Many nicknames have been given to the city of Cracow: the "Slavic Rome", the "Florence of the North", the "little Vienna", the "little Paris", the "Polish Athens", and even the "Polish Jerusalem" ... All these comparisons are very flattering, and not all that inaccurate. The Cracovians, who want their city to be cosmopolitan and like to consider themselves citizens of the world, will tell you there is no second place on the planet like Cracow, with its unique genius loci, ambience and soul. Cracow is the most famous and arguably the most beautiful city in Poland. It is among those rare cities of Europe where the mediaeval town is still the vital centre of the modern metropolis. Cracow´s business, social and cultural lives are still centred in and around the rynek - the largest mediaeval market square in Europe.
As they say in Poland: "Cracow wasn´t built in a day". Century after century was "deposited" upon it. A walk along the streets of Cracow is a journey in time and through ages - you see a city made up of many layers: Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist, Modernist ... Rich in treasures of art and architecture, happily preserved to this day, the city containsan impressive 6,000 historic buildings and monuments, and over 2.3 million works of art! In 1978, Cracow´s Old Town was placed on UNESCO´s World Cultural Heritage list.
It was from here that the Jagiellonians - one of the greatest dynasties in Europe, were reigning the country. Also, one of the first universities in Europe, the Cracow Academy - later renamed the Jagiellonian University - was established here. Famous graduates of this Alma Mater that shaped the fate of the world were Nicolas Copernicus, who 'stopped the sun and moved the earth', and Pope John Paul II, to name just two of them. Some visitors are seeking inspiration here while others are coming for a rest. When you look around, you will soon understand why Cracow is attracting with its magic.
Cracow has always been a meeting place of many cultures. Throughout the ages, people of many different nationalities and religions have enriched the spirit and subtance of the city, and have left their mark in Cracow´s stones, its libraries, and even its menus... Cracow is not just an European city, but a world city, where Spanish flamenco, Japanese kabuki theatre and Russian Orthodox choirs get an equally enthusiastic reception.