Having played a historic part in WWII and after being attacked and leveled out, a great measure of memorable magnificence remains in the Lesser Poland Province, and a considerable lot of the towns and urban communities that were obliterated in the war have meticulously modified their important landmarks and religious structures. This is especially valid for the city of Krakow which lost about 90 percent of its building stock in the war, however, it now gloats a majestic Main Market Square that looks just as great as it did four centuries prior. A number of the most established Polish urban communities were established in the early thirteenth century, when Gothic structural engineering was extremely popular.
They developed wealthier in the resulting hundreds of years, including great Renaissance and Baroque veneers to their town plazas. You’re never a long way from a stronghold or house of prayer (normally both), which loan a lofty component to the medieval atmosphere and image of the cities contained within the Lesser Poland Province.
When To Go:
The best time to visit this region is characterized into three factors; the high, low, and the shoulder season. The high season begins from the months of May until September with sunny skies occurring fro the most part in June – July. There are occasional downpours, but it is tolerable. Museums, parks, historic attractions are open for business and crowds are expected to flock especially during weekends. This is the ideal time to visit the Lesser Poland Province.
The low season starts from November until February, the winter season makes way for skiing at mountain resorts. Some attractions are closed in time for the holidays (Christmas and New Year). The thick snow may render some roads impassable and most galleries and palaces remain closed even after the festive season. This is not the ideal time to plan tours around the Lesser Poland Province.
The shoulder season covers the months of March, April and October. It is quite chilly with occasional series of rains, but for the most part sunny. The Easter holiday is the ideal time to go, but usually crowded, you must book ahead of time if you plan to visit during the shoulder season months in the Lesser Poland Province.
A country with a wealth of castles, heritage trails, and historic landmarks to explore; these are the top
things to do
and places to see in the Lesser Poland Province…
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum (Oswiecim)
A visit to the
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
is like a slap in the face that you need to take and a chilling journey into the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s reign. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the town of Oswiecim and reservations in advance are required. You can tour around for a day and observe in silence as a sign of respect for all the Jewish that suffered and perished here, it speaks a lot about reflection and emotion. It is absolutely necessary at least once in a lifetime to visit Auschwitz for everyone to teach them not to forget. Everyone should go there and reflect peacefully. It is one sad landmark or tragic proof that shows why war must never happen again.
It is essential to take the tour with a guide; otherwise the visit is likely to become a sightseeing tour with a park of horrors without understanding their meaning. It is best to research about the place before planning a visit for you will arrive at least prepared, having read something about it and have some idea of what that place truly signifies for all Jewish (check their website).
A tour of this place has so deeply impacts the soul of everyone who has seen it that each description would be too subjective and restrictive, the atrocities of war in vivid presentation touches the heart of even the most insensitive. It is important, educational, instructive, graphic, violent, and must be mandatory for all students coming to maturity and for anyone who is curious about what World War II.
We all know the history of the Holocaust, we have all seen the film more or less know about its history, but only by going to a place here in Auschwitz, where you will realize how immense were these camps, the cruelty and atrocities that every prisoner had to endure. The visit is divided between Auschwitz and Birkenau; Auschwitz contains the barracks of bricks that have been added to the museum, at Birkenau, there are also wide expanses of wooden shacks and brick. Visit this site with the guide because aside from making the rounds faster and losing some parts of the field, it is explained what was being done in every room of the field, something that you might not otherwise know as there are no audio guides available, but there are panels with explanations for every room.
Jewish Museum and Synagogue Auschwitz
Jewish Museum and Synagogue Auschwitz
is a place where you can feel the sadness and horror in every corner, but that everyone should visit at least once. From the road you can see the famous Auschwitz camp. A vacation in the Lesser Poland Province necessitates a tour of this place on your travel calendar. The site is huge and every step you take, you put in the footsteps of a concentration prisoner. The feelings it arouses is indescribable. The realization that this should not be forgotten is the decisive factor for a visit, so we can pass it on to our children and grandchildren. It is located only 60 km from Krakow, the roads are good and you can see more of the countryside in Poland. And that’s not so bad. Once you arrive in Oswiecim, you must look for Auschwitz I. You can start the tour with an English guide and walk through the famous gate with the cynical slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” a welcome sign meaning “work brings freedom”. It was created by Major Rudolf Hoss, one of the ruling commanders of the concentration camp.
The visit takes about one and a half hour and a large number of the 28 red brick prison blocks are visited. The guides speak fluent English, clear, and with a certain theatrical drama about the events that happened there. What you will see and hear is confrontational. The name Hitler is spoken at no time and a mention of the word Nazis connotes a negative image. The deeper the visit, the more questions arises with yourself with fewer answers. In addition to the horrors of the gasification and burns also creates wonder what complex logistical organization the Nazis themselves were doing, and the hopelessly useless reason for such horrid acts. There is a free shuttle bus to the second Auschwitz II – Birkenan that comes every hour starting from 10:30 am. The vastness of this camp with his dead-end train tracks has something unreal and eerie feeling about them. After a visit you will have a better understanding of what the word holocaust means. And even though you are personally not to blame, yet you feel a little shame as a human being. The historic site is very impressive, well-preserved and presented and definitely worth it, a visit is an experience to remember.
Main Market Square (Krakow)
Main Market Square
is lovely to look around as you enjoy the atmosphere and the beautiful buildings. In the summer, you can sit outside on a terrace and in the winter there are plenty of cafes to drink some coffee or something else. It’s a very large and clean square. Even in winter, there is a lot of hustle and bustle. The market is surrounded by all kinds of bars, restaurants and cafes in striking and authentic buildings. There are old churches and a stunning central market building. There is also the possibility to rent a horse or an electric cart for a tour. You can visit it every day to admire the atmosphere. This square is certainly worth a visit while you’re in Krakow.
