Krakow is one of the oldest European cities. The first mentions of it date back to the ninth century but the first traces of settlement in the area of Wawel Hill come from the eighth century. The historic part of Krakow is the area contained within Planty, the park founded in the place of removed city walls and moats adjacent to it. The only preserved part of the walls surrounding the city is in the area of St. Florian's Gate. There is the Barbican - the medieval part of the fortifications, through which one could enter into the city from the side of Kleparz. Originally, it was connected with Florian Gate with the so-called neck. Three towers: Ciesielska, Stolarska and Pasamoników have been preserved to this day. The Royal Route begins here and leads to Wawel Hill. It goes through St. Florian's street to the historic centre of Krakow - the Main Market Square and continue through Grodzka street to Wawel.
The Main Market Square is one of the largest markets in Europe. In its central part there are the Sukiennice. However, their current form is very different from the appearance of the cloth stalls located here in the Middle Ages. You can see how the place looked like in the past centuries by going down under the Main Market Square and visiting the Underground Square Central Museum. The only preserved part of the former town hall is a Gothic clock tower. Tourists should also visit St. Mary's Church, not only because of the bugle call played out every hour from one of its towers, but mainly because of the fifteenth-century altar carved by the Nuremberg sculptor Veit Stoss. In the area of the Old Town there are also numerous churches that are worth visiting, including one of the oldest and at the same time the smallest churches in the city – Church of St. Adalbert.
The end of the Royal Rout is atop Wawel Hill which since ancient times was the seat of authorities. For several centuries it was the residence of Polish kings. Throughout many years of its turbulent history the appearance of the castle and its surroundings underwent numerous changes. Currently, its buildings have renaissance, baroque and partially neoclassical character. Both the castle and the cathedral next to it are the most important objects of Polish cultural heritage, the biggest treasure trove of memorabilia, and the burial place of kings. On one of the towers of the cathedral there is Sigismund Bell ringing only during the most important holidays and in the most important historical moments.
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