Krakow’s Top 10 Hidden Gems

Things to Do, Travel Tips — By Chris on August 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm
Krakow as a city wrapped in countless legends does have plenty of hidden gems, off-the-beaten-path spots & places. Some of them marvellous, some charming, some a bit scary but all having this “something” which makes people want to see it (but usually people don’t know where to look or are so close but they don’t even realize).
I have prepared a list of 10 Krakow’s unique gems, hidden in the city, most of them unmentioned in any guide or map.
Number 10 – The Remuh Synagogue

When visiting Kazimierz, the Jewish District, you are most probably interested in the Jewish culture and want to get to know what the life of Jews looked like before the Second World War. The Remuh Synagogue and cemetery are one of these places that can take you back in time to the days when Kazimierz was truly Jewish. The Remuh Synagogue is the only Krakow’s synagogue still holding services and a place to pray. It is however also open for visitors and functioning as a museum as well.

Number 9 – Kosciuszko’s Mound

If you are in the western part of the city you probably can notice an awkwardly looking hill, lightened at night. And like most tourists you don’t give a damn what that is and will never think of checking. Well it is definitely worth visiting! This artificial mound has been erected by Krakovians for the Polish national hero – Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Take a while to walk on the serpentine path leading to its top and you will se a breathtaking panorama of the whole city (yeah, you see the whole city). And after a longer while of saying “oh my God, it’s awesome”, you can lay back at the cafe located just at the feet of the mound. Oh, and don’t miss the museum devoted to Kosciuszko displaying artifacts and mementoes of his life and achievements.

Number 8 – Las Wolski (Wolski Forrest)

A little bit further from the city center than Kosciuszko Mound, Wolski forrest is Krakow’s largest sylvan park with 8 different trails, lots of walking trails and even a skiing route available in wintertime. It is also the natural habitat of Krakow’s ZOO which is located in its middle part.
P.S. If you liked Kosciuszko Mound, you can choose one of those 8 walking trails and make it to the top. If you succeed – you are on Pilsudski’s Mound and enjoying another stunning view on the vicinity.
P.S.S. watch out – some of the trails are really wild. just like the animals you can encounter on them.

Number 7 – Senacka Street

Strolling through the Old Town you may encounter several nice and charming streets but Senacka is surely the most mysterious as well as unknown of them. Especially when the sun goes down visiting this street will make you feel like yyou know why Krakow is a city wrapped in a legend. Especially recommended when strolling at night with your beloved person. There are barely any people and the lights are dim…What are you waiting for?! Kiss your better half!

Number 6 – Krak’s Mound

According to the legend this medieval mound has been erected to commemorate Krak – the legendary first ruler from whom the city derives its name (and who was – according to the legend – burried under the mound). Located in Podgórze district gives you a great view on the Wawel castle, Kazimierz and former Jewish Ghetto.

Number 5 – Park Bednarskiego

Apart from boring stuff about flora & fauna which you will find in most descriptions of this place, you have to know that this park has a historical significance as a place. It was connecting the Jewish Ghetto on Podgórze district and the concentration camp of Płaszów. Some scenes from the Schindler’s List have been shot here (the one when Oskar Schindler looks at the ghetto while riding his horse for example). On the other side there is a great view on….

Number 4 – Liban quarry

It was used by Germans as a labour camp during the Second World War. Around 400 men were working there every day and had to survive inhumane conditions. When looking at the place from the Krak’s Mound you can imagine how it looked like during the Holocaust… Especially that special scenery & buildings have been prepared there (and its remnants are still there) for the shooting of the Schindler’s List by Spielberg.

Number 3 – Zalew Nowohucki (Nowa Huta artificial lake)

A few years after building the giant Steelworks on the Nowa Huta district, local authorities agreed to the question from its workers to build a special artificial lake and green areas separating the steelworks from their homes. Nowadays this place is a oasis of peace and quiet for Nowa Huta inhabitants as well as recreation center. So if you were already planning to visit the communism city, include this artificial lake in your route.

Number 2 – the wall next to the Plac Bohaterów Ghetta

This square located in the former Jewish Ghetto in Podgórze district was designed to commemorate the victims of Holocaust. Chairs are a symbol – German soldiers threw out all the belongings and furniture out of the windows of the buildings surrounding this place while liquidating ghetto and moving Jews to concentration camps. A lot of people were also shot during those actions. Nazis were ordering Jews to stand by building’s walls and were shooting them in the foreheads. Take a close look at the walls on the side of one building next to the square (the one not renovated). It still has marks made by Nazi’s bullets…. Have a moment of thoughtfullness…

Number 1 – Chakra

Wawel – the holy place of the Polish nation arouses unceasing interest not only as a royal residence, Royal Family necropolis, museum and historic complex (yeah, I know that its one of city’s hallmarks and should not be on this list but…take a closer look:) Crowds of visitors treat this hill in a particular way – with profound awe and respect. Thousands of them ask about 7th stone of the earth – the holy mysterious stone that might have been hidden on The Wawel hill and now is the active source of unusual energy…

It was 1935 when heavy rain-clouds covered european sky. Word War I was merely the declared prelude against the world. The Natzi movement and triumphant comunnism were both gaining bigger power getting ready to strike a final blow. Unaware of danger, internally torn Europe needed a power to unite and fight against evil. In view of upcoming war, something had to activate the immeasurable power of ‘the Wawel Lotus'(chacram) that partly dormant had been resting in the rock for almost 20 centuries. All that was to happen on May 18th, 1935, at 10.57 a.m…

Others think, that it is the nonsense, but anothers else believe in power of the stone. Wawel is a magic place, with the special energy, here you can rest and feel relaxation. Maybe it has the relationship with the chacram . The radiesthesian measurements showed, that “heart” of the chacram is situated in undergrounds of western wing of the castle, in the St. Gereon’s chapel. Here there is negative ionization, which influences on general relaxation. The Cracovian legend has connection with Hindu god Shiva, who threw the seven magic stones in the seven sides of the world.

Tags: Chakra, charming, concentration camp, II World War, jewish ghetto, Kazimierz, krakow's hidden gems, labour camp, mound, Nazi, Nowa Huta, Oskar Schindler, Plac Bohaterow Getta, Plaszow, Podgórze, remuh synagogue, senacka, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, wolski forrest