Poland's 13 World Heritage Sites make great additions to your tour of Poland. Many are located in or near major metropolitan areas and can enrich your understanding of, and appreciation for, this country.
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Krakow's historic center exhibits hundreds of years of Polish history. Krakow miraculously escaped much of the damage that ravaged so many other Polish cities, so many of its sights are original, including Wawel Castle and its square.
An extremely popular day trip from Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mines offer a glimpse into hundreds of years of salt mining history. The biggest draw of the mines is the sculptures and rooms carved from salt.
The death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau are now a part of a museum located near Krakow that is also a memorial to victims who perished there.
Malbork Castle, near Gdansk, is a Teutonic Knight's Castle that is now a museum. The castle's exhibits illustrate medieval life as it was lived there and is popular with adults and children alike.
Warsaw's historic center was almost completely destroyed over the course of WWII, but resourcefulness and determination helped to rebuild it to former glory. Warsaw's Old Town, carefully reconstructed, is a testament to community spirit and resolve.
Torun is the birthplace of Nicholas Copernicus, and many sites in this medieval town are associated with the famous astronomer. Museums, the ruins of a castle, and other sites make Torun a potential side trip from Gdansk.
The World Heritage Site in Wroclaw is its Centennial Hall, which is recognized for its innovative architectural design. Those who visit Wroclaw may find it convenient to visit the nearby Peace Churches in Jawor and Swidnica.
The Old City of Zamosc has been made a World Heritage Site because it is an example of Renaissance urban planning that remains virtually intact due to a fortification system that protected the town from invaders.
The Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland (Malapolska Province) are examples of medieval wooden religious architecture that exist today in small villages in the southeastern part of the country. The architecture is notable for its construction and design, and preserved polycrhome paintings on the interiors of the churches are also significant.
Straddling the Polish-German border, Park Muzakowski (also known as Muskauer Park) is a shared World Heritage Site. Its landscape designer sought to "paint with nature," and his style diverged from the style of landscape architecture that had been seen in Europe up until that time. Buildings on the premises can also be visited - one has been converted into a museum to tell the story of Prince Muskauer and his park.