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ContentPoland - General Information .................................................................................................4 Climate ...............................................................................................................................5 Geography ..........................................................................................................................5 History of Poland ................................................................................................................7 Famous Polish People .........................................................................................................9 Polish Politics ...................................................................................................................13 Economy ..........................................................................................................................15 Religion in Poland ............................................................................................................17 Sports ...............................................................................................................................17 Holidays ...........................................................................................................................19Useful Information ...............................................................................................................20 Fоod .................................................................................................................................20 Currency ...........................................................................................................................22 Time zone .........................................................................................................................22 Prices ................................................................................................................................22 Units .................................................................................................................................23 Electricity .........................................................................................................................23 Communication ................................................................................................................24 Business Hours .................................................................................................................25 Useful phrases ..................................................................................................................26Krakow ................................................................................................................................29 How to get here?...............................................................................................................29 Location ...........................................................................................................................31 Our City ...........................................................................................................................31 History .............................................................................................................................33 Universities ......................................................................................................................36 Cultural life ......................................................................................................................39 Night life ..........................................................................................................................43 Places to visit in Krakow and nearby ................................................................................45 Nearby Krakow ................................................................................................................49
Poland - General Information Poland, officially the Republic of Poland is a country in Central Europe. Poland is bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometers (120,726 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38 million people, which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world andthe most populous Eastern European Member State of the EU. The majority of the populationlive in the cities and towns with over 45% of all citizens living in one of the 42 larger citieswith population exceeding 100 000 inhabitants. Poland is divided into 16 voivodships. Thecapital city of Warsaw is located on the Vistula River and has population of 1,600,000 people.Today, over 98% of the population is ethnic Poles, and more than 80 % are practicing RomanCatholics.
Climate The geographical location and surface features are the two most important factors determining the climate of Poland. The climate hastransitional character between the maritime and continental climates. Winters are sometimesmild and sometimes cold, similarly the summers are cool and rainy or hot and dry. Generally,summer is usually warm and the most pleasant time to visit, but the plentiful sunshine ismixed together with rain. Spring starts in March with temperatures varying from -1 to +20 °C,until about April or May. July is the hottest month, but the rest of the summer is also quitewarm with temperatures from 21 to 32 °C. Initially warm September is the beginning ofPolands autumn. Thereafter, the days become more cold until December, when winter beginsand the temperature drops from a few degrees below zero to sometimes - 20 °C. Winter lastsfrom December to March and includes shorter or longer period ofsnow. In the high mountains snow lies till May.
GeographyPoland’s territory extends across several geographical regions. In the northwest is the Balticseacoast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk. This coast ismarked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), anddunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, andthe Vistula Lagoon. The center and parts of the north lie within the North European Plain.Rising gently above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districtsof moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age.These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, theKashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. The Masurian Lake District is thelargest of the four and covers much of northeastern Poland. The lake districts form part of theBaltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. South of theNorthern European Lowlands lie the regions of Silesia and Masovia, which are marked bybroad ice-age river valleys. Farther south lies the Polish mountain region, including theSudetes, the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and the CarpathianMountains, including the Beskids. The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains,along Poland’s southern border.
History of Poland Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century. Polands first historically documented ruler, Mieszko I, was baptized in 966, adopting Catholic Christianity as the nations new official religion, to which most of the population converted in the course of the next centuries. In the twelfth century, Poland fragmented into several smaller states and was reunited in 13 2 0b y kin g Władysław I. His son, Kazimierz III the Great, is remembered as one of the biggest reformers, founder of many cities and the University of Krakow (later called Jagiellonian University) witch was the 2nd university in Central Europe. Poland was also a centre of migration of people and the Jewish community began to settle andflourish in here during those times.Under the Jagiellon dynasty Poland forged a union with its neighbour, the Grand Duchy ofLithuania. In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive defeat on the TeutonicKnights (both countries main adversary), in the battle of Grunwald. After the Thirteen YearsWar, the Knights state became a Polish vassal. Polish culture andeconomy flourished under the Jagiellons, and the country produced suchfigures as astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and poet Jan Kochanowski.Compared to other European nations, Poland was exceptional in itstolerance of religious dissent, allowing the country to avoid the religiousturmoil that spread over Western Europe in that time. Seventy-five Tatarraids were recorded into Poland and Lithuania between 1474-1569. A golden age ensued during the sixteenth century after the Union of Lublin which gave birth to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Nobles in Poland, far more numerous than in Western European countries, took pride in their freedoms and parliamentary system. During the Golden Age period, Poland expanded its borders to become the largest country in Europe.In the mid-seventeenth century, a Swedish invasion ("The Deluge") and theCossacks Chmielnicki Uprising which ravaged the country marked the endof the golden age. Numerous wars against Russia coupled with governmentinefficiency caused by the Liberum veto, a right which had allowed anymember of the parliament to dissolve it and to veto any legislation it hadpassed, marked the steady deterioration of the Commonwealth from aEuropean power into a near-anarchy controlled by its neighbours. Despitethe erosion of its power, the Commonwealth was able to deal a crushingdefeat to the Ottoman Empire in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna. The reforms, particularly those of the Great Sejm, which passed the Constitution of May 3, 1791, the worlds second modern constitution and the first in Europe, were thwarted with the three partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) which culminated in Polands being erased from the map and its territories being divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Poles would resent their fate and would several times rebel against the partitioners, particularly in the nineteenth century. In 1807, Napoleon I of France recreated a Polish state, the Duchy of Warsaw, but after the
Napoleonic Wars, Poland was again divided in 1815 by the victorious Allies at the Congressof Vienna. The eastern portion was ruled by the Russian Czar as a Congress Kingdom. TheCzars soon reduced Polish freedoms and Russia eventually “de facto” annexed the country.Later in the nineteenth century, Austrian-ruled Galicia, particularly the Free City of Kraków,became a centre of Polish cultural life.During World War I, all the Allies agreed on thereconstitution of Poland that United States PresidentWoodrow Wilson proclaimed in Point 13 of his FourteenPoints. Shortly after the surrender of Germany in November1918, Poland regained its independence as the Second PolishRepublic. It reaffirmed its independence after a series ofmilitary conflicts, the most notable being the Polish–SovietWar (1919–1921) when Poland inflicted a crushing defeat onthe Red Army. The 1926 May Coup of Józef Piłsudskiturned the reins of the Second Polish Republic over to theSanacja movement.The movement controlled Poland until the start of World War II in 1939, when Nazi Germanyinvaded on 1 September and the Soviet invasion of Poland followed on 17 September.Warsaw capitulated on 28 September 1939. As agreed in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact,Poland was split into two zones, one occupied by Germany while the eastern provinces fellunder the control of the Soviet Union.Of all the countries involved in the war, Poland lost the highest percentage of its citizens: oversix million perished, half of them Polish Jews. Poland made the fourth-largest troopcontribution to the Allied war effort, after the Soviets, the British and the Americans. ThePolish expeditionary corps played an important role in the Italian Campaign, particularly atthe Battle of Monte Cassino. At the wars conclusion, Polands borders were shiftedwestwards, pushing the eastern border to the Curzon Line. Meanwhile, the western borderwas moved to the Oder-Neisse line. The new Poland emerged 20% smaller by 77,500 squarekilometres. The shift forced the migration of millions of people, most of whom were Poles,Germans, Ukrainians, and Jews.The Soviet Union instituted a new Communist government in Poland, analogous to much ofthe rest of the Eastern Bloc. Military alignment within the Warsaw Pact throughout the ColdWar was also part of this change. The Peoples Republic of Poland was officially proclaimedin 1952. In 1956, the régime of Władysław Gomułka became temporarily more liberal,freeing many people from prison and expanding some personal freedoms. A similar situationrepeated itself in the 1970s under Edward Gierek, but most of the time persecution ofcommunist opposition persisted.Labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity"("Solidarność"), which over time became a political force. Despite persecution and impositionof martial law in 1981, it eroded the dominance of the Communist Party and by 1989 hadtriumphed in parliamentary elections. Lech Wałęsa, a Solidarity candidate, eventually won the presidency in 1990. The Solidarity movement heralded the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe. A shock therapy programme of Leszek Balcerowicz during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into a market economy. As with all other post- communist countries, Poland suffered temporary slumps in social and economic standards, but became the first
post-communist country to reach its pre-1989 GDP levels, which it achieved by 1995 due toits booming economy. Most visibly, there were numerous improvements in other humanrights, such as the freedom of speech. In 1991, Poland became a member of the VisegrádGroup and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance in 1999 along withthe Czech Republic and Hungary. Poles then voted to join the European Union in areferendum in June 2003, with Poland becoming a full member on 1 May 2004. In 2007Poland joined Schengen Area. Famous Polish People Pope John Paul II ( Polish: Jan Paweł II, born Karol Wojtyła; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) served as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death almost 27 years later. His was the second-longest pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer. He was the only Polish Pope, and was the first non- Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in the 1520s. John Paul II has been widely acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century. It is widely agreed that he was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Central Europe, Southern Europe and EasternEurope, as well as significantly improving the Catholic Churchs relations with Judaism, theEastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. While some have criticised him forhis views against the ordination of women and contraception, his support for the SecondVatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, others have praised him for his firm, orthodoxCatholic stances in these areas.He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during hispontificate. He was fluent in many languages: his native Polish as well as Italian, French,German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian, Ancient Greek and Latin. As part of hisspecial emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised483 Saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries. Lech Walesa (born September 29, 1943) is a Polish politician and a former anticommunist underground, trade union and human rights activist. He co-founded Solidarity, the Soviet blocs first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995. He attended primary and vocational school, before entering Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk as an electrical technician in 1970. Lech Wałęsa is a devout Roman Catholic, and has said that his faith always helped him during Solidaritys difficult moments.On August 14, 1980, after the beginning of an occupational strike in the Lenin Shipyard ofGdańsk, Wałęsa became the leader of this strike. The strike was spontaneously followed bysimilar strik e first in Gd a , and then across Poland . In Sep t mber of that year, the s, ńsk eCommunist government signed an agreement with the Strike Coordination Committee toallow legal organization, but not actual free trade unions. The Strike Coordination Committee
legalized itself into National Coordination Committee of Solidarność Free Trade Union, andWałęsa was chosen as a chairman of th s Committee. Wałęsa k e t th s p o i p i sition untilDecember 13, 1981, when General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared a state of martial and Walesawas arrested. Wałęsa was incarcerated for 11 months in south-eastern Poland near the Sovietborder.In 1983, he applied to come back to Gdańsk Shipyard as a simple electrician. The year 1983also saw Wałęsa being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was unable to receive the prizehimself, fearing that the government would not let him back in. His wife, Danuta Wałęsa,received the prize in his place.From 1987 to 1990 Wałęsa organized and led, the "half-illegal" Temporary ExecutiveCommittee of Solidarity Trade Union. In 1988 Wałęsa organized an occupational strike inGdańsk Shipyard, demanding only the re-legalisation of the Solidarity Trade Union. Aftereighty days the government agreed to enter into talks in September. Wałęsa was an informalleader of the "non-governmental" side during the talks. During the talks the governmentsigned an agreement to re-establish the Solidarity Trade Union and to organize "half-free"elections to the Polish parliament.In 1989, Wałęsa organized and led the Citizenship Committee of the Chairman of SolidarityTrade Union. Formally, it was just an advisory body, but, practically, it was a kind of apolitical party, which won parliament elections in 1989 (the Opposition took all seats in theSejm that were subject of free elections and all but one seats in the newly re-establishedsenate; according to the Round Table agreements only members of the Communist Party andits allies could stand for the remaining 64% of seats in the Sejm).While technically just a Chairman of Solidarity Trade Union at the time, Wałęsa played a keyrole in Polish politics. At the end of 1989, he persuaded leaders from formerly Communistally parties to form a non-communist coalition government, which was the first non-Communist government in the Soviet Blocs sphere of influence. After that agreement theparliament chose Tadeusz Mazowiecki for prime minister of Poland. Poland, while still aCommunist country in theory, started to change its economy to a market-based system.He is the only private foreign citizen to address a joint session of the United States Congress,which he did on November 15, 1989. He was also the first recipient of the Liberty Medal onJuly 4, 1989 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In his acceptance speech, he said, "Liberty is notonly a right, but also our common responsibility and duty."On December 9, 1990, Wałęsa won the presidential election to become president of Polandfor the next five years. During his presidency, he started a so-called "war at the top" whichpractically meant changing the government annually. His style of presidency was stronglycriticized by most of the political parties, and he lost most of the initial public support by theend of 1995.
Mikolaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus, 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was the first astronomer to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology, which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe. His epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), published in 1543 just before he died, is often regarded as the starting point of modernastronomy and the defining epiphany that began the Scientific Revolution. His heliocentricmodel, with the sun at the center of the universe, demonstrated that the observed motions ofcelestial objects can be explained without putting the Earth at rest in the center of theuniverse. His work stimulated further scientific investigations, becoming a landmark in thehistory of modern science that is now often referred to as the Copernican Revolution.Among the great polymaths of the Renaissance, Copernicus was a mathematician,astronomer, physician, quadrilingual polyglot, classical scholar, translator, artist, Catholiccleric, jurist, governor, military leader, diplomat and economist. Among his manyresponsibilities, astronomy figured as little more than an avocation — yet it was in that fieldthat he made his mark upon the world. Fryderyk Chopin (1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He was one of the great masters of Romantic music. Chopin was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, in the Duchy of Warsaw, to a French-expatriate father and Polish mother, and was regarded as a child-prodigy pianist. On 2 November 1830, he left for Austria. Seven days later the Polish November Uprising, and subsequent Russian victory, led to him becoming one of many expatriates of the Polish Great Emigration. In Paris, Chopin made a comfortable living as a composer and piano teacher, while giving fewpublic performances. From 1837 to 1847 he had a turbulent relationship with the Frenchwriter George Sand.Chopins extant compositions were written primarily for the piano as a solo instrument.Though they are technically demanding, his style emphasises nuance and expressive depth.Chopin invented musical forms such as the instrumental ballade and was responsible formajor innovations in forms such as the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, étude,impromptu and prélude. His works are masterpieces and mainstays of Romanticism in 19th-century classical music. Maria Sklodowska Curie (November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934) was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes, and the first female professor at the University of Paris. Her husband Pierre Curie was a Nobel co-laureate of hers, and her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and son-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie also received Nobel prizes. Her achievements include the creation of a theory of radioactivity (a
term coined by her), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of twonew elements, polonium and radium. It was also under her personal direction that the worldsfirst studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms (cancers), using radioactiveisotopes.While an actively loyal French citizen, she never lost her sense of Polish identity. She namedthe first new chemical element that she discovered (1898) polonium for her native country,and in 1932 she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska–Curie Institute ofOncology) in her home town Warsaw, headed by her physician-sister Bronisława. Henryk Sienkiewicz (May 5, 1846–November 15, 1916) was a Polish journalist and novelist. He was one of the most popular Polish writers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905 for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer." In Russian-ruled Poland, Sienkiewicz wrote historical novels. His workswere noted for their negative portrayal of the Teutonic Order in The Teutonic Knights, whichwas remarkable as a significant portion of his readership lived under German rule. Many ofhis novels were first serialized in newspapers, and even today are still in print. In Poland, he isbest known for his historical novels "With Fire and Sword", "The Deluge", and "Fire in theSteppe" (The Trilogy) set during the 17th-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, whileinternationally he is best known for Quo Vadis, set in Neros Rome.Sienkiewicz was meticulous in attempting to recreate the authenticity of historical language.In his Trilogy, for instance, he had his characters use the Polish language as he imagined itwas spoken in the seventeenth century (in reality it was far more similar to 19th-centuryPolish than he imagined). In The Teutonic Knights, which relates to the Battle of Grunwald in1410, he even had his characters speak a variety of medieval Polish which he recreated in partfrom archaic expressions then still common among the highlanders of Podhale. Adam Mickiewicz (December 24, 1798 – November 26, 1855) is generally regarded as the greatest Polish Romantic poet. He ranks as one of Polands Three Bards alongside Zygmunt Krasiński and Juliusz Słowacki. Mickiewicz is also regarded as the greatest Slavic poet, alongside Alexander Pushkin, and as one of the best authors of the Romantic school. The writings of Mickiewicz have had such a tremendous influence upon the Polish mind that they can not be underestimated. Because of the greater simplicity of his style and the directness of presentation, Mickiewicz reachedmore Polish hearts than any other Polish writer and came to be regarded as the greatestinterpreter of the peoples hopes and ideals. His two monumental works, marking the zenith ofhis power, are Dziady (Forefathers Eve) and Pan Tadeusz. The latter is universallyrecognized as "the only successful epic which the 19th century produced." Jan Matejko (June 24, 1838, Free City of Kraków; - November 1, 1893, Kraków) was a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical Polish political and military events. His most famous works include oil on canvas paintings like Battle of Grunwald, paintings of numerous other battles and court scenes,
and a gallery of Polish kings. He is counted among the most famous Polish painters. Jozef Pilsudski (December 5, 1867 – May 12, 1935) was Chief of State (1918–22), "First Marshal" (from 1920) and (1926–35) the authoritarian ruler of the Second Polish Republic. From mid-World War I he was a major influence in Polands politics, and an important figure on the European political scene. He is considered largely responsible for Poland regaining independence in 1918, after a hundred twenty-three years of partitions.Early in his political career, Pilsudski became a leader of the Polish Socialist Party.Concluding, however, that Polands independence would have to be won by force of arms, hecreated the Polish Legions. In 1914 he anticipated the outbreak of a European war, theRussian Empires defeat by the Central Powers, and the Central Powers defeat by the westernpowers. When World War I broke out, he and his Legions fought alongside the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires to ensure Russias defeat. In 1917, with Russia faring badlyin the war, he withdrew his support from the Central Powers.From November 1918, when Poland regained independence, until 1922, Pilsudski wasPolands Chief of State. In 1919–21 he commanded Polands forces in the Polish-Soviet War.In 1923, with the Polish government dominated by his opponents, particularly the NationalDemocrats, he withdrew from active politics. Three years later he returned to power in theMay 1926 coup détat, becoming de facto dictator of Poland. From then until his death in1935, he concerned himself primarily with military and foreign affairs. Tadeusz Kosciuszko (February 4, 1746 – October 15, 1817) was a Polish military leader. He is a national hero in Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, and the United States. He led the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising against Imperial Russia and Kingdom of Prussia as Supreme Commander of the National Armed Force. Prior to commanding the 1794 Uprising, he had fought in the American Revolutionary War as a colonel in the Continental Army. In 1783, in recognition of his dedicated service, he had been brevetted by the Continental Congress to the rank ofbrigadier general and had become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Polish PoliticsRepublic of Poland is a democracy, with a President as a Head of State, whose currentconstitution dates from 1997. The government structure centres on the Council of Ministers,led by a Prime Minister. The president appoints the cabinet according to the proposals of theprime minister, typically from the majority coalition in the Sejm. The president is elected bypopular vote every five years. The current president is Lech Kaczyński, the current primeminister is Donald Tusk. Donald Tusk (born April 22, 1957, Gdańsk) is a center-right Polish politician, co- founder and chairman of the Civic Platform, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland. Tusk was officially designated as Prime Minister on November 9, 2007 and took office on November 16. Lech Kaczyński (born 18 June 1949) is the President of the Republic of Poland, a politician of the conservative right wing party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość). Kaczyński served as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005, the day before his presidential inauguration. He is the identical twin brother of the former Prime Minister of Poland, Jarosław Kaczyński. Professor Jerzy Buzek (born 3 July 1940) is a Polish engineer, academic lecturer and politician. He was Prime Minister of Poland from 1997 to 2001 and has been a member of the European Parliament since 13 June 2004. On 14 July 2009,he was elected as President of the European Parliament. He succeeded Hans-Gert Pöttering.Parties In Polish Parlament
Civic Platform – Platforma Obywatelska (PO) Liberal, proeuropean, center-rightwing party focused on reforms, economy and development. Main liders of the Civic Platform are PM Donald Tusk, President of Sejm Bronislaw Komorowski, President of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltzand Jerzy Buzek President of European Parliament. Civic Paltform is most popular among theyouth. Law and Justice – Prawo I Sprawiedliwość (PiS) Conservative, europhobic, devotional, prosocial, rightwing party. Main leaders are Kaczynski Brothers (in fact they are identical twins): Lech and Jaroslaw, the firstone is current President of Poland and former President of Warsaw, the second is the formerPrime Minister. Law and Justice is supported by many old people, and population of smallertowns. Democratic Left Alliance – Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (SLD) Prosocial, liberal, supporting minorities, leftwing party with postcomunist roots. In last few years this party hasn’t played any major role in polish politics. Polish People’s Party – Polskie Stonnictwo Ludowe (PSL) Agrarian, proeuropean party. It is most popular in villages, among farmers. After lastparliamentary elections Polish People’s Party formed a coalition with Civic Platform – bothparties support current government. Waldemar Pawlak, leader of Polish People’s Party is VicePrime Minister and Minister of Economy in Doland Tusk Cabinet.EconomyPoland began its transition to a market economy in 1990 under exceptionally difficultmacroeconomic conditions, marked by hyperinflation, a high rate of hidden unemployment, alarge legacy of external public debt, a high black market foreign exchange premium, and anobsolete state enterprise sector. Polish policymakers liberalized prices, made the Polish Zlotyconvertible, lowered import barriers, and started privatization.Thanks to competent policy management at the macroeconomic level and thoroughrestructuring of enterprises, Poland became a frontrunner among European transitioncountries.After five years of strong economic performance, the global financial crisis has worsenedPoland’s macroeconomic and fiscal outlook, even though Poland is faring better than othercountries in the region. Declining demand for Poland’s exports, a slowdown of credit activity,and lower FDI inflows are impacting the economy adversely. Poland’s economy is relativelystrong after five years of solid growth (4.8 percent in 2008) and historically lowunemployment rate (7.1 percent in 2008). Inflation, the current account deficit (5.5 percent ofGDP), external debt (56 percent of GDP), the fiscal deficit (2.7 percent of GDP) and publicdebt (46 percent of GDP) in 2008 are all moderate, and the foreign-dominated financialsystem is relatively sound and well-capitalized. Poland’s floating exchange rate regime ishelping to absorb the external shock. Polish enterprises and households have moderateexposure to foreign currency risks. Poland’s financial system seems to be well-poised to copewith the current adverse external environment.
