A few years ago, I had the pleasure of discovering the wonderful city of Krakow, Poland. It exceeded my expectations in many ways and opened my eyes to the fact that it’s a fantastic city to visit as a performing ensemble.
Krakow has always been a hub for Polish academic, cultural, and artistic traditions. It was lucky enough to escape destruction during WWII; therefore the architecture all over the city is still intact and truly outstanding. The Main Market Square is the biggest pedestrian square in Europe and contains the immense structure of the Renaissance Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) in the middle of the square.
Wawel Castle, built in the 14th century, sits high on a hill overlooking the city and is a must-do for any visitor to Krakow. There are several important neighborhoods within the city, one of which includes Kazimierz, the Jewish District, which is notable for its many renaissance buildings and charming streets. I also had the opportunity to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which has a “room” big enough to hold concerts inside! Wouldn’t that be an unforgettable venue to perform in?!
Krakow also has a rich musical tradition which can be experienced through various outlets in the city. Opera Krakowska, the leading national opera company in Poland, stages 200 performances each year, including operettas, ballet, and musicals. The Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra performs in the beautiful hall bearing its name, which is the city’s primary concert hall. Krakow also houses the alma-mater of the contemporary Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki; the Academy of Music, founded in 1888.
And the food, oh the food! Pierogis, kielbasa, mushroom soup, zurek, cabbage rolls, borscht, cucumber soup…oh my! You just can’t go wrong.
Krakow should be on everyone’s list as a fabulous destination for performance tours!
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