and buried along with the national heroes and artists.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK)

 The Museum of Contemporary Art (just next to the Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory) has been active since February 2010. It presents latest international art (two last decades in the context of avant-garde) as well as conceptual art. It’s also an educational place, which clarifies the ethical value of creating art and highlights its relation with reality. It is located in postindustrial district of the city -Podgórze, what allows get to know different face of Krakow.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK)1

 Jewish Kazimierz – City in the city

 Kazimierz, founded in 1335, is a half Jewish and a half Christian district. In the past it was a separate city situated beyond the Vistula. It is here where the most beautiful Christian churches of Corpus Christi Church are adjacent to the synagogues, e.g. Old Synagogue (the oldest in Poland) or Remuh. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular districts of Krakow, with many picturesque cafes and restaurants like Stajnia, famous for a Steven Spielberg movie “Schindler’s List”. It’s well known also because of The Festival of Jewish Culture which takes place every year in July and it involves numerous concerts, workshops and exhibitions. The final concert is at Szeroka Street, the most famous and the most typical for Kazimierz. It’s worth to go the Jewish Heritage Route to visit also cemeteries and museums. The spiritual center of Krakow subculture is Plac Nowy, something completely different from the Old Town.

Jewish Kazimierz

PRL breeze

Nowa Huta is the industrial district of Krakow, established around the Tadeusz Sendzimir metallurgical conglomerate and best known for its architecture of socialist realism (buildings at the Aleja Roz). This suburb is the antithesis of everything Krakow is and the example of the socialist realism in the world.

The construction of Nowa Huta was funded by Soviet Union. It was built as a proletarian opponent to intellectual, fairytale Krakow. The utopian dream about an ideal land was never realized, however it still remains a completely different reality.

Among the many eminent people connected to Krakow are: Pope John Paul II, Nobel Prize poets Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska; founder of the avant-garde theatre Cricot-2, Tadeusz Kantor; playwright Stanislaw Mrozek; legend of fantasy Stanislaw Lem; and Stanislaw Wyspianski – painter, poet, playwright and designer.In Krakow you can take part in numerous events, visit one of several museums or rest in one of many cafes. What would you like to choose?

the Planty, Kraków

Around 12 km from Krakow (the best way to visit it through the beautiful bicycle path) is located Tyniec, a historic village famous for its Benedictine abbey. It lies on the right bank of the Vistula river among limestone Jurassic hills. The village was a royal property and was destroyed several times during different invasions. Nine centuries ago Benedictines arrived at this place and built a monastery – abbacy, which emerges from the trees and reflects in the river. They have stayed till today. It’s good to know that you may spend a day in the monastery and rest, pray or meditate.

article and pictures – Magdalena Bułat

 

Freemasonry. Pro publico bono.

Free Masonry. Pro publico bono 7

A new exhibition at Warsaw’s National Museum is hoping to dispel myths about an ancient  secret society. Throughout the centuries the Freemasons have been accused of everything from fermenting revolution to giving fellow members unfair advantages in business deals.  Now the National Museum is doing its best to draw back the veil and show the true face of the Masons with a lavish exhibition devoted to this all-male group of brothers who prefer to be known for their charity work.

Free Masonry. Pro publico bono 1Freemasonry began in the Fourteenth century as a travelling union organisation for masons and other builders. These skilled workers formed themselves into lodges at building sites and evolved a complex series of signals, including code words and secret handshakes, to identify fellow Freemasons. From these humble origins the Masons evolved into a social organisation, attracting the rich and aristocratic.

Free Masonry. Pro publico bono 3One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the society’s emphasis on secrecy. It’s refusal to divulge membership lists or talk about its rituals has given it a mysterious reputation in some quarters. Freemasons even feature as a sinister cabal in Dan Brown’s bestselling novel ‘The Lost Symbol’.

Free Masonry. Pro publico bono 11It’s images such as Brown’s that the National Gallery is hoping to put to flight with the ‘Pro Publico Bono’ exhibit. Visitors will find plenty of projections, sound installations and real Masonic regalia in an exhibition that treads a nicely symbolic path through the group’s history, both across the world and specifically in Poland.

Rooms are dedicated to the society’s initiation ceremonies, its social gatherings, and the role played by Polish Freemasons in nineteenth century nationalist rebellions.