Despite its recent progress, the country still faces significant economic challenges. A moreefficient public sector is needed to support dynamic growth, investment in publicinfrastructure, and retreat from non-competitive sectors in which the government continues tobe a big player.Institutional reform of public finance, completion of privatization, an overhaul of the judicialsystem, reform of the health sector, strengthening of the education sector, and achievement ofnominal convergence on a sustainable basis permitting euro adoption are among keypriorities.In addition, with fewer resources and in an economic environment that is evolving quickly,the Government faces the difficult challenge to reconcile three objectives: ensure fiscalconsolidation over the medium-term, protect priority programs, and mitigate the social cost ofthe crisis.The government is also moving to support the economy and seeking to accelerate structuralreforms. In late November, the government announced a 7% of GDP “Plan for Stability andDevelopment” aimed at supporting the economy in 2009-2010. This included a doubling ofthe limit on state guarantees, support for lending to small and medium-size enterprises,acceleration of investments co-financed from EU structural funds, new investments inrenewable energy, previously scheduled personal income tax cuts and VAT simplification,and creation of a Reserve of Social Solidarity to support people vulnerable to the projectedeconomic slowdown.Economic policy objectives in the medium-term were set by the Government in the March2008 Convergence Program and confirmed in the December 2008 Update of the program.These objectives are: (i) reduction of the tax burden (personal income tax reduction andsimplification in 2009); (ii) increase of growth-enhancing expenditure (infrastructure, science,education, and R&D), shifting social spending towards programs supporting growth ofeconomic activity, and changes in health and pensions aimed at enhancing efficiency; (iii)increase of labor activity; (iv) economic liberalization (elimination of obstacles to doingbusiness, administration reform, and better functioning of judiciary); and (v) acceleration ofprivatization.In the first quarter of 2009 Poland was among few European countries that had GrossDomestic Product (GDP) growth.
Religion in PolandMost Poles, by far, adhere to the Christian faith, with in2006 about 88% belonging to the Roman CatholicChurch[ (according to the official state statistics for year2006). Catholicism plays an important role in the livesof many Poles and the Roman Catholic Church inPoland enjoys immense social prestige and politicalinfluence. The church is widely respected by both itsmembers and nonmembers, who see it as a symbol ofPolish heritage and culture. The rest of the populationconsists mainly of Eastern Orthodox(about 506 000),Jehovahs Witnesses (about 220 000) and variousProtestant (about 159 000, with about 76 000 in thelargest Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland)religious minorities.In the 16th and 17th centuries, Poland was famous forits unique religious tolerance (see WarsawConfederation (1573)).According to Polands Constitution freedom of religion is ensured to everyone.It also allowsfor national and ethnic minorities to have the right to establish educational and culturalinstitutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in theresolution of matters connected with their cultural identity.Religious organizations in the Republic of Poland can register their institution with theMinistry of Interior and Administration creating a record of churches and other religiousorganizations who operate under separate Polish laws. This registration is not necessary;however, it is beneficial when it comes to serving the freedom of religious practice laws.
SportsSki jumpingAdam Małysz, ski jumper (born 3 December 1977 in Wisła, Poland) -Małysz won two Olympic medals (Silver, Bronze) at the 2002 WinterGames in Salt Lake City. He has also won an incredible 38 World Cupcompetitions, second only to Finlands Matti Nykänen (46) on the all-timelist. He is the first ski jumper ever to win the World Cup 3 times in a row.Football The Polish National Football Team was the winner of the 1972 Olympic Football Tournament, as well as a runner-up in 1976 and 1992. Poland has made seven Fifa World Cup appearances (1938, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2006) and achieved great success, finishing third at both the 1974 World Cup in Germany and the 1982 World Cup in Spain. The junior team has also achieved success on the international stage, finishing third at the 1983 FIFA U-20 WorldCup Final, fourth at the 1979 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final and fourth at the 1993 FIFA U-17World Cup Final. Poland will host the UEFA Euro 2012 along with Ukraine in 2012. It willbe the first time Poland has hosted an event of this size.StrongmanMariusz Pudzianowski, a professional strongman (born February 7, 1977)- He started Kyokushin in 1988, weight training in 1990 and box in 1992.At the end of the1990s he focussed on strongman competitions. He is oneof the three men that won the Worlds Strongest Man title (in 2002, 2003,2005 and 2007) near Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson.Pudzianowski also took part in one of polish editions of Strictly ComeDancing (Taniec z Gwiazdami) and won the silver medal.Swimming Otylia Jędrzejczak (born 13 December 1983 is the Olympic champion from Athens 2004 in the 200 metre butterfly. She finished 4th in this event in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She also swam in a third Olympiad, at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In Athens 2004 she also silvered in 400 m freestyle and 100 m butterfly. Three times she broke the world record in the womens 200 m butterfly (once in the 25-metre pool).HandballDuring 2007 World Mens Handball Championship inGermany Polish Team led by Bogdan Wenta was a revelationof the tournament, and won the silver medal, having lost thefinal to host Germany 25:29. Since then team have made manysignificant achievements.
F1 Racing Robert Kubica (born 7 December 1984 in Kraków, Poland), Robert Kubica is the first Polish Formula One driver. He made his racing deput at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. He experienced his first podium finish at Monza, Italy at the 2006 Italian Grand Prix. During this race he finished third and stood on the podium next to Michael Schumacher (Germany) and Kimi Räikkönen (Finland). In the 2007 Formula One season he survived a horrific crash at the Canadian GrandPrix. Kubica came out of the crash with only a sprained ankle and minor concussion. RobertKubica scored his very first victory in Formula 1 at 2008 Canadian Grand Prix (it was also thevery first win for BMW Sauber team). Robert Kubica has brought Formula One to Poland,bringing along with him many new fans. He is currently racing for the BMW Sauber FormulaOne Team alongside his teammate Nick Heidfeld.Holidays Date English Name January 1 New Years Day Sunday in Spring (movable) Easter Sunday Easter Monday - Also called Monday following Easter Sunday Śmigus-dyngus. May 1 State Holiday May 3 National 3rd of May Holiday 7th Sunday after Easter Pentecost Sunday 9th Thursday after Easter Corpus Christi Assumption of the Blessed Virgin August 15 Mary November 1 All Saints Day November 11 Independence Day December 25 1st day of Christmas December 26 2nd day of Christmas
Useful InformationFоodIf you want to try traditional Polish cuisine, stop counting your calories. Typical meals arevery hearty and often contain a lot of meat. Just sampling them is enough to discover that theyare really delicious and worth putting on a few ounces. The most recommendable dishes are:bigos, kotlet schabowy, pierogi and gołąbki. Poles boast that their two basic products arebread and sausages.The most typical ingredients used in Polish cuisine are sauerkraut, beetroot, cucumbers(gherkins), sour cream, kohlrabi, mushrooms, sausages and smoked sausage. A meal owes ittaste to the herbs and spices used; such as marjoram, dill, caraway seeds, parsley, or pepper.The most popular desserts are cakes and pastries. A shot of vodka is an appropriate addition tofestive meals and help you to digest the food.Polands culture has always integrated elements from its neighbours, and there are also manyrecipes of Jewish origin. Nowadays the Polish menu is still changing, being influenced byvarious, sometimes exotic tastes. Apart from traditional restaurants specialising in Polishcooking, restaurants serving Italian, French and Asian foods are mushrooming in Polandscities, as well as vegetarian bars.Pierogi Golabki Pierogi have long been a They are a form of cabbage rolls. They are traditional Polish food a traditional Polish dish consisting of staple. They may have boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with ground come from Russia in the beef, chopped onions and rice or barley; Middle Ages, but they are most often baked and refried in a spicy as Polish as Polish food tomato sauce. gets. Dough filled with cheese, potatoes, onions,cabbage, mushrooms, meat (or almost anyother ingredient, savory or sweet, that youcan think of), pierogi are served steaminghot boiled or fried and are accompanied bysour cream. Homemade pierogi are aspecial treat that even the pickiest eaterwill beg for more.RosolIt’s traditional Polish soup, made bychicken. It is commonly served with fine noodles. A vegetarian version can be made, using vegetable stock cube
Bigos Pomidorowa – tomato soup Savory stew of cabbage and meat, there is no standard recipe, as recipes vary considerabl y from region to region andfrom family to family. Typical ingredientsinclude fresh and fermented white Zurekcabbage, various cuts of meat and It is The sour rye soup made of soured ryesausages, often whole or puréed tomatoes, flour and meat (usually boiled porkhoney and mushrooms. The meats may sausage or pieces of smoked sausage,include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, bacon or ham) , specific to Poland . Inbeef, veal, sausage, and, as bigos is Poland it is sometimesconsidered a hunters stew, venison or served in an edibleother game; leftover cuts find their way bowl made of bread orinto the pot as well. It may be seasoned with boiled potatoes.with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay The recipe varies fromleaf, marjoram, pimento, dried or smoked region to region. Inplums and other ingredients. Silesia, the żur śląski, different from the moreSchabowy traditional żurek, can This traditional be found. breaded pork cutlet is a tasty choice Szarlotka anytime and The Polish version of apple pie is known anywhere in Poland. as szarlotkaQuite similar to Austrian Wiener Schnitzel,it is usually served with mashed potatoesand sauerkraut. In some restaurants it canalso be accompanied with pickledcucumbers (gherkins) or beetroot salad.Kotlet schabowy is a typical Polish maincourse for the Sunday dinner.Barszcz - It is made with beetroot as a main ingredient which gives it a strong red color. Other, non- beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-basedorange borscht and the green (zelioni)borscht
CurrencyThe Zloty is the currency of Poland. Notes and coins of the following denominations are incirculation:Coins: 1, 2 and 5 zloty and denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy.Notes: The PLN appears in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 zloty.Time zonePoland is one of the countries that use Central European Time (GMT + 01:00). This time zoneapplies to the majority of Europe, including Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy,Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and many other countries. As in many other countries, fromMarch to October summer time is used to save daylight.PricesHere are some basic prices of products in Poland. The prices differ in various places, butusually the cheapest products you can buy in supermarkets.Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, however sometimes there is a limit (around 15-20zł), below witch you can only pay in cash. In small shops, snack bars and museums the cardsare not accepted. In big cities the network of ATM machines is well spread, so you should nothave the problem with withdrawing your cash from the wall. 200zl 100zl 50zl 20zl 10zl
UnitsWeights:1 gram - 1g = 0.035 ounces1 kilogram - 1 kg = 1000 g = 35 ounces1 kg = 2.2 poundsLengths1 centimeter - 1 cm = 0.39 inch1 decimeter - 1dm = 3.9 inch1 meter 1 m = 100 cm = 10 dm = 39 inch = 3.3 feet =1.1 yards1 kilometer - 1km = 1000 m= 3 300 feet= 0.6 mileVolumes1 milliliter - 1 ml = 0.035 fluid ounce1 deciliter - 1 dl = 0.35 fluid ounce1 litter - 1 l = 1000 ml = 10 dl=3.5 fluid ounce = 0.26 US gallonTemperaturetemp[°C]=temp.[K]-273=5 x temp.[°F] /9 -17,8ElectricityThe voltage is 220V, 50 Hz. Plugs are the same as in the rest ofContinental Europe.
