Locals tore down most of it, filled in the moat, and planted trees. Rate. Deep beneath the ground, the mine is filled with sculptures that miners have lovingly carved out of the salt. 4.5 out of 5 stars 28. Though the sight is a bit overrated, it's unique and practically obligatory if you're in Kraków for at least two days. The Germans bombed the sprawling gassing and cremation facilities as they retreated. Back in the 1950s, Janusz Muniak was one of the original Polish hepcats. If you don't trust me you can taste it. And nestled in the center of all this utilitarian concrete are plenty of urban charms. Kaisa: Ok, first of all, na zdrowie (toast). However, the top-notch Museum of the History of Polish Jews has rejuvenated the area, making it even more of a magnet for those interested in this chapter of Polish history. After descending 200 feet below the surface, you follow your guide on a mile-long downhill stroll, getting a memorable peek at life in the mine. $1.99. After descending 200 feet below the surface, you follow your guide on a mile-long downhill stroll, getting a memorable peek at life in the mine. They watched, and waited. I mean it's just like…wow! Everything here, including the ornate altar and the grand chandelier, is hewn from this underworld of salt. Rick Steves' Europe. Glasgow: Gritty Industry and Feisty Scottish Culture, Neuschwanstein: “Mad” King Ludwig’s Castle in Bavaria. Rate. Rick: Na zdrowie. And today, even the higgledy-piggledy charm of the buildings has been painstakingly restored. 0. Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / Poland; Please sign in to post. As Polish and Jewish culture mingled here for so many centuries, it's hard to distinguish between Jewish and Polish cuisine. And during Communism it was also very difficult and very dark, but we expressed our freedom and our political dissent by going to Mass. During the partition in the 19th century, we didn't even show on the map but we survived — thanks to being Polish, and thanks to being Catholics. Poland Rediscovered: Krakow, Auschwitz and Warsaw . Twelve new episodes include Portugal (Lisbon and the country's heartland), the heart of England, Greek islands, Sicily, and Scotland (Glasgow, Highlands, and islands). See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. If you don’t trust me you can taste it. The Nazis didn't like this inefficiency, so they built a far bigger camp two miles away. So it hurts only once. The Jewish cemeteries of Kazimierz were defiled by the Germans, bulldozed by Nazi tanks. Like much of Poland, Kraków pulses with cool jazz nightly. Back then you couldn't just sell things anywhere. Smaller text Larger text. We'll visit its historic capital, Kraków, side trip to a salt mine, and to a concentration camp, then head for Poland's modern capital, Warsaw. The Cloth Hall is still a functioning market — selling mostly souvenirs, including wood carvings, chess sets, jewelry (especially amber), painted boxes, and trinkets. And the city's legendary mermaid welcomes friends while keeping out foes. Back then, parents announced that their daughters were now eligible by getting out the paint. Chopin sits under a wind-blown willow tree. Compared to the rest of Europe, Polish churches are alive with people practicing their faith. Home / Blog: Cameron's Travels; Posted on December 28, 2018 December 19, 2019 by Cameron Hewitt. When the tour’s over a small but industrial-strength lift beams you up. The charm of today's Kraków lies in its medieval roots. A few buildings survive. Video: Watch Poland Rediscovered: Kraków, Auschwitz, and Warsaw, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. But the most powerful Holocaust memorial — I think in all of Europe — is the concentration camp here at Auschwitz, an hour's drive from Kraków. To me, the thriving city itself is the best memorial to those Warsaw heroes. We start in Kraków — it's like the Boston of Poland: a charming and vital city buzzing with history, college students, and tourists. Rick Steves' Europe. To Poles, this church is the national mausoleum. Birkenau (about 1.5 miles west of Oświęcim). In the 1930s, a quarter of Kraków's population was Jewish. It was our warm-up. Plaques — in each of the languages spoken by camp victims — explain the purpose of this memorial. Perhaps the best way to enjoy that is at a klezmer dinner concert. This season also offers a travel skills episode on cruising, and two special episodes on Europe's greatest festivals. The notorious gate welcomed inmates with a cruel lie: Arbeit Macht Frei…"work will set you free.". Chat about your favorite shows. Kaisa: Strong? Ultimately less then 10 percent of Kraków's Jews survived the war and the death camps. Each inmate had an ID number, a barrack number, and a bed number. By the 19th century, the city wall was no longer necessary. Share your comments on Rick Steves’ Europe TV shows with other travelers and with Rick! Poland. That's why I like it. While Poles and Jews managed to live together relatively well, the story became a nightmare with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Barcelona and Catalunya. The mine's enormous underground church, carved in the early 20th century, is still used for Mass. This time we're in Poland with such a rich history and a promising future. Kaisa: What a question! Thanks for joining us. Written and hosted by best-selling guidebook author Rick Steves, each half-hour show takes viewers to Europe's most interesting places, from great cities to off-the-beaten-path discoveries. Kaisa: You can chase it. It was essential to survive this harsh climate. It began as a simple, stripped-down Romanesque church in the 12th century. 8.2 (11) 0. 5 days in poland. After they were killed, everything of value was sorted and warehoused. The Nazis began moving people out at the rate of 5,000 a day to nearby death camps like Auschwitz. Because it was to be "Soviet in substance and Polish in style," Soviet architects actually toured Poland to absorb the local culture before starting the project. This thriving Jewish community — like most in Europe — was decimated during the Holocaust. Warsaw's Royal Way — a mostly buses- and taxis-only shopping boulevard — is a local favorite for strolling, and browsing, and ultimately leads you to Warsaw's historic Old Town. Few travelers take time to see the countryside. 9 Oct. 2004 Highlights of Paris. Terms of Service | Privacy, Kraków, Poland: Countryside and the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Kraków, Poland: Rich History, Vibrant Culture, Warsaw, Poland: Heroes, Memorials, and Restoration, Poland Rediscovered: Kraków, Auschwitz, and Warsaw. When the tour's over a small but industrial-strength lift beams you up. This is the oldest chapel in this part of the salt mine, Saint Anthony chapel from 17th century. I'm Rick Steves. Sigismund III — the great king who moved Poland's capital from Kraków to Warsaw in 1596 — stands overseeing everything. While Warsaw was in the sphere of Moscow and therefore more Eastern and conservative, Kraków has long been more Western and liberal. We spent two weeks in Poland last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Resilient Krakovians took this opportunity to rebuild their city with a near-perfect grid plan — a striking contrast to the narrow, mazelike lanes of most medieval towns. Jump to bottom. With Rick Steves, Andreas Clemens, Georg Reichlmayr, Holger Zimmer. Before the war, Warsaw's Old Town Square was one of the most happening spots in Central Europe. The small houses are traditionally used by three generations at the same time. The remarkable Wieliczka Salt Mine — just outside of Kraków — has been producing salt for eight centuries. I can't imagine how cold they must have been…wet, hungry, and dressed in rags. Krakow, with its bubbly Baroque and cobbled charm, is emerging as the exciting "next Prague." Up to 700 people at a time could be gassed, but it required two days to burn that many bodies here. It was here that families from all over Europe were torn apart forever. Season 9 Episode 5. Auschwitz was the biggest and most notorious concentration camp in the Nazi system. We are planning to have 2 nights at Krakow and 1 day trip to Auschwitz. Poland is ready to be rediscovered as the old "east" transforms itself into the new heart of Europe. Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Ethiopia and Guatemala. Today Wawel is the most-visited sight in all Poland. Enjoying the highlights of Poland, we'll visit its grand cultural center, Kraków, make a pilgrimage to Poland's holiest site, remember the horrors of Auschwitz, descend into a magical salt mine, feel the jazzy beat, be inspired by WWII heroics, slam down a Polish tradition…. Crutches and prosthetic limbs remind us that the first people exterminated were mentally and physically ill German citizens; children's clothing — the Nazis spared no one — and a seemingly endless mountain of shoes…it's hard to comprehend the numbers. But Auschwitz victims and their families want tourists to come here, to experience the scale and the monstrosity of the place in human terms, in hope that the Holocaust will never be forgotten. Video: Watch Prague, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. It provided extra protection at the town's main gate. Copy Copied! Season 10 of Rick Steves' Europe debuted across the US on public television in the fall of 2018. Over a million people — the vast majority of them Jews — were systematically exterminated here at Auschwitz. Rate. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, Rick climbs to the center of a pyramid, greets the ... Air Date 9/23/2020. On a balmy summer night, Kazimierz's main square, ulica Szeroka, is filled with the haunting strains of klezmer — traditional Jewish music from 19th-century Poland, generally with violin, string bass, clarinet, and accordion. In the Middle Ages, this was where the cloth sellers had their market stalls. The crematorium is marked by its chimney. The neighborhood of Kazimierz, 20 minutes by foot southeast of Kraków's Old Town, is the historic heart of Kraków's once-thriving Jewish community. Why don't you sip it? This is the oldest chapel in this part of the salt mine, Saint Anthony chapel from 17th century. Nineteenth-century houses — the few that survive — often sport colorful stripes. Nearby, a visit to Auschwitz teaches us a timeless, soul … Now he owns the Jazz Club U Muniaka, and jams regularly here in a mellow cellar. 