Krakow, known as the most beautiful city of the country, is a former capital city of Poland. At present Krakow is the second largest, after Warsaw, academic center of the state. Its population reaches almost 1 million. Perfectly situated, on the banks of the Vistula River, it hosts 21 comprehensive academic institutions educating about 180000 students.
The first written record of the city’ s name we can find in 966, but archaeological findings provide the evidence that a settlement was established in the early Stone Age. From the 14th century Kraków was a place of royal coronations as well as a burial place of the Polish royal families. The latest one took place in the gothic Wawel Cathedral. Also here, in 1364, the oldest Polish university called Jagiellonian was founded. Our town has a unique atmosphere as a significant, scientific and artistic center. In a variety of cafés, you can easily meet intellectuals of various social and political backgrounds. Krakow can b-e summarized as a combination of an old city with its Royal Castle, countless churches, museums, galleries, theaters, cabarets, operetta and a pretty modern place, a city of students and international companies.
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For those of you who are staying longer, we suggest visiting Wieliczka Saltmine (about 30mins away from the city center, located in the town nearby), Auschwitz Concentration Camp (about 1-1.5 hours away; we recommend taking an organized tour, it can be arranged virtually at hundreds of places that are on the main square), or a picturesque town located in the mountains (1,5-2 hours away) called Zakopane.
Weather in Poland
As Poland is situated in the Central Europe, the climate is oceanic in the North and West and becomes gradually warmer and continental when you move towards South and East. Winters are cold (average temperature around 3°) Summer is variable, mostly nice and warm (about20°C and more). However, sometimes we can expect little rainfalls or even storms. So prepare yourself for all these meteorological conditions!
Local time in Poland
Poland is in the Central European (CET) time zone (GMT+1hr). Polish summer time (GMT+2hrs) starts and ends on the last Sundays of March and October. You can check it here.
Currency and prices
The currency in Poland is named Złoty (Zloty) . 1 Złoty consists of 100 groszy. 1 euro is about 4 zlotys (Remember to check the exchange rate when you come to Poland). You can exchange money in one of the Currency Exchange Offices (in Polish Kantor) or withdrawal Złoty in a cash machine (in Polish it is called: bankomat). We suggest do not exchange money at the airport as the rates can be outreagous. Coins: Złoty: 1, 2, 5, Groszy: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, Banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200
Remember to check the exchange rate twice – not to let any Currency Exchange Office deceive you!!!
Many national minorities that lived in Poland for centuries, especially the Jews, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Lithuanians, have influenced on our national cuisine. Polish cuisine is known as a variety of excellent smoked meat, especially sausage (in Polish: kiełbasa)
and multifarious types of delicious bread. An essential part of the main meal of the day (eaten much earlier than in the West) is soup. The most popular soups are barszcz (fermented beetroot soup, often served with uszka), żurek (fermented soup made from rye sour, served with potatoes, diced sausages and hardboiled eggs), kapuśniak (made of brined cabbage), and rosół (poultry or beef bouillon served with noodles and sprinkled liberally with parsley).
Perhaps, the best known Polish culinary classics is kotlet schabowy – fried breaded pork chop, served with potatoes and salad, Bigos (brined cabbage with a variety of meats, smoked meats and mushrooms) and gołąbki (cabbage leaves with minced meat and rice or groats, served with tomatoes or mushroom sauce) are regarded as typical national dishes too. It’s also hard to imagine Polish cuisine without dumplings, especially pierogi (boiled ones, made of noodle dough with minced meat, chopped brined cabbage and mushrooms, cottage cheese or fruit.
However, probably the most known Polish speciality is Polish vodka – clear or flavoured brands, for example Zubrówka (“bison vodka”) with a grass blade from the Białowieża Forest. Beer lovers won’t be disappointed either – Polish beer is as good as German or Czech (or even better…).
You are advised to be dressed up in business casual style during the sessions.
112 – generic emergency number 999 – ambulance
998 – fire brigade 997 – police
In case of any emergencies (but we mean real emergencies such as getting stuck at the airport, 3+ hours of delay, last minute cancellations) please contact event coordinators: Ania Ankowska @0048 735006618 or Mateusz Gierczak @ 0048 514807144. Otherwise contact the leader of the group appointed to you.