Communication In Poland there are 4 main mobile operators Orange, Era, Plus and Play. There is also Heyah, but it is property of Era. You should definitely buy yourself a Polish operator SIM card. To activate polish SIM card your phone should have the simlock removed. We recommend you to remove simlock from your phone in your home country so you can start using polish sim card immediately after arrival. You should use prepaid cards. You can charge them with more money by buying special scratch cards or getting special receipt printed. Both the scratch card and the receipt have special 14 digit code you’ve got to enter to charge your phone. HEYAH Chargingprocedure *123*CODE# *125*CODE# *111*CODE# *109*CODE# *100*CODE#How muchcredit left? *100# *124# *101# *108# *101# In Poland there are 49 Area codes they are used in front of stationary phone numbers. If making calls from stationary number always put 0 in front of the number. To call abroad you’ve got to put + or 00 in front of country code you would like to call.
Emergency phone numbers999: Ambulance998: Fire Brigade997: Police981: Road Assistance986: Municipal PoliceUsing mobile phones: remember to dial the local code before the number, for example:12 - 997 to call the police in Krakow. Emergency calls from phone boxes are free of charge. Ifyou do not know the local code, dial the general emergency number for mobile phones: 112.The operator will request the appropriate emergency unit. We recommend using directemergency numbers in the case of danger (997, 999, 998) because in some areas the generalemergency number (112) still does not work properly.These numbers may also be useful:Warsaw public transportation information (22) 94 84Cracow public transportation information (12) 91 50International flight departure information (22) 650 39 43International flight arrival information (22) 650 42 20Business HoursMost common working hours are 8:00AM -4:00PM. Most banks and public institutions areopen those hours. From Till CommentsOffice Hours 8:00 AM 4:00 PMFood Shops 7:00 AM 8:00 PM There are some 24h/7 shops as wellShopping Malls 10:00 AM 8:00 PM Till 10:00 PM at the weekendsPubs and Clubs 7:00 PM 2:00 PM Till 5:00 PM at the weekends
Useful phrasesPolish is the official language of Poland. It has the second largest number of speakers amongSlavic languages after Russian. Polish is the main representative of the Lechitic branch of theWest Slavic languages. It originated in the areas of present-day Poland from several localWestern Slavic dialects, most notably those spoken in Greater Poland and Lesser Poland. Itshares some vocabulary with the languages of the neighboring Slavic nations, most notablywith Slovak, Czech, Ukrainian, and Belarusian.Polish language was once known as a lingua franca in various regions of Central and EasternEurope, mostly due to the political, cultural, scientific, and military influence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Today, Polish is spoken by over 38.5 million native speakers inPoland and it is spoken as a second language in western parts of the Belarus, Lithuania, andUkraine. Because of the emigration from Poland during various time periods, millions ofPolish speakers can be found in countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, UnitedKingdom, United States, and so on. There are over 46 million Polish language speakersaround the world. English Polish To Your Health! / Cheers! Na Zdrowie! How are you? Jak się masz? / Co słychać? Hi / Bye Czesc Hello / Welcome Witam Good Morning / Good Afternoon Dzień dobry Good Evening Dobry wieczor Good Night Dobranoc Goodbye Do widzenia How are you? Jak sie masz? Good Dobrze Yes Tak No Nie Please speak more slowly Proszę mówić wolniej I dont understand Nie rozumiem I dont speak Polish Nie mówię po polsku Do you speak English? Czy mówisz po angielsku? I am English (male) Jestem Anglikiem I am English (female) Jestem Angielką Im from … Jestem z … I live in … Mieszkam w … Thanks Dziekuję
Please ProszęExcuse me / I am sorry PrzepraszamCongratulations GratulujęMerry Christmas Wesołych ŚwiątHappy New Year Szcześliwego Nowego RokuHappy Birthday (100 years!) Sto latGrandmother BabciaGrandfather DziadekMother MatkaFather OjciecHusband MążWife ŻonaGirlfriend (sweetheart) DziewczynaFiance NarzeczonaBrother BratSister SiostraI like you Lubię CięI love you Kocham CięAre you married? (m to f) Jesteś zamężna?Will you marry me? Wyjdziesz za mnie?How much is it? Ile to kosztuje?Can I have the bill, please? Rachunek, proszęIm looking for ... Szukam ...Rude Words and PhrasesShut up! Zamknij sięGo away! OdejdżGet Lost! Spadaj
Useful things to bring : • AC adapter if needed • ISIC student card • Passport and Copy of passport • photos for IDs • some Zlotys for the first day • phone without sim-lock • warm clothing • medicines • insurance/European Health Card
KrakowHow to get here?By Plane John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice is an international airport located near Kraków, in the village of Balice, 11 km westof the city centre. The airport opened for civil aviation in 1964. Kraków Airport is the second busiestairport in the country after Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport. It is used by over 3.000.000passengers and has nearly 35.000 plane departures each year. Most of the times we try to pickup our new trainees from the airport or train station, so there should be some AIESECerwaiting for you. If there won’t be anyone available to pick you up we will inform you aboutthis fact at least one day before your arrival. From the Airport you can get to the town centerby various means of transport: • By train You need to take the Shuttle Bus first it stops in front of each terminal and takes you 300m to the Balice Airport Railway Station . Then you have to take the train ( you can find schedule at airport’s website http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/3/176/35/en) The ticket costs 8 zl and the jurney will take 16 minutes. • By city bus (292, 208, 902) Buses 292 and 208 are regular, but 902 is a night bus. Journey to the city centre (“Dworzec Glowny” Main Train Station bus stop) takes approximately 30-40 min. One-way normal fare is 3.00 zł Tickets may be purchased from a vending machine at the bus stop or on board (if available) or from the driver for at additional 0.50 zł. There is no fare for luggage. • By Taxi The journey takes 20-30 min (depending on the route and traffic) and should cost about 70 zl.
Plan of the Krakow AirportHere is the website of Krakow Airport, you can find all additional information there.http://www.krakowairport.pl/enIf you are landing in another city it would probably be Katowice or Warsaw Here is the website of Katowice Airport http://www.katowice-airport.com/en From Katowice Airport you can travel to Krakow by Bus (WiZZ AIR BUS http://www.matuszek.com.pl/transfery_en.html or by Car Polonia Bus http://www.wizz-bus.com/en/rozklad-z) the price is 40 -50 zl. Here is the website of Warsaw Airport http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/?lang=en To get to Krakow you must get to Warsaw city center and get the train to Krakow (For more train information see below).By TrainHere (http://rozklad-pkp.pl/?q=en/node/143) you can check the train schedule. In theconnection search engine you should put “Krakow Glowny” which means Krakow Main.When you arrive at the platform you can either take the stairs up to the roof over the platformsfrom where you can catch a taxi (there is also a car park on the roof), or you can go down thestairs to one of three tunnels lead to the city.
By Coach bus(PKS) - Near the Main Train Station there is also Main Coach Station. You can check theschedule here http://www.rda.krakow.pl/en/detale.phpLocationKrakow lies in the southern part of Poland on the bank of Vistula River in a valley at the footof the Carpathian Plateau, 219 meters above sea level. Approximately 300 km (190 miles)north is Warsaw, the capital of Poland, and 100 km (60 miles) south are the Tatra Mountains,forming the southern border of the country. The city covers an area of 327 sq. km, equal to0.1% of the countrys surface area.Links :http://www.cracow-life.com/map/map.php
Our CityYou are entering a world filled with ghosts and phantoms, butalso with people who are most definitely flesh and blood.Krakow is an extraordinary place which once visited, can neverbe forgotten. It is one of the few places in the world where youcan feel history intermingle with the present.And it all started, as legend tells, with Krakus, the first lord of asettlement located somewhere between the Danube and the Rhein, in a land referred to by theancient Romans as Barbaricum. Although little is known about the founder of the city on theVistula, one thing is beyond question: it was he who slew the terrible dragon of which legendspeaks. And it is for this reason the so-called Wawel Dragon became the symbol of the city ofKrakow, for centuries the seat of kings and a centre of cultural and academic life. It shouldsurprise no-one that it was precisely here that, as the parish records show, the most renownedof all scholars, Doctor Faust, pursued his secret sciences.Throughout its entire history the city has attracted, and continues to attract, extraordinarypeople. From architects, artists and scholars to honest merchants, who left behind them anexceptional legacy of historical relics and cultural and material achievements on a par withanything in the world. Today, thanks to our attachment to history and regard for our ancestors,we are able to combine our history with the demands of a modern metropolis. Thedevelopment of the transport and tourist infrastructures, together with a huge number of hotelsand restaurants, make Krakow as pleasant for its inhabitants as it is for visitors searching forinteresting places on their map of Poland.HistoryArchaeological findings provide evidence that Wawel Hill was settled as far back as the earlyStone Age. The Mounds of Krakus and Wanda, legendary rulers of the settlement inhabitedby the Slavonic tribe of Wiślanie, probably date back to the 7th century. Krakow wasmentioned for the first time in a report of Ibrahim-Ibn-Jakub, a merchant from Cordoba, in theyear 985. He describes a rich city on the crossing of trade routes which wassurrounded by forests. In the pre-Piast period, two dates from the citys historyare known. Between 876 and 879, Świetopełk, Duke of Grand Moravia,occupied the region that was later to be named "Little Poland". After 955Boleslaus the Cruel, the ruling Czech Duke and brother of St. Vaclav,introduced Czech rule here. In the 10th century Krakow was incorporated intothe Polish state. However, it is difficult to say for sure whether it occurredduring the rule of Mieszko I in 990 or Boleslaus the Brave in 999.The Middle AgesCertain facts and dates from the citys history can only be given after the year 1000. A castleand a borough which existed at that time on Wawel Hill were fortified with a palisade and anearth wall. In the 10th and 11th centuries the first brick edifices were built (the castle andRomanesque churches), the cathedral and a basilica, as well as the St. Feliks and AdauktChurch. In the year 1000 a bishopric was established in Krakow.In 1150 a cathedral school, the best educational establishment in Poland before the foundationof the university, was set up at the castle church. The regalia (the crown and sceptre of
