Kraków, Old Town
Today the royal route is vibrant with life and crowded with tourists – even though a lot has changed, the place has retained its splendour typical of a royal residence. In 1978 the perfectly preserved medieval architectural arrangement, one of the most magnificent in this part of Europe, as well as the unique complex of historic sites from different periods, became the basis for the inscription of the former Polish capital on the UNESCO list. Tenements in various styles, beautiful residences, centuries-old churches, majestic university buildings, as well as the unforgettable Wawel, make you forget about the modernity. The Old Town, which includes the town from the period of the foundation of Kraków (1257), was closed with a ring of defensive walls as early as in the 14th century. At the beginning of the 19th century the walls had 47 towers and 7 main gates. The fragment of the fortifications with the aforementioned Florian’s Gate and three adjoining towers proves how mighty the fortifications were. At the end of the 15th century, another impressive defensive structure was built: the Barbican (once called the ‘Saucepan’ by the Cracovians). It used to be indestructible, and it even resisted the 19th century city cleaning-up campaign, during which the city fortifications were torn down. The Planty city park, a green ribbon now encircling the historic town centre, was created in place of the city walls.