I stayed with my brother in a dorm of Jagiellonian University. Every time I went in I had to ask a rather severe-looking matron for the key, and they always wanted us to ask for it in Polish. I'm good at languages, but I could not remember the words for 306 or whatever it was. My brother's room key was the only one that had a yellow holder, so I just learned the word for 'yellow.'
The Katyn Memorial
This memorial commemorates the 21,768 Polish victims of the Katyn massacre in 1940 by the Soviet secret police NKVD in April-May 1940. It was an attempt to kill all members of the Polish Officer Corps and doctors, professors, lawmakers, police officers, other public servants, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials and priests. After the Russian invasion of 1939 all were arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents".
In 1943 after the German invasion the mass graves were discovered in the Katyn Forest, 20 kilometres West of Smolensk, Russia. As a result the Polish government in exile stopped the diplomatic relations with the Russian government.
The Soviet Union continued to deny responsibility for the massacre until 1990, when it officially acknowledged and condemned the act.
The diplomatic relation with the Russians stayed difficult, especial after the 2010 plane crash near Smolensk, that killed the Polish president Lech Kaczynski and many Polish officials.
When I first saw the branch of MacDonalds here on ul Florianska in the heart of the old town I was somewhat dismayed – perhaps the natural reaction of the western tourist who bemoans the homogenising effect that globalisation is having on city streets around the world. When we travel to somewhere like Krakow in particular, with much of its ancient architecture still intact, we want to see only local brands and traditional values exhibited on its streets.
But then our guide explained that this was only the second MacDonalds to have opened in Poland after the collapse of the Communist regime, and I started to see it through her eyes. She described the long queues outside, and the excitement of being able, at last, to do what young people elsewhere had been able to do for many years but had been disallowed for them – to buy and eat a burger at MacDonalds. This wasn’t so much about the quality of the food, and whether or not you like what is served here, but about your right to choose to eat it. Suddenly this branch of a too-ubiquitous fast-food chain became a powerful symbol of the changes that have taken place in this country during our lifetimes. I forgave its presence here and instead was thankful that I have always been free to choose to eat, or not to eat, a Big Mac.
The dragon of Krakow :-)))
Dragon (look at my picture) is a symbol of Krakow.
He lived in Wawel Hill deep cave 1000 years ago or so. Every day the dragon killed a sheep, children or even grown men and women by fire which came from it’s mouth.
And... follow the link below to read who and how wise killed the dragon.
The Pszczyna Castle.
I think this is a big mansion more than a castle. It is surrounded by a very large park and is situated near the main square of Pszczyna.
It was built as a castle in the 13th century or perhaps earlier in Gothic style. It was rebuilt and enlarged in the 17th, 18th and in the 19th centuries. The last reconstruction was done in the years 1871 and 1876 in Neo Baroque style.
Here you can admire many rooms. One of them; the Mirrors Hall serves as concert hall.
The park which surrounded the castle is dotted with various buildings and has an area with wisents (European bisons) and another with an etnological museum with wooden buildings. Unfortunately I haven't visited this area due to lack of time. I visited only the wisents one. There were only four or five of them and they were resting.
Pszczyna is located in southern Poland; some 90 km west of Krakow.