Cracow’s Historic Centre reveals a splendid city. Today it is peaceful and rich, but its historical experiences are of a terrible nature.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
- Country: Poland
- Date of Inscription: 1978
- Category: Cultural site
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 29:
“The historic centre of Cracow, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. The 13th-century merchants’ town has Europe’s largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with their magnificent interiors. Further evidence of the town’s fascinating history is provided by the remnants of the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in the southern part of town, Jagellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried.”
I had a few days in Krakow in 2010. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote about my visit to Cracow’s Historic Centre. (The name spelt with a C is the traditional spelling, whereas the K is more like the Polish and perhaps modernised version.)
Krakow has had its ups and downs over the centuries. World War 2 really put Krakow back on the map, once more. The Jewish community was segregated from the rest of the population. They lived under harsh conditions in a ghetto. There is still a market, a few restaurants and a synagogue or two, but few people of that religion live in the city. I strolled through the old district, entered a synagogue and ventured out behind it and found an old cemetery.