Boleslaw the Brave) were kept in the cathedral treasury. A rich library, which had 28 books,included classic literature along with religious works, comedies by Terence, elegies by Ovid,and historical monographs by Sallust. Certain facts and dates from the citys history can onlybe given as being after the year 1000. A castle and a borough which existed at that time onWawel Hill were fortified with a palisade and an earth wall. In the 10th and 11th centuries thefirst brick edifices were built (the castle and Romanesque churches), the cathedral and abasilica, as well as the St. Felix and Adaukt Church. In the year 1000 a bishopric wasestablished in Krakow. In 1150 a cathedral school, the best educational establishment inPoland before the foundation of the university, was set up at the castle church.The regalia (the crown and sceptre of Boleslaus the Brave) were kept in the cathedraltreasury. It had a rich library, with 28 books, including classic literature along with religiousworks, comedies by Terence, elegies by Ovid, and historical monographs by Sallust. In 1142,Bishop Robert consecrated the "second" Wawel cathedral, which had been built to replace thedestroyed Romanesque church. The body of St. Stanislas, after it had been moved from thechurch at Skałka, and the relicts of St. Florian, were solemnly laid to rest at the new cathedral.The feudal division of Poland and continuous fighting between regional dukes did notinterrupt the citys rapid development.In 1138, Krakow Castle became more important as the official home of the highest duke and,to some degree, the capital of Poland, according to the last will of Boleslaus the Wry-Mouthed. The buildings destroyed during the invasion of the Tatars in 1241 were replaced bynew ones built in Gothic style. The location of the city according to the Magdeburg law in1257 gave it a new layout with a centrally situated marketplace. In the 13th century the citywas provided with a new fortification system of city walls, towers and fortified city gates.This system was gradually added to and modernised over the next few centuries. January 20,1320 was the date of the first coronation; others followed over the next five centuries. Thecathedral also became the Royal burial site. The reign of Casimir the Great (Casimir III 1310-1370), patron of the arts and sciences, proved to be of great importance for the city. The kingfounded two new cities, Kazimierz and Kleparz, which were closely connected with Krakow.Gothic, Franciscan and Dominican churches were built. St. Marys Church, as well as theCorpus Christi Church and St. Catherines Church were built in Kazimierz. Renovation of thecathedral and castle on Wawel Hill, and the Cloth Hall, Town Hall and other public buildingswere continued. In 1364, Kazimierz the Great founded Krakow Academy, which was theorigin of the later Jagiellonian University.Jagiellonian epochSepulchral sculpture on the sarcophagus of King Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk inWawel Cathedral - masterpiece of Veit Stoss Sepulchral sculpture on thesarcophagus of King Casimir Jagiellonczyk in Wawel Cathedral -masterpiece of Veit StossLadislaus Jagiello, Grand Duke of Lithuania, was crowned King of Polandin 1386 and started the greatest Polish dynasty, which ruled Poland for over200 years. Krakow became the capital of a monarchy spreading overgenuinely Polish territories as well as vast Lithuanian-Russian areas. Theroyal court played an important role in supporting artistic and cultural life.Outstanding humanists, scientists and artists came here from Italy, Germany and othercountries. Famous sculptor Veit Stoss came from Nurnberg in 1477 to carve a large altar forSt. Marys Church by order of the citizens. After further rebuilding between 1499 and 1536,Wawel Castle was a pearl of Renaissance architecture, boasting the "Zygmuntowska" Chapel
- the most beautiful sepulchral chapel in Poland. The castle was decorated with a collection ofArras tapestries ordered from Flanders. It proudly played the role of the royal seat of apowerful country: well up in the fashionable world of its time.Cathedral seal (13th century) representing the Romanesque cathedralfounded by Ladislaus HermanCathedral seal (13th century) representing the Romanesque cathedralfounded by Wladyslaw Herman At the end of the 16th centuryWarsaw became the capital of Poland. Krakow lost its importancealthough it preserved its formal role as the site for royal coronationsand burials.The 17th centuryThe "husaria" were the famous Polish heavy cavalry from the17th century; in 1683, these soldiers under the command of KingJan III Sobieski, participated in the relief of Vienna which wasbesieged by Turks.In the middle of the 17th century the Black Death decimated thecitys population. The number of dead is estimated at over 20,000.Later, the Swedish army destroyed and ransacked Kazimierz andKleparz, the suburbs and the old city. Krakow became a provincialcentre of small-scale trade and skilled crafts. Only the Churchremained as a patron of the arts at this time. The destroyed churchesand monasteries were rebuilt in the new baroque style. The greatestarchitectural achievement at the time was St. Annes Church,designed by Tylman of Gameren and stuccoed by BaldassareFontana.The 18th and 19th centuriesIn 1702, the city was seized and devastated by the Swedish army again. Wawel Castle wasburnt down. The following invasions of Prussian and Russian troops completed thedestruction. Due to the first partition of Poland in 1772, the southern part of Little Poland wasseized by the Austrian army. On March 24, 1794 Kościuszkos Insurrection began in Krakow.Temporarily included into the Warsaw Duchy, it was given the status of a "free city" afterNapoleons downfall. Krakow then developed rapidly. The "Planty"(a green land ring) was setup in place of the city walls, which had been pulled down.New districts developed on the outskirts of the city. After the defeat of the NovemberInsurrection (1831), Krakow preserved its autonomy as the only intact part of Poland. In1846, it was absorbed into the Austrian Monarchy again. Despite being under foreign control,the city enjoyed some freedom. During this time Krakow became the symbol and centre ofPolish traditions and the spiritual capital for all parts of the divided Poland. Scientific andcultural establishments developed dynamically. The Scientific Association of Krakow(Towarzystwo Naukowe Krakowskie) was the origin of the Academy of Sciences. In 1818,the Academy of Fine Arts was established and in 1854 the Society of the Friends of Fine Arts.
The 20th centuryThe approaching war against Russia prompted the growth of independence movements.Almost all political parties could act legally in Krakow, and in 1910, the paramilitary"Strzelec" (Rifleman) Association was founded. On June 6, 1914, the First Company of"Strzelcy" und er the command of Józef Piłsu d s i set off from the "Oleand ry" of Krak ow. kAfter independence was regained in 1918, Krakow became a significant administrative andcultural centre. Industry started to develop rapidly. Although the Second World War did notdestroy Krakows historical monuments, it ravaged the city in other ways.On November 6, 1939, professors of Jagiellonian University and the most outstandingrepresentatives of the citys intellectual elite were arrested and transported to the concentrationcamp in Sachsenhausen. After the war Krakow lost its privileged position. The communistauthorities wanted intellectual circles dominated by the working class. This aim was to befulfilled by the mass of construction workers who were attracted to Krakow. Today however,it is artistic and scientific circles that create the image of the city, which now has over 800,000inhabitants.Universities Jagiellonian University (UJ- Uniwersytet Jagiellonski)Founded in 1364, Jagiellonian University is the oldest university in Poland, and the second oldest in Central Europe after the University of Prague. In the 15th century, the Jagiellonianwas one of most international universities in Europe with approximately 44% of the studentscoming from abroad. Today, the university is once again attracting agrowing number of international students. Among its most prominentgraduates were Nicolaus Copernicus (1491-95) and Pope John Paul II(1938-39, 1942-46). AGH University of Science and Technology. (AGH – Akademia Gorniczo-Hutnicza ) The abbreviation AGH stands for polish historical name of the university -Academy of Mining and Metallurgy. AGH is the secondlargest technical university in Poland, established in 1919. It educatesstudents at 15 Faculties and the Interfaculty School of Energy, at 20 fields ofstudy and over 100 specializations. The ambition of the University is toenable its students to gain knowledge at the highest level, acknowledged allover the world. Tadeusz Kosciuszko Krakow University of Technology (Politechnika Krakowska) The university was established in 1945 (at first as a part of the present AGH), tobecome an independent entity in 1954. On the national scale the university is ranked betweenthe fifth and seventh position among over twenty universities of technology in the country.Some of the faculties are ranked on higher positions and the faculties of Architecture, CivilEngineering and Mechanical Engineering are among the best in Poland. Several interfacultyunits operate at University of Technologies including the Urban Educational Centre thatprepares foreign students intending to study at Polish universities with special emphasis onarchitectural studies.
Krakow University of Economics (UEK – Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny) The Cracow University of Economics was established in 1925 and it was the third school of higher economic education in Poland after metropolitan Warsaw and Lviv.It is a state-owned university, educating students at four Faculties:Faculty of Economics and International Relations, Faculty of Finance,Faculty of Management and Faculty of Commodity Science. Universityowns modern sports facilities and houses and health service centre. TheAIESEC Krakow office is placed in the Sport Building of University ofEconomics. Agricultural University in Krakow (UR – Uniwersytet Rolniczy) The University educates students at 7 faculties and Interfaculty Study of Biotechnology in 12 major fields and 24 specialisations. It offers full time and part- time Master and Bachelor programmes as well as supplementary Master studies. TheUniversity academic staff has been developing programmes in English to create a wideeducational offer for foreign students.University of Pope John Paul II (PAT - Papieska Akademia Teologiczna)This university offers graduate degrees in theology, philosophy, and church history. It derivesfrom the theology faculty of Jagiellonian University, which wasestablished in 1397. The theology faculty was expelled from theuniversity by Communist authorities in 1954. Remaining under thesupervision of the Vatican, the faculty received the honorific title of"Pontifical" in 1974 and was established as The Pontifical Academyof Theology by Pope John Paul II in 1981. The name was changedin 2009 to University of Pope John Paul II. Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow (ASP – Akademia Sztuk Pieknych im. Jana Matejki) The Academy of Fine Arts is the oldest artistic university in Poland. Founded in 1818, it was a subdivision of the Jagiellonian University and received the status of an independent institution in 1873. In the period of Modernism, the Faculty of Painting had the mostdistinguished Polish painters as teachers. Among them were: LeonWyczolkowski, Teodor Axentowicz, Stanislaw Wyspianski, JacekMalczewski, Jan Stanislawski and Jozef Mehoffer, and after 1905Jozef Pankiewicz, Ferdynand Ruszczyc and Wojciech Weiss. At thattime the Academy was at the time the main centre of Polish artisticlife. The Academy boasts many prominent graduates, who over thedecades shaped Polish art and culture. The Academy of Music in Krakow (Akademia Muzyczna) The Academy of Music in Krakow has its origins in the Kraków Conservatory, founded by eminent Polish composer Wladyslaw Zelenski on7 February 1888. The Academy is known as the alma mater of the contemporary Polishcomposer Krzysztof Penderecki.
Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts (PWST -Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola Teatralna im. Ludwika Solskiego) Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts was founded in 1946 by a well-known Polish actor, Juliusz Osterwa. Close links to the leading theatres in Kraków contributeto the Academys status. There is a direct correlation between the condition of the citystheatres and the condition of the Academy with staff composed of a fair number of Cracoviantheatre personalities whose views on drama and the teaching methods cover a wide range ofphilosophies. At present the Academy recruits new students for the Actors Faculties inKraków and Wrocław, the Faculty of Play Directing in Kraków, and the Puppet TheatreFaculty in Wrocław. Since 1946 well over a thousand students have graduated from theLudwik Solski Academy, and found employment on theatre stages in Poland and abroad. The Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University Collage (KSW – Krakowska Szkola Wyzsza) The University provides education at the following faculties: law, economy, administration, international relations, political science, management, architecture,computer science, sociology, environment protection, cultural studies,English studies. It co-operates with foreign higher educationinstitutions, organises international conferences and participates in theEuropean programs like CEEPUS, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci etc. Italso conducts cross-cultural and combined research with thecontribution of professors from various countries. The university alsooffers semester-long lectures in foreign languages. Tischner European University (WSE – Wyższa Szkola Europejska)TEU is a young, private and dynamic institution of higher education, founded in 2003. Itoffers BA programmes in Sociology, International Relations, Philology - Applied Linguisticsand Information Technology. There is also the MA programme in International Relations inPolish, and a full time BA programme in International Relations taught in English. Apart fromundergraduate programmes, the TEU Centre for Strategic Development offers a wide range ofpostgraduate non-degree professional studies. Most classes are taughtby prominent Polish academics, who have also taught at manyEuropean and American universities. The university’s internationalcontacts and exchange programmes provide students withconsiderable opportunities for studying abroad. Every year anincreasing number of international students come to TEU to completepart of their studies. The School of Banking and Management in Krakow (WSZiB – wyższa Szkola Zarządzania i Bankowosci) Founded in 1995, the school offers courses in Management, Finance & Accounting, Computer Science and Sociology. It offers also post-graduateprogrammes , courses and training in accordance with the CISCO Academy and MicrosoftAATP curricula. The school holds the Quality Certificate of the Krakow Chamber ofCommerce and Industry and has been entered to their Book of Awards for EntrepreneurialActivities. For many years, in the school rankings of major Polish magazines the school hasbeen ranked top places.
The Krakow School of Business and Commerce (WSH- Wyższa Szkoła Handlowa) The School is a private academic institution, established in 1994. Graduates ofthe Cracow School of Business and Commerce acquire legal, economic and practical skillsnecessary for the management of modern commercial, service and financial establishments.They are equipped with the kind of knowledge which gives them the opportunity tocommence work in public administration and European Union institutions as well as taxinstitutions and in financial audit.The profile of tuition at the Cracow School of Business andCommerce is based on contemporary standards of management studies in leading universitiesof international importance. School of Business – National Louis University in Nowy Sacz (WSB-NLU Wyzsza Szkola Biznesu) Established in 1991, WSB-NLU enjoys excellent reputation, confirmed by its graduates, whose knowledgeand qualifications have been recognized by top employers. The offers courses at fourfaculties: management, computer science, psychology and MBA. WSB-NLU cooperates withnumerous universities all over the world. The cooperation mainly includes exchange ofstudents and lecturers, organization of mutual scientific projects, participation in seminars andacademic meetings, exchange of scientific publications and academic projects.
Cultural lifeIts impossible to mention the word "Cracow" and not say "culture" the same sentence. In thiscity you are absolutely immersed in all of lifes finer things. Cherubs and gargoyles look downfrom almost every ancient palace and townhouse - guarding the endless treasure troves ofeverything cultural. From famous paintings, like Da Vincis "Lady with an Ermine" toEgyptian artefacts, to catacombs which easily break the thousand-year marker, youll findmore culture and history here than in most cities on this planet. When youve satisfied yourmuseum-hunger, move right along to Cracows many galleries. Showcasing the best of the oldas well as the brightest modern stars, youll get more art than you can handle. And lets notforget about the citys own, unique CracowCulture. Theres not many places in the worldwhere "nie kulturalny" (uncultured) survives as a powerful cut-down. Weve prepared an easyto use directory of all of the citys finer things. Perfect for balancing out that"Drink" section!CinemasPoland has a proud tradition in cinema, and figures such as Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanskiand Krzyszstof Kieslowski are counted amongst the most interesting directors of our day.With Cracow being something of a mecca for artists, it should come as little surprise then thatthe city has a passionate interest in film, boasting an annual international shorts festival, and awide variety of cinemas to choose from.It is likely that at any given time you will be able to find a good film being played, whether itis an old classic or a recent blockbuster. The majority of English language films are sub-titled,so there shouldnt be any problems for visitors to the city. Prices are very reasonable, and arearound 15 zloty at weekends but withsignificant reductions at other times.One of the best bets in the Old Town is thegracious ARS complex, which is located in aformer mansion just off the main marketsquare. In the city centre, Kino Kijow is theobvious choice, whilst for a full-onblockbuster experience, MultiKino, a littlefurther out, should do the trick. Spread acrossthe city you will find a number of beguilinglittle filmhouses, (some very ropey butequally full of character!) usually with an artycafй attached. There youll find old classics,experimental shorts or pickings fromEuropean and World Cinema.http://www.cracow-life.com/poland/krakow-cinemasFrom the baroque sweep of its gables down to the gargoyles and Madonnas that peep out ofthe street corners, Cracow is a resoundingly theatrical city. And the Rynek, (the largest marketsquare in Europe) is very much like a great open air stage in itself - a place to really savourthe diversity of life. Many skilful performers (and others less abundantly so), make theirliving on the square, be they mime artists or buskers. This is no novelty, and street artists haveentertained people here since medieval times. The historic and vibrant processions of theRoman Catholic Church, which sometimes take over whole swathes of the Old Town, arethemselves exquisitely honed pieces of performance art. Theatre is in the blood!
If you want to go and see a performance, the majority will of course be in Polish. However, ifyou dont speak the lingo this may not be as big a problem as it sounds. Much experimentaldrama does not involve speaking at all, so you dont need to worry about being left out in thatrespect! This is also the case with the highly popular Groteska theatre which often jettisonslanguage in favour of colour, movement and imagery. Many of their works have a directappeal to children, exploring the worlds of myth and fantasy, and they regularly perform inthe Rynek during the Summer months.If it is opera that you want to see, (which is veryreasonably priced), you will probably already know the famous stories of troubled loveaffairs, and spicy intrigues - they tend to be performed in the original languages. Theseclassics are staged at the magnificent Slowacki Theatre, where you can reserve the box thatwas used by the Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife. And why not indeed!TheatresFrom the baroque sweep of its gables down to the gargoyles and Madonnas that peep out ofthe street corners, Cracow is a resoundingly theatrical city. And the Rynek, (the largest marketsquare in Europe) is very much like a great open air stage in itself - a place to really savourthe diversity of life. Many skillful performers (and others less abundantly so), make theirliving on the square, be they mime artists or buskers. This is no novelty, and street artists haveentertained people here since medieval times. The historic and vibrant processions of theRoman Catholic Church, which sometimes take over whole swathes of the Old Town, arethemselves exquisitely honed pieces ofperformance art. Theatre is in the blood!If you want to go and see a performance, themajority will of course be in Polish. However,if you dont speak the lingo this may not be asbig a problem as it sounds. Muchexperimental drama does not involve speakingat all, so you dont need to worry about beingleft out in that respect! This is also the casewith the highly popular Groteska theatrewhich often jettisons language in favour ofcolour, movement and imagery. Many of theirworks have a direct appeal to children,exploring the worlds of myth and fantasy, andthey regularly perform in the Rynek during the Summer months.If it is opera that you want to see, (which is very reasonably priced), you will probably alreadyknow the famous stories of troubled love affairs, and spicy intrigues - they tend to beperformed in the original languages. These classics are staged at the magnificent SlowackiTheatre, where you can reserve the box that was used by the Habsburg Emperor Franz Josephand his wife. And why not indeed!http://www.cracow-life.com/poland/krakow-theatres
Annual Festivals in Krakow When some people hear the word "festival," they picture sweaty crowds of youngsters listening to music on a huge grassy field, downing brewskies as their favourite rock band plays on a massive stage several hundred metres away. But you wont find any Lollapalooza-like antics in Krakow (or even anything close to the Opener Festival in Gdynia). Instead, youll get a more sophisticated selection of festivities, exposing Krakows cultural depth. But dontworry - even if a festival is celebrating soup in Krakow, the piwo will still be aflowing, andlikely for the whole night! And as for music on massive stages - you dont have to look for afield in the middle of nowhere to catch some big acts - many of them will be playing on giantstages constructed in the middle of the Market Square or on Plac Nowy in Kazimierzthroughout the spring and summer months. So check our list of festivals to see whats goingon when youre here, and be sure to also check our events calendar for more specificinformation.http://www.cracow-life.com/poland/krakow-festivalsMuseumsWhether its Egyptian mummies, Samurai warriors or the indigenous (yet no less exotic!)winged horsemen, all can be tracked down at one or another of Cracows museums. There arealso some fine collections of paintings about town, especially at the National Museum, butyou can also find a few gems in the upstairs gallery of the Cloth Hall.Generally, museums are open every day apart from Mondays, and the great majority offer freeaccess on Sundays. One slight pain though is that throughout the week most shut up shoppromptly at 3 pm, so its worth planning ahead to avoid disappointments.The Old Town is positively choc-a-bloc with museums, ranging from the venerableCzartoryski Museum, Polands oldest foundation of this kind, to the quaint Pharmacy museumon ulica Florianska.Over the river from Wawel Hill, you will find the rather special Manggha Japanese Centre,which was built under the aegis of the film director, Andrzej Wajda. Here you can immerseyourself in oriental style, rounding things off with a cup of green tea and a tremendous viewof the castle. Another short walk from the Old Town, yet still within the City Centre, takesyou to the main branch of the National Museum. Its just around the corner from theJagiellonian University Library, which houses many ancient relics.Kazimierz, the former Jewish district, is also host to some important collections, particularlythe Jewish History museum in the Old Synagogue. There is also a moving museum of theghetto just over the bridge in Podgorze.If youre feeling adventurous dont miss the lovely museum of Young Poland at Rydlowka, itsa little further afield, but for Poles this is a mythic place if ever there was one....http://www.cracow-life.com/poland/krakow-museums
