Polish Cities which you should visit during your Tour of Poland

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Krakow, Gdansk, Warsaw cannot be omitted in your tourist route through Poland…

If you go to Poland as a tourist you must visit Krakow (Cracow), the previous capital of Poland. Krakow has wonderful old town with the beautiful Market Square, Royal Castle Wawel, old buildings of Jagiellonian University and the old Jewish district - Kazimierz. Check links and articles about regions and cities in Poland with beautiful photographs, the legend of the Wawel's dragon and dragon parade.

Krakow's surroundings are also beautiful with the famous salt mine Wieliczka and picturesque limestone landscape with castles called The Eagle Nests Trail. About 100 km south from Krakow, on the boarder with Slovakia lies the hightest chain of Karpathian - the granite Tatra mountains with interesting folklore of Polish mountaineers. Check the links to Polish mountains.

The other town worth to visit is Gdansk (Danzig) . Gdansk was developed as an important Baltic port near the mouth of the Vistula River. Gdansk is a city of many cultures, especially Polish and German (it was founded by Germans). Gdansk has a wonderful old town with an old Gothic City Hall, Gothic churches, old water mill and silos and wonderful old city houses. It was an important Hanseatic City. Gdansk forms a metroplex with two other cities: Gdynia and Sopot. South from Gdansk is Malbork (Marienburg, Marlborg) - the biggest fortress of Teutonic Knights. Marlbork is a site of the biggest medieval castle in Europe. It was built as a seat of the Great Master of the Teutonic Order. Try to solve a jigsaw puzzle which presents the homage of grand teutonic master Albert to the Polish king.

You have to see Warsaw - Polish capital of course. The reason why I did not mention Warsaw on the first place is simple. Warsaw was almost completely destroyed in the course of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The residents of Warsaw bravely defended their town and Polish suvereignty against Germans and Soviets, but the price tremendous, read more about it in the article The Battle of Warsaw. So Warsaw does not have good preserved historical objects like Krakow or Gdansk have, still many historical objects were built since scratch - like a Royal Castle. Warsaw became a capital in 1596 and this role stimulated its development. Warsaw is a center of Polish political and business life. Near Warsaw lies Zelazowa Wola where Chopin was born.
The other cities which you should see:

Poznan, the capital of Wielkopolska (Big Poland) region and a place of many trade fairs. Near Poznan is located Gniezno (it means: nest), the first Polish capital.

Czestochowa, town with Black Madonna shrine, place of many pilgrimages.

Zamosc, one of few good preserved Renaissance towns in Europe.

Oswiecim (Auschwitz) - an industrial town with the remains of the biggest concentration camp in Europe from the WW II. Check the article Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp - Advice from a Tour Guide.

Torun - old town with old university. Place of birth of Nicolaus Copernicus.

Of course there are many more interesting towns worth to see which I could even mention in this short article. Check travel articles, travel links and regions links.

Your choice what you see would depend on what are your priorities. If you would like to focus on the Polish history - you should visit Krakow and Gniezno if you want to see the centers of Polish culture you should see Krakow, Wroclaw, Lublin etc, if you are interested in Polish industrial history visit Katowice and Lodz, if you want to do business go to Warsaw and Poznan.

written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, August 20, 2000 (article #3), revised in May 2005

I recommend
The Rough Guide to Poland, by Mark Salter, Jonathan Bousfield

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