9. Rick Steves' Europe. This hill is where Kazimierz the Great turned a small fortress into a mighty Gothic castle in the 14th century (only bits of its foundation remain, as the original fortress burned to the ground in 1499). Even though Poland's political capital moved from here to Warsaw 400 years ago, Kraków remains the country's cultural and intellectual center. Most of all, Kazimierz was remembered for being a tolerant and progressive king. Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, was a vast factory of death holding 100,000 people. Rick Steves’ Europe is public television’s most-watched, longest-running travel series. Contact Info. Rick Steves' Europe. Collapse. Since liberation day in 1945, millions have visited this place. Through all this, the Soviets sat here, across the river. Because of the ferocity of Nazi hatred, nothing remains of the ghetto except the street plan and the heroic spirit of the people who once lived here. And salt preserves everything. Skilled klezmer musicians can make their instruments weep or laugh like human voices. "Auschwitz" actually refers to a series of several camps in Poland — most importantly Auschwitz I, in the village of Oświęcim (50 miles west of Kraków), and Auschwitz II, a.k.a. It was a "gift" from Stalin in the 1950s that the people of Warsaw couldn't refuse. Today it’s busy not with miners, but with tourists. Post questions and answers about travel in Poland. It's bottoms up! 3. Paperback $37.30 $ 37. The original church was destroyed by the first Tatar invasion in 1241, but all subsequent versions — including the current one — have been built on the same foundation. Everything here around us is made of salt — even the chandelier is salt crystal. During the Nazi occupation there were two heroic uprisings: First, the Jewish Ghetto Uprising. The Nazis turned this army base into a death camp. Be sure to mention the name of the episode so that others can follow along and join the conversation. Rick: So, vodka has long been part of Polish culture? Back in Kraków, cap your day in one of the town's many jazz clubs. keywords The remarkable Wieliczka Salt Mine — just outside of Kraków — has been producing salt for eight centuries. Thankfully, these are good times for Poland. Rick: Na zdrowie…Ohh. When built, in the 13th century, this was the biggest square in medieval Europe. Several powerful museums are dedicated to telling the story. Reservations are required — whether visiting on your own or joining a guided tour. After centuries of living relatively peacefully in Poland, Warsaw's Jews suffered terribly at the hands of the Nazis. Read more. While the 1944 Warsaw Uprising is a recurring theme in virtually all Warsaw sightseeing, two sights in particular are worth a visit for anyone with a special interest: The Warsaw Uprising Monument (at plac Krasinskich) and the thorough, modern Warsaw Uprising Museum (inconveniently located a 10-minute tram ride west of the central train station — but well worth the trip for history buffs). With its bubbly Baroque and cobbled charm, exciting Kraków is emerging as the "next Prague" — a vibrant city that's a surprise hit with many first-time visitors. Season 10 Episode 1006 | 25m 2s | Video has closed captioning. In Warsaw we stayed at the Polonia Palace hotel which was also a splurge at $150 a night. Episode 310: Poland Rediscovered: Kraków, Auschwitz, and Warsaw. Rate. This post is part of a series of 10 European Discoveries for 2019 — off-the-beaten-path gems where you can escape the tourist rut and find a corner of Europe all your own. Kasia: Imagine, Poland was crunched between Protestant Germany and Orthodox Russia. They crammed Warsaw's Jews into a single neighborhood and surrounded it with a wall. Wawel Cathedral is Poland's national church — its "Westminster Abbey." Local merchants then resold their wares at a profit…and the city thrived. We don't sip vodka. With Rick Steves. Several eateries on ulica Szeroka offer klezmer music, typically starting between 19:00 and 20:00. 8. Pope John Paul II was a hometown boy and served right here as archbishop of Kraków before being called to Rome. You'll explore this unique gallery — learning both about the art and about medieval mining techniques — on a required tour. The Nazis arrived in 1939. 1. Episode 311: Budapest: The Best of Hungary. see our FAQ. The Old Town's many restaurants provide a good introduction to Polish cuisine…and central to that is vodka. Hopelessly outgunned by the Nazis, the uprising was crushed, the ghetto was demolished, and its residents were killed. Every country's had its ups and downs. About a year later, the rest of the city staged another ill-fated uprising: the Warsaw Uprising. With a million and a half visitors each year, Auschwitz struggles with crowd control. Kaisa: Okay, let's do it. 30. After dinner, we'll take a nighttime stroll, lacing together the city's piazzas and fountains. But with ambience like this, it's clear the Jewish heritage here is a rich one. Crowds got you down? Kazimierz the Great turned the Cloth Hall into a permanent structure in the 14th century. After a three-hour train ride from Kraków, we arrive in Warsaw. 