Today We bring you to … Krakow
Second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world.
Here you can find the largest square in Europe Rynek Główny (Grand Square/Main Market), with its Cathedrals and the The Cloth Hall., where during Medieval time people used to sell cloth, amber, leather and iron.
The main Cathedral of the Rynek Główny is Saint Mary’s Cathedral. The hejnał melody ( St. Mary’s Trumpet Call )is played every hour (day and night). It is played by a trumpeter on the highest tower of the Saint Mary’s Church. According to a popular 20th-century legend, during a Mongol invasion of Poland (the invasion usually cited is that of 1241), Mongol troops approached Kraków. A sentry on a tower of St Mary’s Church sounded the alarm by playing the Hejnał, and the city gates were closed before the Tatars could ambush the city. The trumpeter, however, was shot in the throat and did not complete the anthem, and this is the legendary reason as to why performances end suddenly before completion.
Another legend linked to the city of Krakow is the one of the Dragon of the Wawel Hill. The most popular, fairytale version of the Wawel Dragon tale takes place in Kraków during the reign of King Krakus, the city’s legendary founder. Each day the evil dragon would beat a path of destruction across the countryside, killing the civilians, pillaging their homes, and devouring their livestock. In many versions of the story, the dragon especially enjoyed eating young maidens. Great warriors from near and far fought for the prize and failed. Skuba, a cobbler’s apprentice accepted the challenge. He stuffed a lamb with sulphur and set it outside the dragon’s cave. The dragon ate it and became so thirsty, it turned to the Vistula River and drank until it burst. The cobbler married the King’s daughter as promised, and founded the city of Kraków. It is possible to see an iron statue of the fire-breathing dragon at the foot the Wawel Castle.
After the dragon’s defeat, the polish king decided to build his Castle on the the top of hill. The wawel castle had been the polish royal family’s residence. The current castle was built in the 14th-century, and expanded over the next hundreds of years. In 1978 Wawel was declared the first World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Centre of Kraków. Wawel Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums.
Pierogi-like dumplings are popular in most Central and Eastern European countries as well as in Ashkenazi Jewish, Ukrainian Mennonites and modern-day American cuisines, where they are known under their local names.Typical fillings include potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, cottage cheese (farmers cheese), mushroom, and fruits. The dumplings may be served with a topping, such as melted butter, sour cream, fried onion, pork rind or cream sauce, called schmaunt fat.
Art quick info:
Painted in oil on walnut panel, it is housed in the Czartoryski Museum and is one of Poland’s national treasures.
This work in particular shows Leonardo’s expertise in painting the human form. Cecelia’s outstretched hand was painted in great detail, with every contour of each fingernail, each wrinkle around his knuckles, and even the flexing of the tendon in her bent finger.
Developed over many centuries, Kraków provides a showcase setting for many historic styles of architecture. It is for this reason that the variations in style and urban planning are so easily recognizable here.
See you for the next city, bring your luggage …
Thanks to Alessandra for the suggestion and the files