The legendary city of legends: KRAKOW
The first Polish city I visited was Warsaw, and Krakow became the second.
Krakow and Warsaw – how much they have in common. Two capitals – one former, the other current. Two of the Royal city, and in one and in another there is a Royal road, the castle, the old town and the Barbican. Both are situated on the Vistula. Unites them this? No, on the contrary! Residents of Krakow and Warsaw do not like each other. But that does not stop us to fall in love with Krakow and Warsaw with equal force!
Krakow is an ancient city, the first mention of him dates from the year 965.
My mom wanted to visit Krakow, so it was here we got out in may 2003 on an excursion with the whole family. (Later, Sasha and I visited here for the second time – this time in the autumn, in November 2005, and stayed here in transit on the way from Prague to Kiev.)
Our group settled in a beautiful new hotel, but its name I do not remember – the more surprised us the street name where the hotel was: “Horror, Mogilskie”. Sounds pretty gloomy, especially in combination with the solitude of the place! It is actually due to an old legend. Once upon a time in a girl Wanda (the daughter of the founder of the city of Prince Krak) fell in love with namenkiezer Ridiger and, seeking for her hand was going to seize the power of Krakow. The inhabitants of the city managed to defend himself, but Wanda, to continue this never happen again, rushed into the river and died. On the spot where they found her body, was covered by a mound (presumably the period of its creation – the VII-VIII century) and the neighbouring village is called Grave. Over time the Grave became part of kraków, and the names of the streets have retained the former belonging to the village. Thus, as it turned out, we settled in a historic place not far from the Wanda’s mound. The height of this mound is 14 meters, the diameter at the base about 50 meters and on the top of the hill there is a marble monument by Jan Matejko. All this I read when I got back home, so Kurgan, unfortunately, we did not visit.
In General Krakow is like no other city, filled with the legends – they lurk at every step. About them books are written, their motives are filmed, and the researchers are trying to separate “the wheat from the chaff” – to identify where the truth lies where. Well, the smoke without fire does not happen, some genuine historical events really lie at the heart of these tales, but despite the names in the legends, they still should be treated as fictional stories. But they are no less interesting – on the contrary, there is a feeling in the current tale! And the tale cannot be read until the end – all of the Krakow legends not to remember and retell.
Krakow is the third largest city in Poland, although the number of historical and cultural values it undoubtedly occupies the first place. Despite the relatively large area of the city, all major attractions are concentrated compactly in a small area – within the Old town.
The program starts in the morning. The classic tourist route of Krakow – the Royal way, going to walk through it. The bus drops us at the traditional gathering place of excursions – on the Matejko square, because it is located directly in front of the entrance to the Old city. Once this square was a Market square in the small neighbouring town of Krakow Kleparz, Krakow time engulfed him, and other similar places.
And here we are on the Matejko square. Jan Matejko – the famous Polish artist, author of historical paintings, which depict important for Poland event. But the monument located here is dedicated not to him, but rather one of his works – “the battle of Grunwald”. The painting is nearly 9 feet wide, and is kept in the National Museum in Warsaw. And the battle took place in 1410 near the village of Grunwald, Polish-Lithuanian army won in it a victory over the army of the Teutonic order – this is one of the most important moments in the history of Poland and Lithuania. The monument depicts the rider on the horse of king Wladyslaw Jagiello, below is the Lithuanian Prince Witold, at his feet prostrate prostrate leader of the Crusaders Ulrich von Jungingen. The monument was erected in 1910 but destroyed by the Germans during the Second world war, again a place he won here in 1975.
Nearby you can see St. Florian’s Church of the XIV century. According to the legend, its existence owed to his oxen: when the Saint’s relics on a wagon ride to the city, it is here that the stubborn animal stood up and refused to budge until the king and the Bishop promised to supply the Church here.
A walk through its old quarter begins, as in Warsaw, with guard strengthening in front of the ramparts of the Barbican. It was built in 1499, has a three-meter thick walls, to observe the enemy and there are 130 loopholes of the towers and 7.
In the Barbican we are waiting for the next legend: in 1768, the city was defended against the Russian troops, and the defenders run out of ammo. Then a Marcin Orucevic loaded rifle button from the garment, shot and hit the head of the leader of the Russians Colonel Panin – without their leader, the troops retreated, and the battle was won by poles.
Now inside the Barbican there is an exhibition telling about its history, and sometimes in the summer there are theatrical performances.
Behind the Barbican is located panky – directly old defensive walls of the city (once they are connected to the Barbican by a bridge), now there is only a small fragment. The wall began to dismantle about 1810 on the initiative of the Austrian authorities, who at that time owned this part of Poland. Preserved area – the merit scholars of the city, in particular Professor Felix Radwanska. He claimed the walls were detained often blowing North wind, than protected the wives of the higher authorities from the cold and colds. This argument is a trick we can admire the fortifications, along which artists now exhibit their work, forming a art gallery. The same location of the demolished walls can be easily tracked: it is marked by the stone path, and at locations where previously guard towers, pedestals installed.
The rest of the walls that we see is the internal number of the whole complex of fortifications in the middle ages there also existed a number of external low – predmore, as well as a moat. In their place now laid out boulevards and parks Planty, the first trees were planted here in 1819, and thus the Old town is dilapidated and unsightly walls of the ditch was surrounded by a green ring with a length of about 4 kilometers.
We enter the Old town through the Florian gate – one of four surviving towers of the city fortifications. In addition to her “survived” the tower of Poselentsev Stolarski and Tesinska. All in all, the XVIII century the city walls had 47 towers and 7 gates. At night the gates to the city locked gratings.
Florian’s gate tower was built in the early fourteenth century and has a height of 34.5 meters. Here begins the Royal way – through these gates to enter the city tuples monarchs and ambassadors. From the side of the Barbican gate are decorated with armorial shield with the eagle of the Royal family of Piast, which later became the emblem of the Polish state. From the side of the tower fortified bas-relief of St. Florian, one of the patron saints of Krakow. This figure was established by Prince Vladislav Czartoryski in 1889. In life, Saint Florian once managed to extinguish the fire with a single jug of water, so he is the patron Saint of firefighters and is portrayed as a rule, pouring water from a small vessel.