Kraków (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkrakuf] ( listen)) also Cracow, or Krakow (English /ˈkrækaʊ/), is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569; the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1596; the Grand Duchy of Kraków from 1846 to 1918; and Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.
The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000 whereas about 8 million people live within a 100 km radius of its main square.
After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, Kraków was turned into the capital of Germany's General Government. The Jewish population of the city was moved into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to extermination camps such as Auschwitzand the concentration camp at Płaszów.
In 1978, Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II – the firstSlavic pope ever, and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Also that year, UNESCO approved the first ever sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Cracow's Historic Centre. Kraków is classified as a global city by GaWC, with the ranking of High sufficiency.
You can reach Cracow by:
Polish currency is zloty (PLN).
1 EUR ~ 4 PLN
Flight to KrakowJohn Paul II International Airport is located about 15 km from Krakow centre. It has direct connections to various cities. For updated information on flights and connections see the website:http://www.krakowairport.pl/en
At the airport you can find: exchange offices, bank branch, ATMs, a restaurant, a cafe, post office, information desk, travel agency, 24-hour first aid, duty-free shop, 24-hour car park and car rentals agency (National, Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz).
From the airport you can reach the city centre by:
- taxi (approximate price 60-90 PLN),
- public bus number: 292, 208 or the night bus 902 (the fare is 4 PLN). Tickets can be purchased in advance at the airport kiosk (second floor). It takes about 40 mins to get to the city centre. The bus stop is located directly at the roundabout, in front of the passenger terminal,
- direct railway line (the fare is: 19 PLN, tickets can be purchased aboard). The Krakow-Balice Station is located 200 m from the passenger terminal. To get there you can take 5 mins walk or a free shuttle bus service from the terminal building. The train departs every 30 minutes and the travel to the Krakow Central Station (Krakow Glowny) takes about 20 minutes. The timetable is available here.
The other option is to fly to Katowice-Pyrzowice airport and take a bus to Krakow. Buses operate regularly, the trip takes about an hour and costs about 50 PLN.
To get more information take a look at: www.katowice-airport.com
International trainKrakow is one of Poland's main railroad junctions. It has direct railway links with Berlin, Budapest, Kiev, Prague, Vienna and Warszawa. Krakow Central Station (Krakow Glowny) is situated most conveniently in the very city centre, close to the Old Town historic district.
The detailed information is available at Railway site.
Flight to Warsaw (Warszawa)For information about the Warsaw international airport see Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport.
To reach Krakow from Warsaw you can:
- take a domestic flight,
- take a direct InterCity or Express train timetable.
By carThe north-south E77 links Krakow with Warsaw and Gdansk in the north and Zakopane and the Slovak border in the south. The east-west E40 arrives from Lviv in Ukraine in the east and then goes west through Wroclaw and Katowice to Dresden in Germany (partly the A4 motorway). To the southwest, the Czech Republic is easily reached via the E75.
NOTE: there are no free parking areas in the city centre