Cracow - some facts
Kraków (Polish pronunciation: ?krakuf About this sound listen (help?info)), also Cracow or Krakow (US English /?kr??ka?/, UK English /?kr?ka?/),23 is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century.4 Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. It was the capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland from 1038 to 1569; the Polish?Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1596;5 the Free City of Kraków from 1815 to 1846; the Grand Duchy of Cracow from 1846 to 1918; and Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1998. It has been the capital of Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999.
The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965.4 With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000, with approximately 8 million additional people living within a 100 km (62 mi) radius of its main square.6
Winter tourism in Poland
Many people take time off work during the winter and spends time in the Polish tourist resorts. Tourists come to the mountain resorts especially during the winter holidays. Such centers are adapted to the needs of single travelers and families. Although Poland is not a country known for its winter resorts, but staying in Zakopane or other mountain resorts for many people can be attractive and memorable, the more that take place in Poland more and more sporting events associated with winter sports and events related to the celebration of Carnival. Other attractions related to mountain tourism are walks in the mountains, sleigh rides and skiing lessons. As a result, Poland mountaineering can constantly develop and attract more and more people.
Tourism in Cracow
According to statistics, in 2012 Kraków was visited by 7.3 million tourists including 2.1 million foreign travelers (over 30% of their grand total).175176 The visitors spent over 2.5 billion złoty in the city (without travel costs and pre-booked accommodations). Most foreign tourists came from Great Britain (over 25%), with German, French, Spanish, Italian and American visitors closely following. The Kraków tour-guide from the Lesser Poland Visitors Bureau indicated that not all statistics are recorded due to considerable number of those who come, staying in readily available private rooms paid by cash, especially from Eastern Europe.175
The main reasons for visiting the city are: its historical monuments, recreation as well as relatives and friends (placing third in the ranking), religion and business. There are 120 quality hotels in Kraków (usually about half full) offering 15,485 overnight accommodations.177 The average stay last for about 4 to 7 nights. The survey conducted among the travelers showed that they enjoyed the city's friendliness most, with 90% of Polish tourists and 87% foreigners stating that they would personally recommend visiting it.175 Notable points of interest outside the city include the Wieliczka salt mine, the Tatra Mountains 100 km (62 mi) to the south, the historic city of Częstochowa (north-west), the well-preserved former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, and Ojcowski National Park,178 which includes the Renaissance Castle at Pieskowa Skała.179 Kraków has been awarded a number of top international rankings such as the 1st place in the Top city-break destinations 2014 survey conducted by the British Which?.180