Night lifeKrakow is so rich in pubs, bars,restaurants and clubs that it seems almostimpossible to count them all. Every oldtenement house near the Square Markethas at least one pub. Do not be misled bythe name "pub", as in Krakow it can meanvirtually anything and usually it meanssomething between a pub, nightclub andeven a live music club. They appear to bein every yard, every cellar, behind everywindow and now when the "underground" places are utterly adopted, there are more and moreclubs in private apartments.The Main Market Square in Cracow and its environs have one of the most developed nightlifein Europe. There are over 200 cafes, restaurants and clubs just around it. The parties goes allweek long, but of course the Friday and Saturday nights are the hottest. Everyone is able tofind a place for himself. There is a wide range of different types of clubs that play: jazz, rock,modern pop as well as immortal evergreens. Moreover,Kazimierz district is not worse. Itdevelops very quickly now, and new clubs open frequently, but it still remains more peaceful.Overall, Cracow is one of the most enjoyable destinations you can travel to.Afera Pub ul. Slawkowska 13 Blitz it up at AferaAlchemia ul. Estery 5 One of the hippest hangouts in KazimierzArt Club Bledne Kolo ul. Bracka 4, 1st floor Superior club on the popular ul. BrackaBaccarat ul. Stolarska 13 Luxurious clubbing destinationBoom Bar Rush ul. Golebia 6 Boom, Boom, Boom, let me hear you say ....Cafe Avanti ul. Karmelicka 7 Attractive cafe on KarmelickaCafe Camelot ul. sw. Tomasza 17 English newspapers and fresh coffeeCafe Golebia 3 ul. Golebia 3 Classic Cracow on a sleepy little street Classy cafe with frequent photographyCafe Mlynek Plac Wolnica 7 exhibitionsCamera Cafe ul. Wislna 5 Chocolate delight on WislnaCarpe Diem ul. Marka Classic Cracovian cellar jointCarpe Diem II ul. Slawkowska 6 Take two....Cien Klub ul. Jana 15 House music is in da houseCK Browar ul. Podwale 6-7 A beer hunters delightClub Clu ul. Szeroka 10 Crank it up at Clu
Club Lubu Dubu ul. Wielopole 15 Ip. Cult hangout on Wielopole Legendary student club on the MarketClub Pod Jaszczurami Rynek Glowny 8 SquareClub PRL ul. Garncarska 5 A return to rockin communist timesCoffee Heaven ul. Karmelicka 8 Coffee galore on KarmelickaCoffee Republic ul. Bracka 4 The finest republic in CracowCzekolada ul. Bracka 4 Hot chocolate, cocktails and comfy sofasDekafencja ul. Slawkowska 4 A cafe/pub in true Cracow styleDemmers Teehaus ul. Kanonicza 21 More than just a teahouse - like a homeDrukarnia Podgorze ul. Nadwislanska 1 A legend rebornDym ul. Tomasza 13 Popular, funky hangout near the RynekHeherbata.pl - Tea House ul. Florianska 13 A heavenly assortment of teaEnglish Football Club ul. Mikolajska 5 Dont miss a game! From Cabaret to drumnbass - all in oneFaust Club Rynek Glowny 6 place!Filmowa Cafe al. Krasinskiego 34 Drinks by the Silver ScreenFolia Concept Club Rynek Glowny 30 Great expectationsFrantic ul. Szewska 5 Lively club with regular eventsGoraczka Freak Club ul. Szewska 7 Fever pitch in Cracows Old TownHarris Piano Jazz Bar Rynek Glowny 28 Jazz stalwart on the market squareIndigo ul. Florianska 26 Cellar club with a distinguished pedigreeIrish Arms ul. Poselska 18 The genuine Irish articleIrish Pub ul. Jana 18 Sample the best Guinness in PolandJama Michalika ul. Florianska 45 Art nouveau splendourJazz Rock Cafe ul. Slawkowska 12 Lively student hangout on SlawkowskaKitsch ul. Wielopole 15/4 IIp. Feeling blue? Feel pink!La Habana Pub ul. Miodowa 22 Cuba comes to KazimierzLe Pianka ul. Szeroka 10 Snack Stop on SzerokaLe Scandale Plac Nowy 9 Scandalous style on Plac NowyLes Couleurs ul. Estery 10 A touch of Paris in the heart of Kazimierz
Places to visit in Krakow and nearbyWawelKanonicza, the street usually taken to access thefamous Wawel Hill, is short and fairly narrow.Yet it is one of the most important and ancientstreets of the city; a street whose look has hardlychanged over the centuries - authentic and verymuch alive. Moreover, Kanonicza provides anexample of favourable changes that havecontinued in Krakow in recent years: the complexrestoration of citys heritage and preservationprojects which unveil the citys true beauty layerby layer.A look at a plan of the city shows that the spacecontained by the walls of the castle is similar tothat of the Main Market Square. In the castlesmany chambers, exhibitions that simply cannot bemissed await you: royal chambers and statelyrooms, collections of Oriental art and militarytrophies, collections of Flemish tapestries of amazing beauty, as well as archaeologicalspecimens. They are testimony to more than a millennium of Christianity in Polish Lands. Itwas here, in the Royal Castle, that the monumental exhibition entitled Wawel 1000-2000 wasorganised in the year 2000 to illustrate the development of Polish statehood. Worth visiting inthe castle grounds are the Wawel Cathedral, the Royal Tombs - crypts containing royalsarcophagi, where we walk among Polands entire history, and the massive "Sigismund" Bell,which peals only to commemorate events of the greatest importance to the country and thecity. Half a day is hardly sufficient to see all these even if you hurry.Yet there is more to Wawel than just exhibitions. Even if you were to postpone visiting thecastle until your next, longer visit in Krakow, spend a while in the ring of castle walls late inthe afternoon. The gates are open much longer than the exhibitions, and you will have achance to see the arcaded courtyard of rare beauty, the cathedral, and to look across to theother side of the Vistula River. Here is where the famous Manggha Centre of Japanese Artand Technology stands, housing the Japonica gathered by one of the most famous Europeancollectors, Feliks "Manggha" Jasieński. Having descended to the banks of the river, we cansee the Dragon and the entrance to his den: a favourite destination on family strolls. During St Johns Night (June), this place becomes the stage for the huge open- air event: Wianki - the Floating of the Garlands, continuing an ancient, pagan tradition.
The Main Square - Rynek GłównyThe Main Square (Rynek Główny) is the naturalcentre of Krakow: a stage for various minor andmajor events, a reference point, a meeting place,and the starting point or destination for countlesswalkers. Historically speaking, the Main Squarebegan to operate in a shape and size similar towhat we see today (a square with 200-metre-longsides) already in the earliest days of the CharteredCity, i.e. after the granting of the Great RoyalCharter in 1257. The centrally located Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) has survived to this day; thebuilding was originally a commercial establishment for trading in cloth, and for over a centuryhas been the main seat, and later one of the branches, of the National Museum. Otherbuildings standing to this day in the heart of the Main Market Square include the diminutiveChurch of St Adalbert (also known as Wojciech or Voitek) - a site of important archaeologicaldiscoveries, and the solitary tower - a remnant of the Town Hall demolished in the 19thcentury. In the north-eastern corner of the square stands St Marys Church, frequently referredto as a basilica. With its two slender, spired towers reaching high above the whole city, it isone of Krakows landmarks. The Nuremberg master, Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss) created hismagnum opus here - the monumental High Altar of St Marys - a marvel that attractsthousands of tourists every day.Some Krakow legends and many historic events areclosely linked to the citys Main Square. These includethe bugle call played every full hour from one of thetowers of St Marys, the passage of the Lajkonik - theHobby Horse of Krakow (in June), the Enthronement ofthe Fowler King, and the December competition for themost beautiful Krakow nativity scene (crib). Nearly allthe houses and palaces surrounding the Main Squareare of historical interest, with their histories reachingback centuries. They house the Historical Museum ofthe City of Krakow, the International Cultural Centre,numerous shops, restaurants, and pubs. Imposing facades, splendidly decorated doorways,windows, and roofs of the houses are worth your attention. It is not difficult to find perfectlypreserved interiors and carefully restored architectural elements.The Main Square is a large area for people to meet during summer festivals, concerts, fairs,presentations, and Polands largest New Years Party. Citizens of Krakow frequently meet"pod Adasiem", that is at the foot of the Monument to Adam Mickiewicz, the poet. A longerstay is encouraged by the ring of restaurant and café gardens surrounding the square, which can easily provide a place to rest for several thousand people. Some of them operate from early in the morning into the small hours in the night, nearly all year round, with but a short break during the fiercest frosts. In winter, patrons move to the cellars so characteristic of the centre of Krakow. In these cellars you will often find live music. Krakow has
well deserved the title of the capital city of Polish jazz. Night life and clubbing also thrive here: after all, you are in a city of nearly 130,000 students. Those who begin visiting the city from the Main Square may employ one of Krakows horse-drawn cabs or a melex electric car with a professional audio recording explaining the selected route in the language of your choice. A number of tourist companies offer coaches for visiting both the city and its surroundings. St Marys Tower, also known as the Watch Tower, Wake, Alarm or Bugle Tower, it is the only tower in the world at which a bugle has been played every hour for six hundred years for the entire world to hear. To see and to hear these wonders one must climb 239 steps, to a floor 54 m above ground level. The trumpeter takes just two and a half minutes to ascend the tower but visitors do not need to hurry. At the top they will be heartily greeted by bugle players - members of the fire service, perhaps the last magicians of Krakow...Bugles have always been played from Krakow towers and gates to announce the beginningand the end of the day. Travellers had to stay outside the city walls if they were caught bynight near Krakow and wait until the gates were opened at sunrise.What were the tunes played from the citys towers and the Royal Castle of Wawel? We willnever know. It is only known that the tradition of thebugle call began in the late 14th Century, whenKrakow saw the influx of Hungarians, and queenJawiga, the future wife of king Jagiello was about toascend the throne. It came here and stayed to resoundin Krakows skies forever. It was probably firstplayed by Hungarians, and later, when the guards ofthe Wawel and St Marys were changed, was takenover by the Poles.The higher tower of the Basilica of the Ascension ofthe Holy Virgin Mary has pierced the sky of Krakowfor more than 600 years. It is 81 m tall, topped with a late-Gothic spire and a golden crown. Atiny room 54 m above the level of the Main Square houses literally "the Highest Post" in Poland: the highest meaning the most important one. Indeed it is traditionally believed that all former Polish lands may be seen from here - the white peaks of the Tatras in the south, the smokestacks of Silesia to the west, the towers of Lvov churches in the east and a dark blue line in the north - yes, it is the Baltic sea! St Marys Tower is open for visitors from 3 May until 30 August: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 9 am-11.30 am and 1 pm-5.30 pm. Tickets available at the ticket office of St Marys Church.
Kazimierz Over the last few years, beside the area enclosed by The Planty garden Ring, all maps of the city centre also cover Kazimierz: formerly an independent city and, today, a neighbouring district, easily accessible from Wawel Hill. Every corner of Kazimierz is witness to a very Krakowian tale: the history of Polish Jews. It is visible in the system of narrow streets itself, in the abundance of markets, in the small tenements, synagogues, and kirkuts - Jewish cemeteries. Following the tragedy of the Second World War and the extermination of Jews by Nazi invaders, Kazimierz was deserted and, for decades, continued to fall into a desolate ruin. The changes that took place atthe turn of the 1980s triggered a change that continues to influence the fast-paced growth ofthis part of the city. Having regained their property, heirs of formerinhabitants immediately took to renovation. Today, beautifully restoredbuildings stand in close vicinity of those totally devastated, whose numberluckily continues to diminish.Kazimierz found its way to the silver screen thanks to Steven Spielberg,who came here to shoot Schindlers List (also known as Schindlers Ark), amultiple-Oscar winner. Since the early 1990s, the focus of the world-famousJewish Culture Festival is the history and traditions of the people who oncelived here; with workshops, lectures, and exhibitions. Today, we can safelyclaim that Kazimierz is experiencing a revival and acquiring a new face. The key to the understanding of the popularity that Kazimierz enjoys today is its unbelievable and lasting tolerance: two nations and two great religions existed here for centuries in harmony. It is in Kazimierz that the massive, Gothic churches of St Catherines and Corpus Christi sprung up alongside synagogues. Kazimierz is Krakows centre of artistic and intellectual ferment. It is enough to mention the famous Łaźnia Theatre, which took its innovative projects to Kazimierz. The cafés, clubs, and galleries recently opened here in great numbers attract all those who find the Main Market Square and its close vicinity "too touristy". Everyone discovers their own aspect of the charmingly unique Kazimierz. Neighbours of exclusive hotels and classy restaurants include craftsmensworkshops: leatherworkers, shoemakers, and engravers. Places of religious worship standalongside places that have recently acquired "cult" status. To experience this, simply take awalk near Plac Nowy, along ul. Miodowa and ul. Podbrzezie, and visit ul. Szeroka, where theClosing of Jewish Culture Festival - an open-air concert lasting into the small hours of themorning - is held every year.Having crossed the Vistula River into the districtof Podgórze, we enter places that, during theSecond World War, witnessed the Holocaust thatthe Nazis brought upon the Jewish people ofKrakow: Plac Bohaterów Getta, Pharmacy Underthe Eagle, and the remnants of Płaszówconcentration camp.
