KRAKOW- is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland, the city dates back to the 7th century. The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland´s second most important city. Krakow´s historic centre, which includes the Old Town, Kazimierz and the Wawel Castle, was included as the first of its kind on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978. In the same year was Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II.
The Old Town is a beatiful example of historic architecture includes Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Krakow reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. After the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, Krakow became the capital of Germany´s General Government. The Jewish population of the city was moved into a walles zone known as the Krakow Ghetto, from which they were sent to extermination camps, primarily to Auschwitz, which is on the way between Prague and Krakow.
The visit of Concentration Camp Auschwitz takes about 3 hours. Also highly recommended is to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine, established in the 13th century, located nearby Krakow. The only salt mine in the world preserved in such pristine condition and placed on the original list of the World heritage sites. Visited by more than 1 million tourists a year. The mine´s atractions include dozens of statues, three chapels end entire cathedral that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners.
The oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by contemporary artists.