Free Masonry. Pro publico bono 8The exhibitions is atmopherically designed and thoughtfully put together. All visitors will enjoy this elegant introduction to one of the world’s oldest fraternal organisations.

And perhaps Dan Brown fans will discover the Masons are more than a pantomime secret society manipulating history from behind the scenes.

Recommended.

Ch. Othen

11 September 2014 – 11 January 2015

The National Museum in Warsaw

http://www.mnw.art.pl/en/temporary-exhibitions/freemasonry-ipro-publico-bonoi,5.html

 

 

Modern Warsaw

Varsovie Moderne

I didn’t know that the modern part of Warsaw could be so beautifull…

Warsaw Zoo

donkeys, warsaw zoo

Prasowy – the milk bar after lifting

Warsaw, Marszalkowska street ,Prasowy

Polish milk bars were well known and popular in the period of communism.

Many people came to tasting the popular meals, very often composed of milk products and seasonal products.Naleśniki,  pierogi  and  others traditional meals were available for all in the raison of the low prices (bars were / are funded with the public budget).There is today in capitalist Poland still a place for this type of “restaurant”?

Continue reading…

« Warsaw. Generic city » – Interview with English writer Christopher Othen.

Christopher Othen. Interview.

The author of the book “Franco’s International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War” (Hurst, 2013) has lived in Warsaw since October 2010.

A writer, journalist and teacher, he is currently working on his second book, this time about the Katanga secession in 1960s Africa. He agreed to discuss his experience of living in WARSAW with us. Continue reading…

Old Town – a magical atmosphere!

Old Town Market Square, Warsaw

Old Town Market Square, Warsaw

Old Town Market Square, Warsaw

Old Town Market Square, Warsaw

We propose the following path:

  • Cathedral Basilica of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist,
  • Old Town Market Square,
  • Barbican and defensive walls,
  • Street Freta,
  • Krasiński Square and Długa Street.

 

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Royal Route – a historical walk!

Royal Castle Square, Warsaw

Royal Castle Square, Warsaw

Royal Castle Square, Warsaw

Royal Castle Square, Warsaw

We propose the following path:

  • Royal Castle,
  • Church of Santa Ana,Krakowskie Przedmieście Street,
  • Nowy Świat Street,
  • Trzech Krzyży Square,
  • Park and Castle Ujazdowski,
  • Avenue Ujazdowskie,
  • Palace Belwederski.

 

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TOP Warsaw – one day in Warsaw!

Plater Street, Warsaw

Plater Street, Warsaw

Plater Street, Warsaw

Plater Street, Warsaw

We propose the following path:

  • Old Town,
  • Royal Route,
  • Park Saski and Place Piłsudski,
  • Palace of Culture and Science,
  • Park Royal Łazienki Królewskie,
  • Cemetery Powązki.

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District Praga – artistic and cultural space!

Mary Madeleine’s Orthodox Church, Warsaw

Mary Madeleine’s Orthodox Church, Warsaw

Mary Madeleine’s Orthodox Church, Warsaw

Mary Madeleine’s Orthodox Church, Warsaw

We propose the following path:

  • Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
  • Kawęczyńska Street,
  • Ząbkowska Street with « Koneser »,
  • Metropolitan Orthodox St. Mary Magdalene,
  • Władysław IV Lyceum,
  • Monument of Praga’s Backyard Orchestra,
  • Floriańska Street,
  • Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel and Florian the Martyr.

 

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Architecture of the communist period – a trip to the past!

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

The itinerary includes:

  • The Banking and Financing Center ‘Nowy Świat’ (the former seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party),
  • Palace of Culture and Science,
  • Marszałkowska Housing District (MDM) (Marszałkowska Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa),
  • Konstytucji Square,
  • District Mariensztat.


