Would you like to learn more about our region? Open all your senses. Touch its textures of cold stone laid 1,000 years ago and the warm wood of treasured temples built centuries ago. We invite you for another tour to discover all the senses of Małopolska.
Have you ever tried to read history from a stone? Look inside the Church of St Andrew in Krakow, which is almost 1,000 years old. The history of the city is enclosed in light stone – the only witness to the most important events of Krakow. Touch the walls, which are warm in wintertime and delicately cool in summer. This is the mysticism of Romanesque buildings with thick walls almost devoid of windows. Come inside; the interior of this church has retained the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages. Then go to the Market Square and enter the large Gothic building of St Mary’s Church. Here you will see another power of stone: slender arches ending high above the floor separate the temple from the city, but only illusorily. Touch the big, heavy bricks of the Gothic cathedral, on which you can still find fingerprints of the people who made them. Unlike the previous church, this one is an exceptional accumulation of cultures. The Gothic interior houses one of the biggest wooden altars in Europe, its metres-high figures carved with an amazingly sophisticated technique. Its construction consumed the entire annual budget of Krakow! The whole structure is complemented with a 19th-century polychrome made by three giants of Polish painting: Jan Matejko, Stanisław Wyspiański and Józef Mehoffer.
Now let us go to eastern Małopolska. Tarnów, a city located around 100 km from Krakow, called the Pearl of the Renaissance and boasting an exceptional market square lined with 16th– to 19th-century tenement houses, is an absolute must-see. Likewise, the unusual shape of the baronial palace in Wiśnicz (this is where the first Polish cookbook was created) or the almost medieval buildings of Biecz – a small town famous for its school of executioners – are worth visiting. This school is likely a legend, but the fact is that 15 executioners operated there at the same time in the late 14th century.
CZORSZTYN and NIEDZICA
In southern Małopolska, you must visit two soaring castles: Wronin in Czorsztyn and Dunajec in Niedzica. It is one of the most picturesque landscapes of Poland. On both banks of the artificial Lake Czorsztyn, two majestic castles stand atop high hills. You can see a panorama of the Tatra summits behind them and the huge surface of the lake in front of them, and they are adjacent to one of the most valuable national parks in Poland – the Pieniny National Park. Dunajec Castle is a medieval structural masterpiece. Because of the limited space, all the buildings are closely interconnected, looking as if they grew one on top of another. A walk on the terrace of the castle is an unforgettable experience.
Trail of Eagles’ Nests
In western Małopolska, you need to visit the Krakow-Częstochowa Upland – an unusual geographical feature and a huge area of tourist attractions. Here, on high limestone hills, you will find a collection of several castles built in the late Middle Ages. Some have rich museum interiors, whilst others are only lasting ruins. Rising majestically dozens of metres over the surface, they deserve to be called the Trail of Eagles’ Nests. A visit to the castles in Ojców, Pieskowa Skała, Rudna and Rabsztyn is a real journey into the past. Interestingly, most of these sites were built at the same time: in the middle of the 14th century.
And, finally, a journey to the north – the most exceptional area. The destination is Miechów, a town situated only 50 km from Krakow and sharing a convenient railway connection. In the local church, you can see a faithful copy of Jesus Christ’s grave from Jerusalem. Built in the 16th century, the church was one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Europe.