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Magical Cracow

by Ewa Lubinska
Cracow Vacation Rentals

My French colleague who has visited Cracow more than fourteen times answering the question “Why do you come here?” sighed, “Ewa, Je n’m pas Cracovie, J’adore Cracovie”. I tell people that because his answer reflects also my attitude towards my city.

First of all, it is a very spiritual place. Nowhere else can you find about one hundred churches in the old town. There must be something in it otherwise hundreds of monasteries would not have chosen Cracow to be their seat. Many orders and convents quite unique like Cameldolites or Trinitarians can be found here not to mention the Sisters of the Divine Mercy with famous Faustyna Kowalska and her message of God’s mercy for all. If you decide to visit the new sanctuary in Łagiewniki, where the Pope John Paul II entrusted the world to God’s mercy, you will see pilgrims from all corners of the globe. St. Mary’s church dominates the Main Square and from its tower every hour on the hour a bugle call can be heard. Blue, which is the colour of Virgin Mary, happens to be the city colour and is reflected on our trams and buses. Indeed, it is a city with a soul, where artists and angels walk hand in hand.

Cracow has always been the home of great artists. The royal seat needed the Italian mastery, which can be seen in the architecture of the Wawel Castle. The numerous churches needed to be ornamented as well. The Houses of Jan Matejko, Józef Mehoffer and above all Stanisław Wyspiański – the great representative of Art Nouveau are a great treat to art lovers. Also, poets Nobel Prize laureates Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska have chosen Cracow to be their home. As well as Sławomir Mrożek, a great Polish playwright, and his Mexican wife have chosen this atmospheric city to settle down. Very original composers like Zygmunt Konieczny or Zbigniew Preisner (known from Kieślowski’s films) can be spotted in the Main Market sipping coffee in one of numerous outdoor cafes. Andrzej Wajda, the eminent film director, sponsored the Japanese Museum – a real architectural beauty on the riversideadding to the attractiveness of the city.

Students have been here since the restoration of the Jagiellonian University, named after the generous Queen Jadwiga, whose jewellery brought it back to life. Since tourists flooded the city center occupying hundreds of little outdoor cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs, college students moved out to the former Jewish district and its dilapidated houses and romantic little streets, where vibrant, club-like cafes started to spring up very quickly, attracting again more and more foreigners. So the tide keeps on going and students are pushing forward across the river to the still undiscovered district of Podgórze, best known for Schindler’s manufacture shown in Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”, and new cafes, clubs are being opened there.

Cracow is the place where where Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II) lived and worked. It is a place where you do not feel alone, because it is enough to wait a couple of minutes in the Main Market and you are certain to run into someone you know. As the poet promises: here you will come across “a magical carriage, a magical carriage-driver and a magical horse….”

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