Thursday 30 March 2017

Kraków Poland ǀ 2016

I went to Poland right in the middle of my GCSE exams last year with my dad and, even though I only stayed a for a few days, I ended up fitting in so many activities. I had a very good time and became aware of just how much of a historical city Poland really is. I can't really blog about it without bringing that aspect into the foreground so I have decided to style this post a little differently, focusing on the historical aspects to the place.

The Basilica of the Virgin Mary’s is situated in the market square. There are more photos of the amazing inside to it when you scroll down. It is the most famous Polish Church. Hejnal Mariacki is played every hour from the taller of the two towers. The signal is deliberately broken mid-note in order to commemorate a soldier who was killed during alarming before the enemy attack.

The photo you see here of the gothic Wawel Cathederal, is the construction ordered by Bishop Nanker in the 14th century, the third ediface on the site. The first was constructed and destroyed in the 11th century, then second one was built in the 12th century but destroyed by a fire in 1305.

This building, I believe, is where some of the film "Schindler's List" was filmed. A film about how Schindler arranged to have his Jewish workers protected in order to keep his factory in operation but soon realised that, in doing so, he was saving innocent lives. Plaszów labour camp, that was on the slop of Krzemionki Hill to the east of Kraków, is entirely gone now.

My Dad :)

The inside of one building in the market square was home to some of the most beautiful and colourful stalls ever. There were all manner of things available to buy, some of the most common examples being painted boxes and chess sets, key rings and fluffy slippers. It was from here that I bought my sisters some souvenirs.

Here are two communist cars that I was able to go in. They are not as common on the roads of Poland as they once were, it seems that once people get freedom and opportunity, that one of the first thing they buy is a car.

The above picture is of a church, built in the east of Kraków. After the second World War, when the city was not in a great state, the Communist solution was to design one of only two existing Socialist Realist cities. It had a very strictly planned layout, "a fortress in disguise", for example trees lined the streets in order to absorb any impact of a NATO nuclear attack. Consequently, Nowa Huta (the easternmost district of Kraków) became viewed as one of the better examples of deliberate social engineering to date. Nowa Huta means "New Steel Mill", the name was given to the city due to the steel works there. 

One exception to this fully USSR (Soviet Union) funded project, was a church. A church didn't really match the industrious, more atheist idea they had in mind. The actual residents however, believed a church to be important. They were granted permission to in 1956, before that permission was rescinded suddenly in 1960. Protests broke out which resulted in violence from the police and militia. Eventually, permission was given once more in 1967. Communist authorities would not provide any equipment to aid building which made the church incredibly difficult for the people to build, especially in a state-run economy. About two million stones were used in order to make this "Noah's Arc resting on Mount Ararat" look, and each element to the church was done by hand.

These are some photos of the very beautiful inside to the Basilica of the Virgin Mary’s. The detail was astonishing.

I am not sure at all what these fireworks were for or if they were even representing a ceremony.It was a very nice surprise however, to wander out on our first night there and discover them. It was a very impressive display,

The final thing I will mention is the Wieliczka Salt Mine. After descending 400 steps into the salt mine, you become aware of just how deep and how large the mine really is. You can see the powerful faith and religion that drove people to carve the salt sculptures and chapels.There is even a salt chandelier, it's amazing! There are underground lakes and huge caverns also which have potential to keep you distracted for many hours.

I appologise if my heavy historical focus has not been exactly accurate in every instance, most of the captions are based on what I recall the tour guide saying. A lot of my posts are not written with such an emphasis on fact, and it is a style in which I am not yet accustomed to writing in .

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