By  on January 11, 2007

This pair of second-most-famous cities is first-rate.

Krakow, Poland
Warsaw may be Poland’s capital, but for many Poles medieval Krakow is the proud nation’s heart. Traditionally the country’s creative and artistic center, the city, which was for centuries the ancient royal seat of the Polish kings, also played a key role through the Eighties in overthrowing Soviet Communist rule. Today, as a result of the recent boom in tourism, the city’s creative bohemianism has been pushed away from the main central square, the Rynek. Instead, cool Krakowians hang out in the crumbling buildings of the former Jewish district of Kazimierz. Although many hip Poles, having wholeheartedly embraced capitalism, are probably more likely to be heard discussing mortgages than how to transform society, the candlelit cafes and bohemian bars of the area still conjure up the old spirit of intellectual Krakow.

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