Lonely Planet travel guides have rated Krakow’s Main Market Square as the most beautiful in the world.
Krakow’s historic Rynek Glowny managed to beat off competition from Venice’s celebrated Piazza San Marco (2nd place) and the Jamaa el Fna in Marrakesh (3rd) in the top ten ranking.
The French wing of Lonely Planet noted that the Krakow site had “miraculously” survived the ravages of the Second World War, and that street performers and flower-sellers all do their bit in creating the magic of the square.
Lonely Planet enthused that among the most captivating times to visit the square is during the annual Nativity Scene Contest, which takes place on the first Thursday of every December. On that day, contestants line up their distinctive Christmas Cribs on the ledges of the Adam Mickiewicz monument.
Krakow’s Old Town was rebuilt from scratch after being burnt to the ground by Mongol invaders in the mid 13th Century, hence the city’s grid layout. During the Nazi German occupation of the Second World War, the square was renamed Adolf Hitler Platz. However, on the architectural level, the city managed to escape the destruction experienced by many other Polish towns and cities.
Other squares picked in Lonely Planet’s top ten include the Old Town Square in Prague, Isfahan’s Imam Square and Moscow’s Red Square.
Source: Lonely Planet, culture.pl