The square is a great place to unwind, the walls have a beautiful architecture and in the middle of the square, there are lots of old and majestic looking structures. The carriages dress the square in the evening and they are sometimes beautifully illuminated. You can see that a lot of effort / money was spent on the maintenance of the buildings along the square and each façade has its unique embellishments and colors for a perfect photo. In addition to the facades of the surrounding buildings, you can take pictures at the Cloth Hall with countless shops in the center of the square and visit St. Mary’s Church. There are lots of coffee shops where you can sip coffee while sitting on the terrace and admiring the fabulous views.
For lovers of ecclesiastical buildings this is something special. The
is very closely related to the rich history of Poland. There is a lot of room for the former rulers of this country. Also, you can look in many places such as the bell tower and visit the burial chambers. There is a separate chapel for Pope John Paul II. The cathedral is the pride of Poland and it is where they buried the monarchs of the Kingdom of Poland and the other illustrious historians of the country. It is here where you will find the tomb of the great including to my happy surprise is the tomb of the great Polish composer and pianist Fryderyk Chopin. A visit to the complex is not to be missed. The entrance ticket also includes a visit to the Museum of the Cathedral.
It is a feast for the eyes in an architectural context, the castle hill further enhances the appearance. It is worth entering and paying the ticket because you can get to the top of the bell Sigismund. There are many chapels decorated inside, the most popular is undoubtedly the Chapel of Sigismund, recognizable from the outside because of the golden dome, but do not limit yourself to this. The church has a dominant Baroque architecture and the equally interesting chapel of the Polish kings, the sarcophagus of the saint, and the stained glass windows. Many historians consider it as the finest example of Tuscan Renaissance in the northern side of the Alps. From the bell tower of the church you can see a beautiful view of the city that dominates the whole hill of Wawel.
Wawel Royal Castle
It is here in the
Wawel Royal Castle
where you can visit the state rooms with the beautiful painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine”, the cathedral, the royal apartments, and the Dragon Cave. It can all be visited at a cost of € 11.00 and it is really worth seeing everything. The ticket allows the tourist access to the various attractions inside the complex.
However, the work of Leonardo Da Vinci is well exposed and stays alone in a single room with detailed explanations in Italian that illustrate the history and the way that the centuries have brought from Milan to Krakow. For the rest there are some rooms with interesting explanations of what is being said, but nothing memorable.
is the largest garden of Krakow. It surrounds the city with its benches that invites you to sit back and breathe a bit of fresh air in the city center. It’s a place of play for children, romantic walks and not, study or simply do nothing. Along the way there are the dining options, there are plenty of pretzel stalls to break the hunger. Note the perfect cleaning and the respect of citizens and tourists to this public place.
It is rich with the golden foliage and a lot of greens, not crowded and with plenty of free benches to rest. There are loads of interesting monuments and historic buildings around the ring. It is also recommended to go to the schoolroom brewery of “CK Browar” located near the cinema called “Bagatelle”.
Oskar Schindler’s Factory
Through a visit of the
Oskar Schindler’s Factory
, you will understand better certain aspects of human history, the Nazi philosophy and contempt, the rage toward the Jews, as a human being suppressed by force his fellow man, but also see the solidarity, goodness , the fortitude, the strong will of one man to help other men. A visit that is important, instructive, which brings you to reflect on what you are blessed with in life. In the museum there is very little that you can see about the factory of Schindler, mostly there are photos, documents and objects related to the Second World War.
But the thing that makes it unique is that the museum recreates the atmosphere of World War II; the rooms, the streets, the ghetto, the barracks, the labor camps, some commercial, military rooms, all in a dimly lit effect to recreate the lights available at the time and with the background of speeches that really happened during the Second World War. All of that recreates a surreal situation, and gives you the impression of being in those years. Oskar is the brave character that has made history by helping the Jews. Despite being on the outside of town, it’s really worth going to see everything there again even immediately.
Wieliczka Salt Mine (Wieliczka)
A visit to the
Wieliczka Salt Mine
must be done with a local tour operator at a cost of € 27.70 including a return to the city of Krakow via private bus. The duration of the visit is about two hours and thirty minutes. The place is very charming, but not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia because there are so many engines in cramped spaces and there are many steep stairs to climb.
The best part of the whole complex is the cathedral it is worth it just for her. Walking on these old salt mines is not something that happens frequently. The environment has been enriched with salt statues that makes it less monotonous. The beautiful church of salt is located about half way, to a hundred feet deep.
Lake Morskie Oko (Tatra National Park)
A walk around the
Lake Morskie Oko
is one of the most spectacular and beautiful places on the map of the Lesser Poland Province that is blessed with a stunning scenery. It was even named as one of the five most beautiful lakes in the world. If you want to see this lake, you can do this best by foot or by horseback, the accessibility is easy for everyone to do well. With the horse you’re on the go for about an hour and you absolutely have a more spectacular view of the mountain.
Pieninski National Park (Szczawnica)
Pieninski National Park
is located in southern Poland in the mountain area of Szczawnica. The park extends over 8 km and it allows long hikes along its challenging trails. The roads within are rustic and wild and takes you to the extraordinary nature. The vegetation varies and there is a surprising view of the surrounding mountains and valley or sinks situated along the Dunajec river.
The Lesser Poland Province is a great place of memory. Interesting and well done are the structures dedicated to the Jewish race and how they suffered in Auschwitz. It’s a path that affects the feelings and shows the horror of the Nazi-fascist madness. It gives a feeling of stepping back in time, with the newspapers of that era, weapons, photos and everything that recalls the period of Nazi occupation. This region evokes feeling that is both beautiful and moving making a visit truly enriching.