When it comes to historical architecture, Europe has some of the best. Poland is much like any other European country with its wide array of architectural landmarks. Sadly, you can’t possibly see all of them if you’re low on budget or travelling around Poland for a limited time. In times like these, it would be wise for any traveller to allot his time and money in seeing the country’s best architectural attractions.
1) St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kraków
The city of Kraków is popular for its churches but nothing compares to St. Mary’s Cathedral. Other than its unusual towers, the church looks plain from the outside. Inside however, colorful and extravagant décor are waiting for your eyes to feast on. Its main attraction is the 15th century altarpiece made of wood. It is the biggest wooden altarpiece throughout Europe.
2) Wawel, Kraków
Though not a cathedral, Wawel is a wildly popular attraction in Kraków city. The castle can be traced back to the 10th century and for several more centuries, it served as the home to Polish royalty.
3) St. Mary’s Basilica, Gdansk
It is the world’s largest red-brick church, not to be confused with the St. Mary’s Cathedral of Kraków. Its architectural style is Brick Gothic. Inside the basilica are 31 chapels and a nave which altogether have enough space for more than 20,000 people. According to history, it became a shelter to members of the Solidarity Trade Union on 1981 when martial law was imposed on the city.
4) Marlbork Castle
The largest brick castle in the world, it’s no wonder why Marlbork Castle later became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It encapsulates the strong influence of the Teutonic Knights on the region. Despite its medieval architecture it is considered more as a cultural than a historical heritage. It is one of the top reasons to visit Poland.
5) Ksiaz Castle, Wabrzych
The large castle has 400 rooms but it didn’t start out this way. The original structure was put up in the 13th century and was later expanded and rebuilt. In addition to size, this resulted in its combination of architectural styles. Ksiaz Castle is a weird blend of Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, and Neoclassical architecture.
6) Zamosc Synagogue, Zamosc
The landmark is reminiscent of the Jewish community which thrived in Zamosc before the World War II. While every city in Southern Poland had a similar community, none have survived as well as this one.
7) Kodzko Fortress
Built in the middle of the 18th century, it played an important role in several occasions. It had an impact on disputes between Bohemian and Polish kingdoms and later, between Austria and Prussia. When the World War II erupted, Nazis held their prisoners in this fortress. Its network of underground tunnels was also used for keeping troops and escaping.