Places worth visiting in the surrounding of Krakow
When it comes to visiting Lesser Poland, there’s a lot more to discover than just the city of Krakow – the region’s capital. Whether you’re interested in exploring medieval fortifications, admiring the beauty of nature, or learning about the everyday life and customs of people, who lived 100 years ago, the region of Lesser Poland has something for everyone to enjoy. In this article you’ll be able to read about several attractions in Lesser Poland that are guaranteed to stay in our memory for years to come!
The Ogrodzieniec castle
The Ogrodzieniec castle in the town of Podzamcze is a genuine treasure of architecture, located in the central part of the Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic system, at its highest altitude – Mount Janowskiego. There is no other castle in the entire Eagle Nest Trail, that would be as impressive and attract as many tourists as the Ogrodzieniec castle. It is the largest fortress in the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland, dating all the way back to the days of king Kazimierz the Great – the early 14th century.
In the 16th century, the fortress was owned by the Boner family, who were one of the wealthiest clans in all of Poland. They constructed a magnificent, renaissance-styled residence, the splendor of which could be equaled with the Wawel Royal Castle.
Here’s an interesting fact – in 2019, several scenes to the Netflix series „The Witcher” were filmed here.
The „Wieliczka” Salt Mine
The „Wieliczka” Salt Mine is a rock salt mine located in the town of Wieliczka, not far from Krakow.From the 13th century to 1772, it was part of the Krakow saltworks along with the „Bochnia” Salt Mine. The origins of gathering salt in the area of Wieliczka are associated with the exploitation of the so-called „salt springs”. The origins of exploitation date all the way back to the middle neolithic period and are documented by numerous archaeological discoveries from research organized after World War II.
In 1289, prince Henryk IV Probus ordered the construction of a bathing house in Wieliczka, which also fulfilled the function of a working place of barbers, as well as a place of support for victims of accidents and also widows and orphans of miners. In 1697, Magdalena Bendzislawska became the very first female barber in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Zakopane is a town located in southern Poland, in the Tatra Mountains.
It was established as a settlement in the place of seasonal shepherds’ settlements. The first settlement privilege was supposedly published by Stefan Batory in 1578. It was later approved by king Michal Wisniowiecki with a location privilege in 1670.
In 1824, Zakopane and part of the Tatra Mountains was sold to the Homolacs family from Hungary. The major development of Zakopane began in the second half of the 19th century, when Tytus Chalubinski began to popularize the climatic properties of the town.
Nowadays, there is a museum in Zakopane dedicated to the life of Tytus Chalubinski. In this town there are also other attractions worth visiting, such as the museum of Karol Szymanowski, Myszogrod – home for 1000 mice, which will delight young children and Iluzja Park.
The Ojcow National Park
The Ojcow National Park was established in 1956. It is located in the region of Lesser Poland, approximately 16 kilometers away from Krakow.
In the 19th century, the nature of the Ojcow National Park was losing lots of money – local people were cutting off entire tree stands, digging out caves in order to gather dung and breaking off rock formations.
There already were attempts to protect the nature of the Pradnik Valley before World War II. The project of creation of a nature reserve in the Pradnik Valley and Saspowska Valley was created under the leadership of Wladyslaw Szafer in 1924.
However, the nature reserve was not created before World War II, and the fulfillment of the plan only began in 1953.
The area of the park is constructed out of limestones from the Upper Jurassic period, which came from skeletons of dead animals from the bottom of an ancient sea.
Zalipie is a small village located in the Lesser Poland, not far from Tarnow.
This village is renowned for its local custom of painting cottages. The tradition of decorating country houses originated from the late 19th century, when the women living in the village began to decorate the interiors of the cottages with flowers made from tissue paper, cutouts and spiders made from straw, which were hanging at the ceiling, as well as flowers painted on the walls. The local people also made paintings at the outside walls of buildings, wells and fences. Currently, there are approximately 20 painted houses in Zalipie.
Every year, Zalipie organizes the „Malowana Chata” contest, which takes place during the first weekend after Corpus Christi. The purpose of this contest is to develop the tradition of decorating houses and local buildings with flower themes.