Kraków (the former Polish capital)- from the Wawel Castle up to the Floriańska Gate and the Barbakan - is a gem of architecture. Within the complex there are some particularly valuable buildings: Wawel Castle with its famous cathedral and the royal castle, the Gothic Holy Virgin's church with the altar created by Veit Stoss or as the Poles know him Wit Stwosz, the small Romanesque St.Adalbert's church and the renaissance Cloth Hall or Sukiennice situated in the largest market square in Europe.
The cathedral which dates back to the 10th century is the oldest monument in Kraków. The present shrine represents the Gothic style, which in later times was enriched by such jewels of architecture as the Renaissance Sigismund Chapel, numerous baroque and classicistic grave monuments as well as works of art created by Veit Stoss, Bartolomeo Berecci, Santi Gucci, Francesco Placidi, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Michał of Urzędów. In the Romanesque crypt of St.Leonard there are graves of kings and meritorious Poles. After the fire of 1499 the medieval royal castle was reconstructed in 1502-1536 by the architects F.Florentczyk and Bartolomeo Berecci and transformed into a Renaissance residence with four wings around the arcaded courtyard. In the 19th century the Austrians changed the castle into military barracks. In 1905 the process of reconstruction of the monument began, with its partial restoration. At present it houses the Polish State Art Collection. The whole complex of monuments, which includes the Old Town with the Wawel Castle, Kazimierz and Stradom, has been put on the UNESCO's list of World Cultural and Environmental Heritage.
Interesting sites about Kraków: