Old Town

The main market square and Cloth Hall.

Full of majestic architectural monuments, priceless cultural treasures, cobbled thoroughfares, atmospheric courtyards, legendary cellar bars and literary cafes, Kraków's historic Old Town is the pride of Poland, one of Central Europe's most beautiful architectural showpieces, and one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. The most important Polish city to not come out of World War II looking like a trampled Lego set, the rich cultural and historical value of Poland's former royal capital earned it well-deserved inclusion on the first-ever UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.

Already a busy medieval commercial centre by the 10th century, the nucleus of Kraków's Old Town is Rynek Główny - the largest medieval market square in Central Europe. Characterised by its unique upside-down teardrop shape - dictated by the city's former medieval defensive walls extending from Wawel Castle to the south - today the Old Town is surrounded by the charming belt of public green space known as the 'Planty.' Standing in place of the city's medieval moat, the Planty draws a clear line around the original medieval centre of Kraków, however most modern definitions of Kraków's 'Old Town' extend to the 'aleja' - that is, the two-lane motorway encircling the town. For our purposes, we have given a slightly wider scope to the Old Town so that it can basically include any venue within reasonable walking district of the market square (including some of the far side of the aleja), thus avoiding the creation of superfluous 'districts' within the centre of Kraków.


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