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Traces of the Warsaw Ghetto

Nożyk Synagogue

Nożyk Synagogue

Nożyk Synagogue, Warsaw

Nożyk Synagogue, Warsaw

The itinerary includes:

  • Nożyk Synagogue,
  • Ghetto Heroes Street – the former Nalewki Street,
  • « Błękitny Wieżowiec » (place where was the Great Synagogue),
  • Memorial Route of the Martyrdom and Struggle of the Jews 1940-1943,
  • Monument to the Ghetto Heroes,
  • Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

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Traces of Frederic Chopin

Fryderyk Chopin Museum, Warsaw

Fryderyk Chopin Museum, Warsaw

Fryderyk Chopin Museum, Warsaw

Fryderyk Chopin Museum, Warsaw

The itinerary includes:

  • Saski Palace,
  • Kazimierzowski Palace,
  • Chopin Family Drawing-Room,
  • Radziwiłł Palace,
  • Church of the Visitation,
  • Church of the Holy Cross,
  • Fryderyk Chopin Museum.

 

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Traces of Maria Skłodowska – Curie

Portrait of Marie Skłodowska in the house of his birth

Portrait of Marie Skłodowska in the house of his birth

Portrait of Marie Skłodowska in the house of his birth, Freta street, Warsaw

Portrait of Marie Skłodowska in the house of his birth, Freta street, Warsaw

The itinerary includes:

  • Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum – the birth place of the scientist,
  • Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary,
  • Church of St. Jack,
  • Bristol Hotel,
  • Staszic Palace,
  • Warsaw University of Technology,
  • Radium Institute.

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Cooking Polish dishes

żurek - Polish cuisine

 

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Roof Garden at the University of Warsaw Library

Roof Garden at the University of Warsaw Library

Artistic and Cultural Space – Soho Factory

Soho Factory, Minska street

List of museums

list of museums

Royal CastelRoyal Castel (Zamek Królewski)
pl. Zamkowy 4
www.zamek-krolewski.com.pl

Historical Museum of WarsawHistorical Museum of Warsaw (Muzeum Historyczne m.st. Warszawy)
Rynek Starego Miasta 28/42
www.mhw.pl

Maria Skłodowska-Curie MuseumMaria Skłodowska-Curie Museum (Muzeum Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie)
ul. Freta 16
muzeum-msc.pl

National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe)
Al. Jerozolimskie 3
www.mnw.art.pl
Tuesday – Free entry to permanents exhibitions

Łazienki Royal MuseumŁazienki Royal Museum (Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie)
ul. Agrykoli 1
www.lazienki-krolewskie.pl

Museum Palace Wilanów (Muzeum Pałac w Wilanowie)
ul. St. Kostki Potockiego 10/16
www.wilanow-palac.art.pl
Sunday – Free entry

Palace of Culture and Science Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki)
Plac Defilad 1
www.pkin.pl

Fryderyk Chopin MuseumFryderyk Chopin Museum (Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina)
ul. Okólnik 1
chopin.museum/pl
Tuesday – free entry (after reservation)

Warsaw Rising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego)
ul. Grzybowska 79
www.1944.pl
Monday – free entry

Jewish MuseumJewish Museum (Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich)
ul. Anielewicza 6
www.jewishmuseum.org.pl

Poster Museum (Muzeum Plakatu)
ul. St. Kostki Potockiego 10/16
www.postermuseum.pl
Monday – free entry

Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski)
ul. Jazdów 2
www.csw.art.pl
Thursday – free entry

Zachęta National Gallery of Art Zachęta National Gallery of Art (Narodowa Galeria Sztuki Zachęta)
pl. Małachowskiego 3
www.zacheta.art.pl
Thursday – Free entry

Copernicus Science Centre (Centrum Nauki Kopernik)
ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 20
www.kopernik.org.pl

Museum of the Polish Army (Muzeum Wojska Polskiego)
Al. Jerozolimskie 3
www.muzeumwp.pl
Sunday – free entry

Museum of Technology (Muzeum Techniki)
Pl. Defilad 1
www.muzeumtechniki.warszawa.pl

State Archaeological Museum (Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne)
ul. Długa 52
www.pma.pl

State Ethnographic MuseumState Ethnographic Museum (Państwowe Muzeum Etnograficzne)
ul. Kredytowa 1
www.ethnomuseum.pl
samedi – free entry

Neon Museum Neon Museum (Muzeum Neonu)
ul. Mińska 25, Soho Factory, budynek 55
www.neonmuzeum.org

FotoplastkonFotoplastkon
Al. Jerozolimskie 51
fotoplastikonwarszawski.pl
Sunday – free entry

Museum of Modern ArtMuseum of Modern Art (Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej)
ul. Pańska 3
www.artmuseum.pl
free entry every day except monday

