Friday, June 20, 2008

Krakow, Poland (June 9-11, 2008)

Krakow was the royal capital of Poland until 1596, and the city's many well-preserved medieval buildings and squares bespeak its former glory.

The Wawel Castle and Cathedral were originally constructed in the Roman-Gothic style during the 11th century; they were later reconstructed in the Renaissance style by various kings during the 16th century. The castle complex sits on a hill beside the Vistula River, overlooking the Old Town.

With the colorful Old Town, historic Kazimierz (Jewish quarter) and Wawel Castle all in easy walking distance, Krakow is a wonderful place to explore on foot. Krakow is also home to Poland's oldest university, and the bustle of students lends the beautiful city a young and lively vibe.
The view of Wawel Castle and Cathedral from the tower of the St. Mary's Church in the main square of Krakow's Old Town
Inside the Wawel Castle complex
A view of the castle and cathedral from an Old Town street
The Vistula River at dusk
A schoolgirl peruses the many stuffed dragons for sale outside of Wawel Castle. Legend has it that a dragon once lived beneath the castle and was finally defeated by a shepherd boy who won the hand of the king's daughter as his prize.
An old man sells pretzels in the streets below the castle

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