Though gazed upon by almost every tourist that visits Kraków, few actually venture to Dębniki - the centrally-located district directly across the river from Wawel Castle. First mentioned as a separate village in 1254, and incorporated into Kraków back in 1909, Dębniki has managed to remain somewhat isolated from the rest of the city, perhaps due to a lack of inviting bridges leading directly into the district. Resting between the river to the north and east, and the busy Monte Cassino Street to the south, despite its proximity to Wawel, Old Dębniki is largely residential and uniquely lacking in the bars, restaurants and tourist attractions that lure visitors to Kraków's other neighbourhoods. Though the area boasts an appealing collection of townhouses and villas around a small market square, its charm is somewhat dented by the busy roadway (ul. Konopnickiej) which bisects it and essentially cuts off the riverfront from the heart of the district. As a result, Dębniki's desirable riverfront boulevards seem apart from the quiet daily life of the rest of the district, and those that do visit this side of the river rarely even see the Rynek that represents its nucleus. Meanwhile, development of the area south of ul. Monte Cassino - also known as 'Ludwinów' - has really taken off in the last decade, resulting in several new hotels and apartment complexes, the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, Kraków's artificial beach, a permanent hot-air balloon, and the revitalisation of the Forum Hotel.
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