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Dzień dobry, Kraków!

One More Chance

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By train to Katowice on the way to Kracow

By train to Katowice on the way to Kracow

In September, after my friend Ernest had returned from his trip to Ukraine, I had a chance to continue exploring the city’s atmosphere and magic. Ernest invited me for a farewell dinner, and I came there, stayed overnight and saw him off to the airport.

St.Florian's Church (middle) and St.Florian's Gate, Krakow

St.Florian's Church (middle) and St.Florian's Gate, Krakow

Since the weather was rainy, we decided to see the city from a tram, and spent some time taking trams to different spots of the city. It was a great experience to get on the tram and to use the ticket machine. We also spoke with young fellow passengers, who were both locals and foreigners, who gladly helped us answering many questions. We rode different tram routes: 1, 2, 4, 6, 20, 22 and 74. I think there are maybe a dozen of different kinds of tram, both old and extra modern, operating all over the city. The map of tram lines looks like that of the Ukrainian subway in Kyiv.

By trams around Krakow

By trams around Krakow

At the end stop of Tram - Salvator Ring - we discovered an interesting building that turned out to be the Convent of the Norbertine Sisters. The church door was closed, but we could take a couple of pictures of the impressive interior through the grates.

Convent of the Norbertine Sisters in Krakow

Convent of the Norbertine Sisters in Krakow


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Kraków became an industrial center after the World War II. We had seen numerous smokestacks on the city outskirts, when we visited Krakus Mound. This time we decided to reach the industrial area, without entering the factory, of course. On the way to Wanda Mound, we saw the square and the factory sign of Sendzimir steelworks (former Lenin Steelworks) located in the easternmost district of Kraków called Nowa Huta.
In 1950, “the first socialist city of Nowa Huta” was built on the outskirts of Krakow and was included into the city transport network. The impressive construction of new communication lines, water supply and sewage networks of Lenin Factory was not only the largest investment in Kraków, but also in the entire country. The residential district of Nowa Huta had over 100,000 inhabitants, and Lenin Steelworks produced millions of tons of steel, coke, steel sheets, and steel pipes.

At Sandzimir Steelworks, Krakow

At Sandzimir Steelworks, Krakow

The palace-like monster buildings flanking the main entrance gate attracted our attention. As we found out later, these twin architectural monuments were built in 1952-55. They are crowned with a Renaissance comb attic and are considered the most exquisite example of socialist realism in Kraków. Therefore, on the way back we got off the tram to walk in the square and to take pictures of the Stalin era factory administration buildings and the factory sign. We were told that in Communist times, the plant was called Vladimir Lenin Steelworks. The name was changed in 1990 after the collapse of communism. The factory was named after an outstanding scientist and engineer Tadeusz Sendzimir. Fifty years ago, when the factory flourished, it employed around 40,000 workers and produced almost seven million tons of steel every year.

At Sendzimir Steelworks, Kraków

At Sendzimir Steelworks, Kraków

The Administrative Centre of the Steelworks is open for the public now. The visitors can see the main lobby of one building, walk through offices and massive conference rooms, admire the magnificent marble staircases, enormous chandeliers, exquisite ceilings and the Empire style décor dating back to the fifties, head underground into labyrinthine passageways that connect these two administration buildings, take a look at the secret command post and emergency communication.

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Wanda Mound, Krakow

Wanda Mound, Krakow

Wanda Mound (“Kopiec Wandy” in Polish) is located in Mogiła, the area called Nowa Huta District since 1949. Unlike the other mounds in Kraków, this one is not located on a natural hill. The mound is believed to be the resting place of the legendary princess Wanda, the daughter of Krakus, the legendary founder of Kraków. There are different legends about Princess/Queen Wanda. According to one legend, Queen Wanda committed suicide by drowning in the Vistula River to avoid a marriage with a German leader.
The 14-meter high mound is located close to the spot on the river bank where her body was allegedly found. There is a narrow path leading you to the top of the mound, where you can see a monument with a figure of a crowned Polish eagle, a symbol of courage and strength of the nation. The mound was first mentioned in the chronicles dating back to the 13th century. Archaeologists did not find any evidence of the mound's age or purpose.

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During an evening walk in Krakow

During an evening walk in Krakow


Night views of Market Square,Krakow

Night views of Market Square,Krakow

You can’t help admiring the architectural value of the Old Town planned in medieval times.

