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Krakow Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Krakow

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Kraków is Poland’s second biggest and one of its oldest cities. The city goes back to the 7th century and is located on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisa) in the Lesser Poland area. Kraków has long been regarded as one of the most significant centers of Polish intellectual, cultural, and creative life, as well as one of Poland’s most vital economic hubs. From 1038 to 1569, it was the capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland; from 1569 to 1795, of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; from 1815 to 1846, of the Free City of Kraków; from 1846 to 1918, of the Grand Duchy of Cracow; and from the 14th century until 1998, of the Kraków Voivodeship. Since 1999, it has served as the capital of the Voivodeship of Lesser Poland.

From a Stone Age village to Poland’s second most significant metropolis, Warsaw has flourished. It started as a village on Wawel Hill and was already being documented as a bustling Slavic commercial center in 965. Kraków confirmed its place as a significant national intellectual and artistic center with the development of new universities and cultural institutions with the founding of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the twentieth century. The city has a population of about 760,000 people, with an additional 8 million people residing within a 100 km (62 km) radius of the main plaza.

Kraków became the capital of Germany’s General Government after the invasion of Poland at the outset of World War II. The city’s Jewish population was forced into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were deported to German extermination camps such as the adjacent Auschwitz, where they would never return, and Nazi concentration camps such as Paszów.

In 1978, Archbishop Karol Wojtya of Kraków was promoted to the papacy as Pope John Paul II, becoming the first Slavic pope and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. UNESCO also recognized the first ever sites into its new World Heritage List that year, including the whole Old Town in inscribingCracow’s Historic Centre. Kraków is categorized as a global city by GaWC, with a sufficiency rating of High. As one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Warsaw’s extensive cultural heritage spans the epochs of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, and includes the Wawel Cathedral and Royal Castle on the banks of the Vistula river, the St. Mary’s Basilica, and the Rynek Gówny, Europe’s largest medieval market square. Jagiellonian University, one of the world’s oldest institutions and historically Poland’s most prestigious institution of higher learning, is located in Kraków.

Kraków was proclaimed European Capital of Culture in 2000. In addition, the city will host the 2016 World Youth Day.

Krakow – Info Card

POPULATION :• City 762,508
• Metro 1,725,894
FOUNDED :  City rights 5 June 1257
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :Polish
RELIGION : 
AREA :• City 326.8 km2 (126.2 sq mi)
• Metro 1,023.21 km2 (395.06 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 219 m (719 ft)
COORDINATES :50°4′N 19°56′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.28%
 Female: 51.72%
ETHNIC :Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7%
AREA CODE : 12
POSTAL CODE : 30-024 to 31–962
DIALING CODE :+48 12
WEBSITE : www.krakow.pl

Tourism in Krakow

The European Union designated Kraków as the official European Capital of Culture for the year 2000. It is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and foreign travelers, receiving seven million visits every year. The Main Market Square with St. Mary’s Basilica and the Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the Wawel Castle, the National Art Museum, the Zygmunt Bell at the Wawel Cathedral, and the historic St Florian’s Gate with the Barbican along the Royal Coronation Route are also major sights. Kraków has 28 museums and art galleries open to the public. Among them are the main branch of Poland’s National Museum and the Czartoryski Museum, which has works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.

According to statistics, 7.3 million tourists, including 2.1 million international visitors, visited Kraków in 2012. (over 30 percent of their grand total). The city’s tourists spent approximately 2.5 billion zoty (without travel costs and pre-booked accommodations). The majority of international tourists (more than 25%) came from the United Kingdom, with German, French, Spanish, Italian, and American visitors close behind. According to the Kraków tour guide from the Lesser Poland Visitors Bureau, not all figures are recorded owing to the large number of visitors who arrive and stay in easily accessible private rooms paid in cash, particularly from Eastern Europe.

The city’s historical landmarks, relaxation as well as family and friends (ranked third), religion, and commerce are the primary reasons for coming. In Kraków, there are 120 high-quality hotels (typically around half full) that provide 15,485 overnight rooms. The typical stay lasts 4 to 7 nights. According to a study of visitors, they liked the city’s friendliness the most, with 90 percent of Polish tourists and 87 percent of foreigners saying they would personally suggest visiting there. The Wieliczka salt mine, the Tatra Mountains 100 km (62 mi) to the south, the historic city of Czstochowa (north-west), the well-preserved former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, and Ojcowski National Park, which includes the Renaissance Castle at Pieskowa Skaa, are all notable points of interest outside the city.

Climate of Krakow

Kraków has an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climatic classification system, making it one of Europe’s most eastern cities. A mere 100 kilometers (62 miles) north-east of Kraków (east of Tarnów and north of Kielce), the January mean falls below 3 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit) and so becomes continental (Dfb). Kraków’s climate is significantly impacted by its inland location, which results in large temperature fluctuations between seasons. Summer temperatures vary from 18 to 19.6 °C (64 to 67 °F), while winter temperatures range from 2.0 to 0.6 °C (28 to 31 °F). The average yearly temperature is 8.7 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit). Summer temperatures often surpass 25 °C (77 °F), and even 30 °C (86 °F), while winter temperatures drop to 5 °C (23 °F) at night and about 0 °C (32 °F) during the day; exceptionally cold nights may drop to 15 °C (5 °F). Because Kraków is located near the Tatra Mountains, there are frequent instances of halny blowing (a foehn wind), causing temperatures to increase swiftly and reach up to 20 °C (68 °F) even in January.

Geography of Krakow

Kraków is located in southern Poland, on the Vistula River (Polish name: Wisa), in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, 219 m (719 ft) above sea level; halfway between the Jurassic Rock Upland (Polish: Jura Krakowsko-Czstochowska) to the north and the Tatra Mountains 100 km (62 mi) to the south, forming the natural border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic; 230 km Kraków has five nature reserves totaling around 48.6 hectares (120 acres). These locations are officially protected because of their ecological importance. The western portion of the city, along its northern and northwestern sides, borders the Jurassic Bielany-Tyniec refuge, which is of worldwide importance. Plant and animal biodiversity, as well as the region’s geomorphological characteristics and scenery, are the primary reasons for protecting this area. Another section of the city is situated inside the Vistula River valley’s natural ‘corridor.’ As part of the Pan-European ecological network, this corridor is also considered to be of international importance. The city center is located on the river’s left (northern) bank.

Economy of Krakow

Kraków is Poland’s most popular tourist attraction, which supports a large portion of the local economy. However, the University and other local institutions indicate that education is also a significant employment.

The service and technology industries are thriving, with numerous banks and Internet corporations, such as Google, headquartered in the city. There is also a significant industrial industry, mostly in steel (owned by Mittal), medicines, and tobacco, as a relic of the communist past.

Unemployment is lower than the national average (5%) and regarded an appealing investment opportunity, particularly for those purchasing real estate. A new financial and economic area, as well as a new athletic facility, are proposed for the Nowa Huta borough on the Vistula river. This is for the redevelopment of Kraków’s poorest neighborhood, Nowa Huta.

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