Food for the Soul: Kraków, the City of Art

Rembrandt. Landscape with the Good Samaritan (1638). The Princes Czartoryski Collection, National Museum, Kraków. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Nina Heyn – Your Culture Scout

Europe has many places that are a perfect combination of art and history. One city that possesses this ideal combination in spades, but is less visited than it deserves, is Kraków in southern Poland. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, it was the country’s capital, complete with a massive royal castle and one of the oldest universities in Europe (Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364). Kraków is full of old churches decorated by the most prominent artists of the time; pretty stone houses adorned with interesting architectural details; and hotels, stores, and banks featuring stained glass windows that are masterpieces of Art Nouveau. Over time, Kraków has survived the capital being moved to Warsaw in the 16th century, almost 150 years of Austrian occupation, Communist rule involving significant persecution of private ownership, 650 years of visits of heads of state and, in the 2000s, hordes of tourist frat parties.

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