tare Miasto (Old Town)
June 30 - July 7, 2002
The old town, Stare Miasto, is the center of tourist activity in Krakow.
From the remains of the old town wall to the numerous old churches in its precincts, the old town is a mine of history.
The main square, Stare Miesto, is much bigger than either the Wroclaw or Prague squares. It is dominated by the Town Hall or Sukiennice, a lovely arcaded building, with a historic tower.
The churches in Krakow are second to none. The most famous of course is the Church of the Virgin Mary, focal point of the Stare Miasto and home to the amazing Veit Stoss altar. We spent two hours in rapt wonderment at the workmanship on this giant wooden altar piece, whose double doors used to be opened only on special occasions. Now, because of the number of tourists who come to see it, it is on permanent display. As if that wasn't enough to attract visitors, the church also is painted in the most wonderful art deco colors and has a fantastic collection of carved wooden tableaus that tell the most important events in the life of Christ.
The edges of the square are replete with restaurants and cafes for the constant refreshement of the large number of tourists.
We waited a day to be able to take a guided tour of the Collegium Maius, the first university of Poland and perhaps the world. This is the place where Coperincus studied. The very old building was a museum piece itself and was filled with historic objects, not all related to its original function.
Foreign consulates are well-represented in Krakow. We visited the British consulate briefly and found that the consul was actually a British businessman who keeps a file of information to be handed out to the odd visitor.