A famous Da Vinci’s masterpiece Lady with an ermine is hosted at the Czartoryski Museum. Painted around 1489-1490, its subject is identified with Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of Lodovico Sforza, “Ludovico il Moro”, Duke of Milan. The painting is one of only four female portraits Leonardo painted (the other three being the Mona Lisa, the portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci and La Belle Ferronière). Another art treasure is the gold-plated dome of the Sigismund Chapel that crowns the best example of Renaissance art and architecture with no match without Italy and few equals within or the 81-meter-tall tower with a Gothic spire dating back to XV century. Always in theme of arts, another Krakow’s wonder is the 42-foot-high and 36-foot-wide Veit Stoss’ magnum opus.
It is considered to be the largest Gothic sculpture in the world and consists of 200 fine lime wood sculptures treated with colour and gold foil. Who’s Veit Stoss? he was one of the first artists from Northern Europe who could be compared with Italian Renaissance artists. The power of expression of the gestures of his characters, compounded by the folds in their garments, give his sculptures a dramatic aspect. Veit Stoss, besides being a sculptor, was also a productive engraver and painter.
Through his engravings he could circulate his works on a generous scale. But even in the two-dimensional space of his engravings, he always expressed himself as a sculptor. You can see his sculpture at the St. Mary’s Church, in Kraków. Subterranean wonders? Nine centuries of mining in Wieliczka produced a total of some 200 kilometres of passages as well as 2,040 caverns of varied size. So you will be able to spend your time in a world of labyrinthine passages, giant caverns, underground lakes and chapels with sculptures in the crystalline salt and rich ornamentation carved in the salt rock.
If you got inspiration by this subterranean world, maybe you can have a quick visit to the Franciscan monastery adjoining the church of St. Casimir where bodies get mummified by themselves in the dry cold crypts. Beside cultural and curious sites to visit, Krakow offers a lot of green spots where you can relax, have a pic-nic, or stroll with some music, friends and meet locals. There are something like 40 public parks, including the 1020-acre Las Wolski forest. You cannot miss the planty ring of about 30 gardens since it encircles the central Old Town historic district. Its leafy alleys and flowerbeds replaced Krakow’s once awesome city walls in the 1820s. But one of the most beloved by local people is for sure the Park Jordana very close to the National Museum, downtown. There you can get a paddling tour in the pond or play your sport in different playgrounds.
As the park spread alongside three major campuses and the central university library, it is clear that this is a spot privileged by students and joggers, strollers, dog owners, sunbathers, etc. There is also a very old botanical garden set up in 1779 featuring 5000 exotic and native plants (27, Kopernika street). Very nice place to relax right in the middle of the city. Also, in terms of accommodation, you will be happy to know that Krakow offers some of the nicest and cheapest youth hostels of Poland and Eastern Europe. The Bling Bling Hostel or the cool AQQ hostel, are very comfy, as well as The Lemon hostel or the Secret Garden whose names are a programme!! Or again the Free hostel or the Old Walls youth hostel and the Moon hostel are very nice. In general, all those youth hostels offer clean, colourful and cosy rooms at very inexpensive prices in Krakow.
Let’s say you should pay no more than 10 euros per person per night with breakfast included! Not bad ah? You can easily find their information, photos and addresses in internet in some bookers providing online bookings and prices comparison. Usually are the best option if you do not know the city.
So have a look around and you will discover that some of the cutest and cheapest youth hostels of Eastern Europe are in Krakow, Poland offering a warm hospitality! It is advisable to make your bookings well in advance to reserve your accommodation if you wish to get a central location and the best price in beautiful Krakow.