Times of Oman
Nov 25, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 09:11 AM GMT
Cultural Crackers of Krakow
December 25, 2013 | 12:00 AM
A view of Krakow's famour Rynek Glowny square. Photo - Anand Katti

Krakow, the medieval capital of Poland is a beautiful city with many marvellous historic monuments depicting its charming culture. The capital of Malopolska region is rapidly developing into a modern city since its return to democracy. It's a city of kings, popes, poets, Nobel and Oscar award winners. The sights of the lively city can mostly be enjoyed on foot or sometimes using the trams.

Krakow's Old town and Wowel were on the first list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with Wielichka Salt Mine when the prestigious list was launched in 1978.

Rynek Glowny (Market Square) 
Early morning sun rays on the main market building reflect its magnificence amidst the sprawling city centre which is the biggest medieval square in Europe. A street vendor at the corner sold pretzels and bagels from his glass showcase to a few early risers walking to their work. 

The prominent building situated by the market's northwest corner is the soaring Gothic St. Mary's Basilica with two uneven tall towers. Climbing the tallest tower offers the bird's eye-view of Krakow. The guard up there plays the Cracovian hymn 'heynal' every hour. The Church's ceiling is lined up with a mural of dark blue stars. 

Sukiennice cloth hall is the medieval market now brimming with souvenir shops. A new underground museum depicts the story of the ancient square using modern technology. Ironically, the square was named Adolf Hitler Platz in September 1940 to celebrate the first anniversary of Nazi occupation of Poland and was changed back after the war ended.

The elegant Gothic Town Hall Tower emerged from behind Sukiennice and florists bustled about the market square surrounded by magnificent tenement buildings and mansions with numerous cafes and restaurants. Young and old people stroll the main market square. 

Collegium Maius
A small stroll away is the historic structure of Jagiellonian University called the Collegium Maius. The old University since 14th century has produced many great scholars including Nicholaus Copernicus and Pope John Paul II. 

On the other side of the market square are the relics of old fortified city walls with the Barbican and St. Florian's Gate. Juliusz Slowacki Theatre is an impressive modern building with beautifully manicured gardens.

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