Krakow Neighbourhoods, Locations and Districts
(Krakow, Malopolskie, Poland)
Broadly divided into three main districts, it is the Stare Miasto (Old Town) area of Krakow that holds the greatest interest for tourists, being filled with an array of charming neighbourhoods and market squares. Old Town Krakow has slowly evolved over the centuries, being first laid out in the mid-13th century and surviving virtually intact today.
For many years, Kazimierz was actually a small town before being engulfed by the spreading city of Krakow and becoming one of its most significant districts. Particularly famous in the neighbourhood of Wawel is the Wawel Dragon itself, a legendary creature believed to live beneath the hill and an important part of Polish folklore. The main locations are explained in greater detail below.
Located on the western banks of the River Vistula and encompassing many of Krakow's top sights, the Wawel district (pronounced 'vah-vel') is steeped in history. Remains within Wawel show that this neighbourhood was first settled as far back as the 4th century and is today home to a variety of famous Krakow landmarks, such as the Royal Castle (Zamek Wawelski) and Wawel Cathedral, both of which reside on Wawel Hill itself.
Old Town District (Stare Miasto)
The Old Town district is better known in Krakow as the 'Stare Miasto' and for many is the reason that they choose to visit this beautiful Polish city. Within the Old Town you will come upon countless historical buildings and market squares, along with a surrounding greenbelt of parklands. The truly spectacular medieval Krakow Market Square of Rynek Glówny dominates much of Old Town Krakow and is actually the biggest town square of its kind in the whole of Europe, dating back as far as the 13th century. Around the Rynek Glówny are many instantly recognisable buildings, such as St. Mary's Basilica, the Town Hall Tower and the Sukiennice Hall, which was once a hub of international trade in the 15th century and resembles a palace in its appearance.
Kazimierz lies on the south-easterly side of the Old City and also represents a historic Jewish Quarter. This district is especially famous for being the main film location for Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning blockbuster, Schindler's List, which was shot in Kazimierz during 1993. In the 1880s, the neighbourhood's very last bridge was dismantled, when the adjacent stretch of the River Vistula was filled in, next to Stradom Street. Historical highlights in this part of Krakow include a series of grand Jewish synagogues, which are clustered along the Ulica Szeroka Street and close to the Kazimierz Market Square (Plac Wolnica). Many students flock to the trendy pubs and bars around the New Square (Plac Nowy), which is also known for its nightlife and cheap eateries.