2. Rick Steves' Europe. keywords Art Industrialization Poland. Eventually Kraków's power waned. Auschwitz I, where public transportation from Kraków arrives, has the main museum building, the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, and indoor museum exhibits in former prison buildings. Headstones — broken under tank treads — now create a moving mosaic wall and Holocaust monument. Art Each midday, crowds gather for a medieval moment as a nun swings open the church's much-adored altarpiece. Warsaw — pronounced "var-SHA-va" in Polish— is Poland's capital and biggest city. A church has stood on this spot for 800 years. The city's history is rich, its sights are fascinating, and the prices are some of Europe's lowest. Rick Steves' Europe. Once they saw these blue lines, village boys were welcome to come a courtin'. As we ramble through the heart of Rome, we'll admire breathtaking Bernini statues and ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's Basilica. Complete Video Script. Go 1,000 feet underground in the vast Wieliczka Salt Mine, near Kraków, to tour the inactive mine and see the statues and chapels the religious miners carved out of the black salt over the centuries. Everything had to be sold here on the market square. Video: Watch Czech Republic Beyond Prague, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. Rick Steves' Europe. 10. It was rifles, knives, and Molotov cocktails against air force, tanks, and artillery as they battled courageously for 63 days. It’s vast: nine levels…1000 feet deep…over a hundred miles of tunnels. Birkenau is on a much bigger scale and mostly outdoors, with the infamous guard tower, a vast field with ruins of barracks, a few tourable rough barracks, the notorious "dividing platform," a giant monument flanked by remains of destroyed crematoria, and a prisoner processing facility called "the Sauna.". The camp monument represents gravestones and the chimney of a crematorium. He was a great warrior, diplomat, patron of the arts, and womanizer. Kaisa: And please don't sip it. They poured out of the sewers and caught the Nazis off-guard, initially having great success. Though legendary saxophonist Janusz Muniak passed away in 2016, his famous club is still the best for all-around jazz in a sophisticated cellar environment. FREE Shipping by Amazon . But locals cherish the thought that Chopin's inspiration came from memories of wind blowing through the willow trees of his native land, Poland. Former cellblocks tell the story. You can look down the sides to see how the Main Market Square has risen about seven feet over the centuries (church open daily in the afternoon). Seeing the camp can be difficult. Until next time…keep on travelin'. Rate. Are you ready? Check your local listings for air dates. This uniquely eclectic church is the product of centuries of haphazard additions…yet somehow, it works. Up to a thousand were packed into each of these buildings. As the smoke cleared and the Nazis retreated, the Red Army marched in and claimed the pile of rubble that was once Warsaw. 2019 Discovery: Gdańsk, Poland. Rate. The ruins stand as a memorial. Rick Steves Snapshot: Kraków, Warsaw & Gdańsk contains all the complete chapters on Poland, excerpted from Rick's full-length Eastern Europe guidebook — and leaves out the chapters on other Eastern European destinations. This monument recalls the 50,000 Polish resistance fighters — the biggest underground army in military history — who launched a surprise attack on their Nazi oppressors. Then, about a year later, the entire city rose up against the Nazis in the Warsaw Uprising. Eyeglasses evoke how individuality was trashed. After years of neglect, the district began a rejuvenation in the early 2000s. It's vast: nine levels…1000 feet deep…over a hundred miles of tunnels. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the Best of Europe. By the 1930s, Warsaw — with 350,000 Jews — was one of the largest Jewish cities in the world. Two chimneys connected by a brick duct provided a little heat. Proud miners carved figures of great Poles out of the salt. Stay tuned for lots of Rick Steves’ Europe this fall — including episodes on Portugal (Lisbon and the country’s heartland), the heart of England, Greek islands, Sicily (Best of Sicily and Sicilian Delights), Scotland (Glasgow, Highlands, and islands), cruising travel skills, and two special episodes on Europe’s greatest festivals. The castle long served as a royal palace. Warsaw's huge, idyllic Łazienki Park is sprinkled with Neoclassical buildings, peacocks, and young Poles in love. European Festivals I. Nearby, the imposing St. Mary's Church — with its soaring lookout tower — has long been an icon of the city. And fountains be sold here on the Continent I would describe it Holocaust. Liberation day in one of these buildings killing was done — were disguised as showers cake. Dishes that go well with vodka: herring, cold cuts, Polish churches are alive people! Poland is one of the Town 's main gate Palace hotel which also. 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