Holiday in Poland – A Lovely Vacation

HYDERABAD: Can you imagine that Poland can make a fabulous choice for a holiday? I have had a lovely vacation in Poland some time back, which turned out to be one of the best I ever had. There is so much to see and experience there, it leaves you enlightened and elevated. Poland is a garden of nature and a treasure trove of cultural riches. A democracy located in the middle of Europe, inhabited by a friendly, hospitable people building a modern economy, yet cherishing their heritage dearly. Catering to all kinds of tourists, their modern leisure facilities provide recreation of the highest standard: Museums, modern art galleries and concert halls, swimming pools, equestrian clubs, discos and night clubs.

I chose Krakow for a glimpse into the Polish culture and heritage.

<b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday In Poland - A Lovely Vacation Krakow in Southern Poland, situated by the Vistula River, is the cradle of Polish culture and a characteristic urban phenomenon. It was the former capital of Poland, the place of coronation and later, the burial ground of almost all Polish monarchs. For a long time it has been attracting scholars with the oldest university in the country, artists with the cultural climate and pilgrims with the sanctuaries and holy relics, and recently also the memory of Pope John Paul II. Krakow Old Town within the Planty Park and Kazimierz (former Jewish district ) was inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites in 1978 as the first of its kind. Built by many generations of artists living in medieval Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau times, fortunate to survive and scathed the ravages of war, Krakow amazes the art lovers. Krakow s historical monuments and works of art are enchanting.

Crowds flock to concerts and festivals as much as the magical atmosphere of its cafes and jazz clubs.

<b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday In Poland - A Lovely Vacation Overlooking the city is Wawel Hill, the heart of Poland. The Renaissance Royal Castle houses a collection of countless objects of art and legendary tapestries. The Wawel Cathedral where Polish kings were crowned and buried is also the National Pantheon- the burial place of many eminent artists and national leaders. Not far from Wawel Hill is Kazimierz, a district once inhabited by the largest Jewish community in Europe. Today Kazimierz organizes a Jewish culture festival each year which features artists from all over the world. The many exotic and quaint cafes in the district are never empty. In one of them, traditional Jewish dishes are served on Singer sewing machine table tops. The main Market Square- the largest open air European society salon- occupies the central part of the old town in Krakow.

Languages from all over the world can be heard here most days. The Cracovian Hejnal, an hourly bugle call is played from the tower of the church of Holy Virgin. The Gothic church, rather austere on the outside has a very richly ornamented interior around a masterpiece of Gothic art, a high altar carved in wood by Wit Stwosz. In the very centre of the Market Square is the Rennaissance Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the oldest commercial centre in Poland. Here you can buy souvenirs and folk art products. On the upper floor, you can visit the gallery of the nineteenth century Polish painting. The Market Square is the frequent venue of a variety of parades and performances. One can spend hours watching people and the ambience.

On the New Year s Eve, thousands of people come here to enjoy themselves and dance under the stars. There are many cafes and restaurants on the edges of the Market Square. We also find many theatres and art galleries, all close to the Square. Certain cellars and basements in the gothic style create a very special ambience, very popular as Jazz clubs and cabarets. And for these reasons Poland should be on your must visit list.

At a glance

Getting there: Second largest airport in Poland, Krakow can be reached by any major airlines like Lufthansa

Stay: In the centre of the city, close to the main Market Square, a 300 year old boutique hotel Pod Roza is a good option.

Also nearby are hotels Unicus and Stary.

Hotel Sheraton offers a luxurious stay as well

Where to eat: For some memorable gastronomic experience, restaurants like Pod Aniolami, The Piano Rouge and Wesele

What to buy: Amber, Cut Glass and local wines

(The author is a documentary filmmaker and travel writer; blogs at www.vijayaprataptravelandbeyond.com)

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