Situated on a rocky hill above the Vistula River is the Royal Palace and Cathedral of Krakow. It was the home of the home of the Polish Royals for more than 500 years (until the end of the 16th century when Warsaw became the capital).
The cathedral was built in 1364 and was the seat formerly held by Archbishop Karol Wojtyla from 1963 until 1978 when he was elected as Pope John Paul II
For centuries Polish kings were crowned and buried here, as well as the nations heroes and martyrs.
Chapel of Blessed John Paul II
The Sigismund Bell is the largest of the bells in the cathedral tower and was cast in 1520. The bell weighs 13 tons and required 12 bell-ringers to swing it.
The staircase was truly terrifying.
But the view was amazing.
Unlike Warsaw, Krakow was spared during WWII (the Nazis used it as their local headquarters) and contains the largest collection of tapestries of their kind in Europe.
The Dragon's Den is a legendary cave in the western slope of Wawel Hill. The oldest legend of the dragon appears around the turn of the 13th century. There was a ferocious and dreadful monster who lived in the cave and demanded cattle each week for his appetite. If the cattle were withheld the beast would kill the same number of people. King Cracus secretly called his sons to him and told them of a plan to rid themselves of the monster. The boys agreed to do as their father asked, and instead of cattle they place cow hides filled with ignited sulphur in the cave. When the beast ate he was destroyed by an internal fire.
Immediately after the monster's death the younger brother attacked and killed his older brother, ensuring that he would assume the kingdom from their father. He told the father that the beast had killed his brother - the father happily accepted this lie. Soon after the son assumed the crown his crime became known and he was forced into exile - banished forever. The great city that rose up on the rock known by the name of his father instead of him.
The area surrounding the castle is very touristic. You can buy stuffed dragons, dragon puppets, and other trinkets. And of course, every once in awhile you see someone dressed up like a pint offering free pivo (beer)!
I didn't have the free beer, but I did stop and have a waffle with nutella, delicacies and whipped cream.
"What are delicacies," you may ask. Apparently in this case they were raisins.