In the European Union, the will of fate, I was so far only twice with an interval of a month. The first time I visited Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria. In the second - Romania. And I want to start with the first of the country and first visited the city. So, in this series of Krakow and Poland. All 2 trips were made in the summer of 2009. So, Krakow.
But first, a little about Poland itself.
The Republic of Poland (the floor. Rzeczpospolita Polska) - a country in Eastern Europe. Member of the UN, the EU and NATO. Capital - Warsaw (in which I was passing through, the city has made depressing). Area of the country - 312 679 km². Washed by the Baltic Sea in the north-west. A population of about 38 million people. The first thing that surprised by crossing the border - types of local "vesey" - villages. See and think we would have to live like this. While recalling the Russian and Ukrainian villages start to think that much of the village in Belarus presentable look.
Yes ... this village. Wooden houses disappear after 20 departure from the border. No one no gardens and greenhouses. Flowers, lawns, sculptures, barbecues - everything! Greenhouse I saw only 1 (!) Times during the road 20 kilometers from the border of the Republic of Belarus - the Republic of Poland to the border with Slovakia.
State of small towns is an easy envy.
I must say that to Poland I do not indifferent. I know well their language (which is the most learned after visiting Poland in 2009), and therefore very well versed in their way of life and miroutroystve. People in Poland devout, but with a significant share of snobbery. Piety, however, the representatives of the younger generation is much lower. Poland - monoreligioznoe state. More than 90% of the population - Catholics. Such a high percentage of believers of one confession can boast only Italy (and there is also Catholicism). Orthodoxy in Poland rasproneno, mainly in the northeast, in Podlasie, where there were always many Belarusians. If anyone is interested to know more about the way of life in Poland - ask in the comments. It is a pity that the possibility of more frequent visits to this country I do not have. Well, now about the Krakow. Krakow - the capital of Malopolska province. The city's population is about 750 000 people. City, due to the negative migration balance, constantly divides the two largest population with Lodz, where there is the same problem. The city produces a very powerful impression. I am not an expert on Polish history, because only a few moments to stipulate. Krakow - the second historic capital after Gnёzno. Was that of 1320 to 1596, when the capital of Poland, Warsaw was. Legends about the foundation of Krakow complete. There once was a prince named Krak, who saved people from all suggestive horror dragon. Other legends say that it made his sons Lech 2 and Krak 2. A Lech revenge after the killing of his brother. The statue of the dragon encounters when entering the Krakow Wawel Castle.
Dragons in Krakow long gone. As correctly noted, our tour guide, was once, yes, they say, the last recently moved to Warsaw and now sit in the Diet. Entrance to the complex is very decent.
Himself Wawel - interesting castle complex, which are intertwined into one set of architectural styles: the Romanesque, Gothic and, and Renaissance and Baroque.
Very beautiful Renaissance courtyard of Wawel citadel. Luxury bunk arcade, elegant balustrades and balconies. Over the walls of the castle stands the famous Barbican (in the Middle Ages barbacans built at the entrance to the castle to increase soprotivlencheskogo potential. Always have a circular shape.)
If you walk from the Wawel Castle in the Old Town - meets equestrian statue. I do not remember, after whom this monument. But the face is very similar to our national hero - Tadeusz Kosciuszko. I would venture to suggest that a monument to him.
Old town is very safe and interesting. There preserve the rich seam of urban art of medieval Europe (do not forget that when Krakow in 1320 became the capital of the Kingdom of Poland was adopted regular layout of the city, one of the first in the world. By the way, many Belarusian cities received a regular layout only after the partitions of Commonwealth).
Of course, the absence of such a pity beauties in the homeland, but what to do. But has its beauty, who appreciate the Poles (I once met in Minsk Poles talking. I told them that is very, very enthusiastic Krakow, his cobblestone streets, churches, atmosphere. What they told me: "Oh, what are you, this city, we can not bear. Narrowly not drive or pass closely. What a difference you: baggy clean streets, houses like palaces, and if necessary, we can feel yourself at home (meaning in this case, a visit to Trinity suburb and the Upper Town). "As you can see, to each his own, well, where we do not).
Very nice iezutsky church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, as I suggested in the comments correctly. It is located on the front street of the Old Krakow Grodzkiej. Although in my opinion, a street connecting the main square with the Wawel Castle or fit to be called the Royal.
Temple - a typical Jesuit basilica built in the likeness of the Roman Church of the Gesù. We have the most well-known such projects - Fara in Grodno (yes, look. The towers were added in the 1750s. And so - a typical Church of the Gesù) and the Catholic church in Nesvizh. Grodzka Street, of course, is impressive in itself.
And here is the main square of Krakow - Market. Is one of the largest squares in Europe. Is the square of 200x200 meters, which are in the middle of a shopping arcade - Cloth Hall.
Though of course, the area is dominated by St. Mary's Church. Gothic. 14th century. Gothic, however, peculiar. Very strongly feel the influence of Eastern European school of architecture. Flamboyant Gothic - a masterpiece of human genius (in my vzlyad, of course, to Krakow is not reached. In general, the most eastern of the country where there is a Flamboyant Gothic - the Czech Republic and Austria).
Legends why one tower above the other and why each hour plays out the window upstairs trumpeter, I retell laziness))) The interior of the church chic. Wooden carved altar made famous master Wit Stwosz.
Stained glass in the church luxurious and impressive stellate vaults. Catholic church a bit like our Red Church. Only one was built here in the 14th century, and the other - 20.
Near the entrance to the church - a monument to Adam Mickiewicz (pinpoint its appliances can not. All draw it yourself. We - because he had a Belarusian name Miscavige and he was born in Novogrudok, Lithuanians - because he wrote: "Oh, Lithuania, My Motherland" Poles - because he wrote in Polish and mentally as a whole was Polonized).
By the way, no less gorgeous church is located in a complex of Wawel Castle. In the catholic church from 1320 to 1762 was conducted kornatsiya kings of the Kingdom of Poland. But, unfortunately, you can not shoot there. Inside the chic sculptures, all carved, solid curls on the walls - a rich collection of tapestries. The very same market area is very interesting, except for one BUT:
All Kamenica authentic, neat. And then on to you: one building hung with ugly advertising. As can be seen, the building is not on the restoration, through an advertisement on the right side appear the Rust sandriks and trim on the windows. And where overcame UNESCO (which in 1978 announced Old Krakow monument of international importance and has taken under his protection) ?! For example, in the same area another of the same case. But as a billboard visible film. A building in the distance on the same side of the square again boarded the billboard. but repair both clear no. The building is in excellent condition.
The market is also the tower of the Old Town Hall.
At the foot of which is a statue of the head.
In Krakow, as do so many churches for every taste. In general, a lot of noticeable vivid detail.
Catholic church of St. Andrew.
On this, perhaps, about Poland and Krakow about everything. Thank you for your attention.