KRAKOW, Poland -- Although Krakow sports an endless list of
attractions, some essential highlights include:
Wawel: Poland's Westminster and Windsor rolled in one, this
flowery hilltop complex features a 700-year-old cathedral, complete
with museum, crypt and set of "dragon's bones"; what's said to be
the finest Renaissance courtyard north of the Alps, and the cave
lair of said dragon, reputedly slain by pre-Christian city founder
On a New Age note, Wawel ("VAH-vel") is revered as one of the
world's seven sacred chakras or energy points. Check online at www.wawel.krakow.pl.
Rynek Glowny ("RIH-neck GWOOV-nih"): The Old Town square, laid
out in 1257, boasts St. Mary's Basilica and its famed wooden
altarpiece; the Renaissance Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), now home to
souvenir shops, and the 14th century, 320-foot Town Hall tower.
Wieliczka ("V'yeh-LEECH-kah"): This salt mine, in use since the
1400s, offers walking tours of subterranean lakes and ornate
chambers, including several chapels and a church, carved entirely
of salt, at depths of up to 450 feet.
Group and individual tours in English are available; open April
16 to Oct. 15. Visit www.muzeum.wieliczka.pl.
Czartoryski Museum: One of eight local branches of the National
Museum, the Czartoryski ("Char-toe-RIH-skee") features ancient and
Asian art; Polish arms and war booty, and masterpieces such as Da
Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine." Located at ul. Sw. Jana 19.
Mounds: Pagan-era and modern-day manmade hills commemorate
Polish heroes, both legendary ("Wanda," in Nowa Huta, or "Krakus,"
in Podgorze) and historic ("Kosciuszko," in Zwierzyniec, or
"Pilsudski," in Las Wolski) with spectacular views.
-- Kenneth Kiesnoski