Nearby KrakowWieliczka Salt MineThe idea of a fun trip to a salt mine may sound a littledubious. And as you head out through the suburbsyou may wonder just why you are leaving the gloriesof the city behind. However, it is not just the antiquityof these mines that makes them worth the trip (thingsgot fully underway here as early as the thirteenth century), they are also home to one of thewonders of Poland. This is the chapel of the Blessed Kinga, which to all intents and purposes is a full blown church, the only difference being that it is 200 metres undergound, and carved entirely from salt, (including the chandeliers that hang from the ceiling). It is a quite astounding sight, and all the more so as it was carved not by an outsider, but by a group of gifted miners themselves. Entering the mines involves a long descent by stairwell, and it feels very much like a Jules Verne Journey to the Centre of the Earth type adventure. The chapel of the Blessed Kinga is the undoubted show-stopper, yet it is only one ofseveral attractions. There are a handful more smaller chapels, including the seventeenthcentury chapel of St. Anthony, and a huge underground salt lake. If Tolkien had seen thisplace he would probably have got down on his kneesand kissed the salty ground. Venerable guests such asGoethe and Emperor Franz Josef were themselvessuitably impressed. All tours are guided, which meansthat sometimes you cannot linger in the morecaptivating rooms for as long as you might like.However, if you have more than two nights in theKrakow, or bad weather strikes, the mines make a veryworthwhile trip.Getting to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakowshouldnt prove too difficult or expensive. Regularbuses run from the top of Starowislna Street oppositethe Main Post Office, taking around forty minutes to get there. Be warned that buses are alittle cramped and we advise you check departure details at one of Krakows touristinformation offices as these routes chop and change quite a bit. Youre best asking a friendlyPole where to get off too, as this is a public bus not a tourist service. If you dont fancy taking your chances on the public transport of fair Poland, then booking your transport with our friends at Krakow-tours.com takes all the headache away from your salt mines adventure for just a few extra zloty.
Auschwitz Concentration CampAuschwitz was the largest of Nazi Germanysconcentration camps and extermination camps,established in Nazi German occupied Poland. Thecamp took its German name from the nearby Polishtown of Oświęcim. Birkenau, the German translationof Brzezinka (birch tree), refers to a small Polishvillage nearby which later was mostly destroyed bythe Germans. Following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Oświęcim was annexed by Nazi Germany and renamed Auschwitz, the towns German name. The camp commandant, Rudolf Höss, testified at the Nuremberg Trials that up to 3 million people had died at Auschwitz. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum has revised this figure to 1.1 million, about 90% of whom were Jews from almost every country in Europe. Most victims were killed in Auschwitz IIs gas chambers using Zyklon B; other deaths were caused by systematic starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and purported "medical experiments". In 1947, in remembrance of the victims, Poland founded a museum at the site of the first two camps. By 1994, some 22 million visitors - 700,000 annually -had passed through the iron gate crowned with the motto"Arbeit macht frei (Work brings freedom)". The anniversaryof the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops on January27, 1945 is celebrated on International HolocaustRemembrance Day, Holocaust Memorial Day in the UnitedKingdom, and other similar memorial days in variouscountries.
Tatra MountainsTatra National Park is a National Park located in the Tatramountains in the Małopolska Region in southern Poland,bordering Slovakia. It was created in 1954 on an area of215.56 km², but it is currently slightly smaller, at 211.64km2 (81.71 sq mi). Of this, 151.91 km² is forest and theremainder mainly meadows. Strictly protected zonesaccount for 115.14 km², of which 61.49 km² are forestecosystems.The Park has its headquarters in the town of Zakopane. There is also a similar national parkon the Slovakian side of the border, called Tatranský národný park.The first calls for protection of the Tatras came at the end of the 19th century. In 1925 the firstefforts to create a national park, in cooperation with Slovakia, took place. Formally the parkwas created in 1937, on an area that belonged to the state forests authority. In 1947, a separateadministrative unit, Tatra Park, was created. And in 1954, by decision of the PolishGovernment, Tatra National Park was created. In 1992, the Polish and Slovakian nationalparks in the Tatras were jointly designated a transboundary biosphere reserve by UNESCOunder its Man and the Biosphereprogramme.
Ojcow National ParkIt may be, with its area of mere 21.5 sq.kilometers, the smallest of Poland’s twentynational parks but the Ojcow National Park(Ojcowski Park Narodowy in Polish) ranksamong the most attractive recreational areas inthe country, and it is just a 15 minutes’ drive –or 24 kilometers – northwest of centralKrakow (road 794 via Zielonki to the town ofSkala, right turn to road 773 to the PieskowaSkala castle). Few national parks in the world can boast so many picturesque and worthy architectural monuments as the Ojcow’s one has within its limits. This and the most scenic landscape with an abundance of many-shaped limestone rocks – some tall for fifty meters or more – such as the park’s trademark 25-m-tall ‘Hercules’ Bludgeon’, rather than wildlife bring in here roughly 400,000 visitors a year. Most of them comes between mid April and mid November. Also numerous caves, often easily accessible, prove to be a magnet for many.
In other parts of Poland:Gdańskis the city at the centre of the fourth-largestmetropolitan area in Poland. It is Polandsprincipal seaport as well as the capital of thePomeranian Voivodeship. It is alsohistorically the largest city of the Kashubianregion. The city is close to the formerboundary between West Slavic and Germaniclands and it has a complex political historywith long spells of Polish rule interspersedwith periods of German control and two spellsas a free city. For much of its history themajority of its inhabitants were German-speakers who referred to their city as Danzig, but after World War II it again became part ofPoland.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with thespa town of Sopot, the city of Gdynia and suburban communities, which together form ametropolitan area called the Tricity, with a population of over 800,000. Gdańsk itself has apopulation of 458,053 (2006), making it the largest city in the Pomerania region of NorthernPoland.Gdańsk is situated at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch inthe delta of the nearby Vistula River, whose waterway system supplies 60% of the area ofPoland and connects Gdańsk to the national capital in Warsaw. This gives the city a unique advantage as the center of Polands sea trade. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdańsk is also an important industrial center. Historically an important seaport and shipbuilding center, Gdańsk was a member of the Hanseatic League. The city was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, under the leadership of Gdańsk political activist Lech Wałęsa, played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule across Central Europe. It is also the home and birthplace of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is of Kashubian origin.PoznanPoznań is a city in west-central Poland withover 567,882 inhabitants (2006). Located on theWarta River, it is one of the oldest cities inPoland, making it an important historical centreand a vibrant centre of trade, industry, andeducation. Poznań is Polands fifth largest cityand fourth biggest industrial centre. It is also the
administrative capital of the Greater Poland Voivodeship. Poznańs cathedral is the oldest in the country, containing the tombs of the first Polish rulers:Duke Mieszko I, King Boleslaus the Brave, King Mieszko II, Duke Casimir I the Restorer, Duke Przemysł I, and King Przemysł II. Poznań was the host city for the United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place in December 2008. The conference was a key event in the creation of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Poznań has The Royal-Imperial Route in Poznań —a tourist walk running through the most important parts of the cityshowing the history, culture and identity of the city. Wroclaw Wrocław is the chief city of the historical region of Lower Silesia in south-western Poland, situated on the Oder river. Over the centuries the city has been part of Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, and Germany. In 1945, the city became part of Poland following the Potsdam Agreement.Since 1999 it has been the capital of Lower SilesianVoivodeship. According to official population figures for2006, its population is 635,280, making it the fourthlargest city in Poland.ToruńTouń is a city in northern Poland, on the Vistula River, with population over 207,190 as of2006, making it the second-largest city of Kujawy-Pomerania Province, after Bydgoszcz. Themedieval old town of Toruń is the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. In 1997 it was inscribedonto UNESCOs World Heritage List as a World HeritageSite.Previously it was the capital of Toruń Voivodeship (1975-98)and Pomeranian Voivodeship (1921-45). Since 1999, Toruńhas been a seat of the self-government of Kujawy-Pomerania
Province and, as such, one of its two capitals(together with Bydgoszcz). The cities andneighboring counties form the Bydgoszcz-Toruń bipolar metropolitan area. In September2004, Bydgoszcz Medical School joinedToruńs Nicolaus Copernicus University as itsCollegium Medicum.WarsawWarsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River roughly 370kilometers from both the Baltic Sea coast and the Carpathian Mountains. Its population as of2007 was estimated at 1,706,624, and the Warsaw metropolitan area at approximately
2,785,000 The city area is 516.9 squarekilometers (199.6 sq mi), with an agglomerationof 6,100.43 square kilometers (2,355.4 sq mi).Warsaw is the 8th largest city in the EuropeanUnion.Warszawianka (1831) is widely considered theunofficial anthem of the Capital City ofWarsaw. On November 9, 1940 the City ofWarsaw was awarded with the highest militarydecoration for courage in the face of the enemy - Order Virtuti Militari for the heroic defensein 1939. Warsaw is also known as the "phoenix city", as it was completely destroyed during World War II, and rebuilt with the heroic effort of Polish citizens. Warsaw has given its name to the Warsaw Confederation, Warsaw Pact, Warsaw Convention, Treaty of Warsaw and the Warsaw Uprising.Mazury lakesMasuria and the Masurian Lakeland are known inPolish as Kraina Tysiąca Jezior and in German as Landder Tausend Seen, meaning "land of a thousand lakes."These lakes were ground out of the land by glaciersduring the Pleistocene ice age, when ice coverednortheastern Europe. By 10,000 BC this ice started to melt. Great geological changes tookplace and even in the last 500 years the maps showing the lagoons and peninsulas on theBaltic Sea have greatly altered in appearance. As in other parts of northern Poland, such asfrom Pomerania on the Oder River to the Vistula River, this continuous stretch of lakes is popular among tourists.
You can find us on:www.myaiesec.netwww.krakow.aiesec.plwww.traineesinkrakow.blogspot.comAIESEC Executive Board Contacts:LCP: Przemysław Kadula firstname.lastname@example.orgLCVP ER: Wojciech Niestrój email@example.comLCVP Finance, ICX DT, OGX: Agnieszka Grzechnik firstname.lastname@example.orgLCVP TM: Filip Kwiatkowski email@example.comLCVP ICX MT/TT: Dawid Bychawski firstname.lastname@example.orgAIESEC in PolandLocal Committee KrakowRakowicka 2731-510 Krakowphone: +48 12 293 53 78, +48 12 293 56 78fax: (+48 12) 293 50 17 (attn. AIESEC)
Prepared by: Reception Booklet Prepared by: Marek Koczynski LC Krakow Tanya Otonova LC Sofia UNWE (Bulgaria) Anna Soloid LC Odessa (Ukraine)