Krakow is the cultural capital of Poland

Widok na piętrową widownię ze sceny.
There is no doubt that Krakow is an important centre of cultural and tourist life on a European scale, this is confirmed by the title of the European Capital of Culture, which the city was awarded with in 2000 and the title of the City of Literature of UNESCO, which includes Krakow in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network programme. The number of cinemas, theatres or cultural events can make you dizzy! No surprise there! Let's just says that the streets of the Old Town in Krakow once used to be the place of walks for such writers as Wisława Szymborska, Stanisław Wyspiański or Stanisław Lem.

It was in Krakow that the first Polish literary cabaret “The Green Balloon” was created in confectionery of Apolinary Michalik, where the Małopolska region artists, politicians and aristocrats used to meet (the popular spot “Jama Michalika” functions to this day as a cafe-restaurant). Other important meeting places for Krakow artists and activists include the “Piwnica pod Baranami” cabaret and “Klub pod Jaszczurami” club. Krakow is also a place where beautiful traditions, such as the Lajkonik Procession, Wreaths, Easter customs – Emmaus and Rękawka or Christmas fairs, are carefully cultivated. Particularly noteworthy is the Krakow's Christmas crib tradition, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Krakow is also a city of festivals! Listing them all would be a real challenge, but it is worth mentioning about a dozen, which are known not only throughout the country, but also abroad. These certainly include music festivals: Misteria Paschalia (European festival of Renaissance and Baroque music), Sacrum Profanum (one of the most interesting contemporary music festivals in Europe), Live Festival (every year at the Polish Aviation Museum there are world-class music stars playing), EtnoKrakow / Rozstaje (festival of traditional, ethno and folk music) and Unsound – the festival of electronic music. Some famous film festivals also take place in Krakow, to name just a couple of them: the Film Music Festival, the Krakow Film Festival and the independent cinema festival – Off Camera. Other important cultural events include: Photomonth, the Great Dragon Parade (an open-air show during which huge, blown dragons flow along the Vistula River), the Jewish Culture Festival (includes about 200 events promoting Jewish culture) and the Conrad Festival (literary festival combined with the Book Fair).

The most interesting events taking place near Krakow include: Reconstruction of the Battle of Racławice, March on the Kadrówka Trail, Miechów Days of Jerusalem (organised every 2 years) and Charsznica Cabbage Days.

Krakow also has rich culinary traditions and can boast of regional products. Famous local products include, among others: Charsznica cabbage, dry Krakow sausage, Green-legged Partridge carcasse and sausage products from Proszowice, Prądnik bread, Galician garlic and preserves of Benedictines from Tyniec. Of course, we cannot forget about one of the city's symbols – the Krakow bagel (for those who want to learn more about its history, we recommend a visit to the Bagel Museum).

In search of taste sensations, we recommend visiting one of the sites included on the Małopolska Gourmets Route. In Krakow and the surrounding area, it includes taverns and restaurants such as: “Wesele”, “Miód i Malina”, “Ogniem i Mieczem”, “W Starej Kuchni”, “Morskie Oko”, “Pod Aniołami” (all the above restaurants are located in Krakow) and “Antolka” in Książ Wielki.
However, life is not only about food. That's why the Małopolska Wine Route has been prepared for wine lovers. It includes, among others, the following vineyards: “Kresy” (Rzeplin n. Skała), “Srebrna Góra” (Krakow), “Dosłońce” (Racławice), “Nad Dobrą Wodą” (Garlica Murowana) and “Słońce i Wiatr” (Świńczów). Cheers!