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Krakow Travel Guide

Krakow is the second largest city of Poland. Dated back to the 7th century, Krakow is one of the Poland's oldest cities. Located on the Vistula River, Krakow has been one of the leading point of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic proportions. Krakow has been Poland's capital from 1038 to 1596 until the recent years it has been the capital Polish provinces from 1846 to 1999. Currently, Krakow is now the capital of Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

The city of Krakow has a population of 755,000, making it the second largest city in Poland. According to the 1931 census, about 78% of the Cracovians (referred to as people living in Krakow) have Polish as their primary language, followed by Yiddish or Hebrew at about 21%. The percentage ethnic minorities are low for most of the people refuse to declare their national identity.

Since the upland part of Krakow is located at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, this city experiences a temperate climate where summer is mild and relative while winter is relatively cold that the temperature often drops below freezing point especially at night. The average January temperature is 28 degrees F (-2 degrees C) and the average July temperature is 63 degrees F (17 degrees C). The city receives an average number of 186 days for its precipitation.

Krakow welcomes seven million visitors a year, despite being named as Poland's unofficial cultural capital. The Old City of Krakow is where the historical journey of Krakow begins. This is the first target for most tourists because of unique landmarks and also visitor accommodations. The Main Market Square is the main square in Old Town. Dated back in 13th century, the Main Market Square is the largest medieval town square in Europe. The square was destroyed in 1241 during the Mongol invasion and was rebuilt in 1257.

In the center of the Main Market Square, the Sukiennice is Krakow's most recognizable icons. Known as the Draper's Hall, it was once the center of international trade where merchants travel to Krakow to discuss business and barter. Sukienniece was the source of different exotic imports from the East, particularly spices and silk.

The Wawel Castle is a Gothic architectural structure that used to seat the ancient Kings of Poland. It has now become a national museum after it was ravaged during World War II. The Wawel Castle has a Crown treasury located in one of the Gothic rooms used for storing the Polish coronation insignia and the Crown Jewels dated back from the 15th century. Some memorabilia of Polish monarch and the coronation sword called Szczerbiec are also stored at the Crown Treasury.

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