Holy Spirit Square, Krakow

Holy Spirit Square, Krakow

Holy Spirit Square has an interesting element: the free-standing clocks that remind us of the bus terminal that stood here 1929-1952.
We saw Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, a 19th-century opera house. Completed in 1893, it was modeled after some of the best European Baroque and Eclectic. The theater was named after Polish poet Juliusz Słowacki in 1909. Slovacki Theater impressed us with its fabulous architecture and forms, even though the front façade is being renovated now. The theater building looks different and exotic against the background of the low-rise houses that used to belong to rich merchants. The famous Ukrainian singer Solomia Krushelnytska, a favorite of music lovers, whose museum we had visited in Kyiv and whose grave we had visited at Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv, started her career here.

Aleksander Fredro Monument in front of  Juliusz Słowacki Theater, Holy Spirit Square, Kraków

Aleksander Fredro Monument in front of Juliusz Słowacki Theater, Holy Spirit Square, Kraków

There is a monument to Aleksander Fredro, Count of Bończa (1793-1876) in front of the theater. He was the greatest Polish comedy writer , a poet of the Romantic era. He wrote short stories, poems, fairy tales, diaries, and created. a collection of parables, maxims and proverbs.

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At Jagiellonian University in Krakow

At Jagiellonian University in Krakow

We admired the central building of the Jagiellonian University and decided to open the door and to take a look inside. The Jagiellonian University belongs to Europe’s oldest and most famous universities. Its 650th jubilee was celebrated in 2014. The University has been guided by the principle “Plus ratio quam vis.” (“More reason than force”). Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), the man who stopped the Sun and moved the Earth, studied liberal arts at this university in 1491-1495. The lectures on Copernicus’ heliocentric theory began in 1578. They say the Cracovian School of Astronomy influenced not only the shape of astronomy, but also the worldview of the entire Europe.

Nicolaus Copernicus monument, Krakow

Nicolaus Copernicus monument, Krakow

The monument to Copernicus stands to the left of the entrance to the university. We looked at the inscriptions on its pedestal. The inscriptions are all in Latin.

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  • Natus Thoruniae A.D.1473 obiit Frauenburgi A.D.1543.- Born in Toruń in 1473, died in Frauenburg in 1543.
  • Memoriae Nicolai Copernici de Thorunia qui A.D.1491 in studio Cracou: intitulatus Celeberrimus huius scholae exstitit alumnus.Memory of Nicolaus Copernicus from Toruń, who came to study in Krakow in 1491: labeled as the most famous student of this school who ever existed.
  • De revolutionibus orbium coelestium A.D.1543. “On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres”, 1543
  • …Extra processit longe flammantia moenia mundi atque omne immensum peragravit mente animoque. - ... He went forth far beyond the flaming walls of the world and traversed all the immensity in mind and spirit.

divider_38.JPGdivider_38.JPGdivider_38.JPGApproaching Grunwald monument, Jan Matejko Square, Kraków

Approaching Grunwald monument, Jan Matejko Square, Kraków


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We passed the Grunwald Monument in Matajko Square again. The monument was dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Grunwald fought between Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania against the Teutonic Knights on July 15, 1410. We stopped for a minute admiring the sculptures:

  • an equestrian statue of King of Poland Władysław II Jagiełło (1352–1434);
  • the statue of Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas (on the front side of the monument) at whose feet you can see a figure of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Ulrich von Jungingen, who fell in the battle;
  • a Polish knight and his page collecting the abandoned Teutonic banners (on the eastern side of the monument). The inscription under the statue reads, “Glory to ancestors”;
  • a Lithuanian warrior blowing a horn and leading a captured Teutonic knight (on the western side of the monument). The inscription under the statues reads, “Cheer up, brothers”;
  • a peasant symbolically throwing off the shackles of enslavement (on the northern side of the monument).

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At Grunwald monument, Kraków_the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Ulrich von Jungingen, who fell in the battle


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We saw the places we had seen before and discovered many new amazing places, among them the Temple Synagogue. We saw that renovation was under way, but it was no obstacle for visit. The entrance fee was PLN10, as a donation to the renovation.