Museum of Caricature and Cartoon Art (Muzeum Karykatury)
ul. Kozia 11
www.muzeumkarykatury.pl
Tuesday – free entry

Cultural agenda

Cultural agenda

Cultural agenda

Cultural Agenda 2013

March
Festival Pascal Ludwig Van Beethoven, www.beethoven.org.pl
Francophonic Festival, www.fpf.com.pl
Week of Spanish Cinema, www.manana.pl/hiszpanie

April
Meeting of Nationals Theaters, www.stn2011.pl

May
Night of Museum, www.noc-muzeow.pl
Free Form Festival, www.freeformfestival.pl
Planete Doc Film Festival, www.planetedocff.pl
Multimedial Parc of Fountains, www.estrada.com.pl
Orange Warsaw Festival, www.orangewarsawfestival.pl

June
Jazz in Old Town, www.jazznastarowce.pl
Chopin Concerts in Łazienki Royal Parc, www.estrada.com.pl
Summer Concerts at Grochowska Street, www.simfoniavarsovia.org
Festival Mozart, www.operakameralna.pl
Festival of Danse Theaters « Zawirowania », www.zawirowania.pl

July
Festival « Musical Gardens », www.ogrodymuzyczne.pl
Summer Musical Evenings, www.chopin.edu.pl
Festiwal of the Street Art, www.szukaulicy.pl

August
International Festival of the Mime Art, www.mime.pl
Festival of the Jewish Culture » Festival of Singer », www.festiwalsingera.pl

September

International Festival of Contemporary Music « Warsaw Autumn », www.warszawska-jesien.art.pl
Warsaw Film Festival, www.wff.pl
Warsaw Marathon, www.maratonwarszawski.pl
International Festival „Wratislavia Cantans”, www.wratislavia.art.pl

October
Warsaw Music Week, www.warsawmusicweek.pl
Festival of Danse Improvisation, www.sic.waw.pl
Run « Biegnij warszawo », www.biegnijwarszawo.pl

November
Russian Film Festival „Sputnik nad Warszawą”, www.sputniknadwarszawa.pl
Run « Bieg Nipodległosci », www.wosir.waw.pl

December
« Re Wizje” Art, www.rewizjewarszawa.pl
International Film Festival Watch Docs. www.watchdocs.pl

Recommendations – events in Poland :

Festival « Plus Camerimage »
Bydgoszcz, 16.11 – 23.11.2013
www.pluscamerimage.pl

International Festival „Era Nowe Horzyzonty »
Wrocław, 18.07 – 4.08.2013
www.enh.pl

Polish Film Festival Festival in Gdynia
Gdynia, 09.09.2013 – 14.09.2013
www.fpff.pl

Festival of Music « Open’er »
Gdynia, 3-6.07.2013
www.opener.pl

International Festival of Theater « Dialog-Wrocław »
Wrocław, 11-18.10.2013
www.dialogfestival.pl

Tourist information

tourist information

Tourist information

There are three points of the Toursist Information in Warsaw
www.warsawtour.pl (fr en es)

1. Airport Chopin
Arrival Hall, Terminal A, Exit 2
Open: 8-20h

2. Palace of Culture and Science
pl. Defilad 1
Open: 8-20h

3. Old Town Market Square 19/21/21a
Old Town
Open: 8-20h

Viewpoints

viewpoints

Viewpoints

Palace of Culture and Science1. Palace of Culture and Science – Panoramic View of Warsaw from XXX floor
www.pkin.pl
Open:
Every day 9-18 – ticket 18 pln
friday, saturday till 23h – ticket 20 pln

Tower at St Anna’s Church2. Tower at St Anna’s Church
www.taraswidokowy.pl
Open :
mon – frid 10-21
sat – sam – 11-22
ticket 5 pln

Roof Garden at the University of Warsaw Library3. Roof Garden at the University of Warsaw Library
www.buw.uw.edu.pl
Open:
every day 9-20
free entry

Warsaw Uprising Mound4. Warsaw Uprising Mound (120m)
ul. Bartycka
free entry

Orange Balloon Station5. Orange Balloon Station
www.stacjabalon.pl
Open:
every day 10-20
ticket 40 pln

Gnojna Góra (Old Town)6. Gnojna Góra (Old Town)
ul. Brzozowa