Renovation of the Temple Synagogue,  Kraków

Renovation of the Temple Synagogue, Kraków

We read the information board located not far from the altar and found out about the history of this synagogue. According to the information board, temple Synagogue was built in 1860-1862 by the Association Progressive Jews as an Enlightenment Temple. It was reconstructed several times (in 1868, 1893 and 1924), yet the original structure still persists. In the interwar period services used to be held in Polish and in German. During the Nazi occupation period, the building housed a horse stable. When the city was liberated, the Synagogue was returned to its previous religious function and restored. It functions until the prevent day.

Visiting the Temple Synagogue in Krakow

Visiting the Temple Synagogue in Krakow


Inside the Temple Synagogue,  Kraków

Inside the Temple Synagogue, Kraków

The stained glass windows have inscription with the names of the sponsors, who took over the manufacturing expenses for them.

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The Barbican Tower is a great place to return to.

At Barbican Tower in Krakow

At Barbican Tower in Krakow


A view of St.Florian's Gate and the remaining old town fortification wall, Kraków

A view of St.Florian's Gate and the remaining old town fortification wall, Kraków

You can see a bas-relief of St.Florian, the holy martyr, the city's patron saint, on the wall of the gate facing St.Florian’s Street and Virgin Mary’s Church. St.Florian is represented in knightly armor. He is about to kneel and to pray for us.

The coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of Poland is on the top of St.Florian's Gate, Kraków

The coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of Poland is on the top of St.Florian's Gate, Kraków

The coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of Poland is on the top of the gate from the side of the Barbican. The coat-of-arms is a reminder that crowned persons, ambassadors, cardinals and influential guests solemnly entered Krakow through these gates.

At the City Arsenal, Kraków

At the City Arsenal, Kraków

On my way back to the hotel, I was surprised to see that a concert would start inside the church at 8.p.m. I was too tired for that, and was happy just to approach the closed door and to take a couple of pictures of the impressive interior.

St.Peter and St.Paul's Church in Krakow

St.Peter and St.Paul's Church in Krakow

We saw the monument to Mercury, a replica of the famous work of Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844). The original is kept in the collection of the Czartoryski Museum. The monument was dedicated in 2006 in Pijarska Street, on the left side of St.Florian’s Gate, in front of the entrance to the Czartoryski Museum.

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We admired the sculpture of Mercury - the Roman God of trade and commerce. The full name of the sculpture is "Mercury before Argus's Assassination". Bertel Thorvaldsen, the author of the monument, was a very popular Danish sculptor of Icelandic origin, one of the leading representatives of Classicism. He was born in Denmark, but worked mostly in Rome. He had a large clientele all over Europe and, of course, the Polish clientele was especially fond of the artist.
I stayed at the same hotel as during my first visit - Residence Tournet Hotel in Miodowa Steret ("Honey Street").

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Miodowa Street is one of the interesting streets of the Jewish Quarter. Ernst and I had lunch at Homey Cuisine Restaurant (Kuchnia Domowa) at 25 Miodowa Street. The hotel owner Peter had recommended us that restaurant before.

Homey Cuisine restaurant, Honey Street, Kraków

Homey Cuisine restaurant, Honey Street, Kraków


The traditional pumpkin soup at Homey Cuisine restaurant, Honey Street, Kraków

The traditional pumpkin soup at Homey Cuisine restaurant, Honey Street, Kraków

In the morning, after I saw off Ernest, it was time to leave for home. Since it was not my first visit, I had a food orientation already, and managed to take the first train back to the railway station. Soon I arrive home safely.

At the entrance to the Main Railway Staion, Kraków

At the entrance to the Main Railway Staion, Kraków

The Globe at the Main Railway Station in Kraków

The Globe at the Main Railway Station in Kraków

Thanks a lot, dear Ernest and Kraków! God bless you!

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Posted by Vic_IV 11:55 Archived in Poland Tagged castle krakow park; wawel castle; poland;

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Comments

So much to see in Krakow. I really must go back.

by irenevt

I think so as well. In fact, we are planning another trip there...

by Vic_IV

Lots of great memories for me of my own visit to Krakow, for the VT meet :) I recall being impressed by the Grunwald monument and loving the old town. But thanks to your use of the trams you've also taken me to parts I didn't see! And by the way I love how you describe Copernicus as 'the man who stopped the Sun and moved the Earth' - perfect!

by ToonSarah

Thanks, Sarah! Well it wasn't me who called Copernicus in such a way.I just read his life story...Live and learn!

by Vic_IV

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