©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | This hill is where Kazimierz the Great turned a small fortress into a mighty Gothic castle in the 14th century (only bits of its foundation remain, as the original fortress burned to the ground in 1499). His scribes bragged "Kazimierz found Poland made of wood, and left it made of brick and stone" — he even made it onto the 50-złoty note. Be sure to mention the name of the episode so that others can follow along and join the conversation. 13. Eventually Kraków's power waned. The remarkable Wieliczka Salt Mine — just outside of Kraków — has been producing salt for eight centuries. It's free to reserve, but spaces book up very early. In the 14th century, when other nations were deporting Jews, King Kazimierz actively welcomed them. Art As the smoke cleared and the Nazis retreated, the Red Army marched in and claimed the pile of rubble that was once Warsaw. This monument recalls the 50,000 Polish resistance fighters — the biggest underground army in military history — who launched a surprise attack on their Nazi oppressors. Rick Steves' Europe. For centuries, generations of Wieliczka miners spent their daylight hours underground, rarely seeing the sun. Are you ready? Travel engages me with our world, and helps me feel fully alive. In Warsaw we stayed at the Polonia Palace hotel which was also a splurge at $150 a night. It was rifles, knives, and Molotov cocktails against air force, tanks, and artillery as they battled courageously for 63 days. Wawel Cathedral is Poland's national church — its "Westminster Abbey." The gas chambers — where the mass killing was done — were disguised as showers. Video: Watch Czech Republic Beyond Prague, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. Vodka, after it's chilled properly, pours thickly into the glass. Oct 1, 2004. With a million and a half visitors each year, Auschwitz struggles with crowd control. The Palace of Culture and Science — Poland's tallest building, at over 700 feet — is a Warsaw landmark. Rick Steves’ Europe Seasons . But locals cherish the thought that Chopin's inspiration came from memories of wind blowing through the willow trees of his native land, Poland. Rate. After dinner, we'll take a nighttime stroll, lacing together the city's piazzas and fountains. YEAR PRODUCED 2003. The Nazis didn't like this inefficiency, so they built a far bigger camp two miles away. Each inmate had an ID number, a barrack number, and a bed number. Glasgow: Gritty Industry and Feisty Scottish Culture, Neuschwanstein: “Mad” King Ludwig’s Castle in Bavaria. Locals tore down most of it, filled in the moat, and planted trees. Stay tuned for lots of Rick Steves’ Europe this fall — including episodes on Portugal (Lisbon and the country’s heartland), the heart of England, Greek islands, Sicily (Best of Sicily and Sicilian Delights), Scotland (Glasgow, Highlands, and islands), cruising travel skills, and two special episodes on Europe’s greatest festivals. Ghetto Heroes Square — now surrounded by bland Soviet-style apartment blocks — marks the heart of what was the Jewish ghetto. If he pointed to the left, the person was judged strong enough to work and would live a little longer. 30. And salt preserves everything. It's a member of the European Union, its economy is thriving, and it's never been more fun to visit. Please suggest what else can we do/see in other 2 days? We'll visit its historic capital, Kraków, side trip to a salt mine, and to a concentration camp, then head for Poland's modern capital, Warsaw. Warsaw's Royal Way — a mostly buses- and taxis-only shopping boulevard — is a local favorite for strolling, and browsing, and ultimately leads you to Warsaw's historic Old Town. Explore Poland! Rate. During the Nazi occupation there were two heroic uprisings: First, the Jewish Ghetto Uprising. Dzień dobry. Rick Steves TV Episodes. 5 days in poland. This is the oldest chapel in this part of the salt mine, Saint Anthony chapel from 17th century. Rate. It’s vast: nine levels…1000 feet deep…over a hundred miles of tunnels. At Birkenau the Nazis gassed and cremated over 4,000 people per day. Wieliczka, a salt mine 10 miles southeast of Kraków, is beloved by Poles. A monument to Fryderyk Chopin, Poland's great Romantic composer, graces the park's rose garden. Rate. In the northeast corner of Europe, Poland is one of the largest countries on the Continent. Sigismund III — the great king who moved Poland's capital from Kraków to Warsaw in 1596 — stands overseeing everything. As we ramble through the heart of Rome, we'll admire breathtaking Bernini statues and ponder sunbeams inside St. Peter's Basilica. The Nazis turned this army base into a death camp. It was essential to survive this harsh climate. Rate. Seeing the camp can be difficult. "Auschwitz" actually refers to a series of several camps in Poland — most importantly Auschwitz I, in the village of Oświęcim (50 miles west of Kraków), and Auschwitz II, a.k.a. Kraków grew wealthy from trade in the 12th century. While the 1944 Warsaw Uprising is a recurring theme in virtually all Warsaw sightseeing, two sights in particular are worth a visit for anyone with a special interest: The Warsaw Uprising Monument (at plac Krasinskich) and the thorough, modern Warsaw Uprising Museum (inconveniently located a 10-minute tram ride west of the central train station — but well worth the trip for history buffs). Season 10 of Rick Steves' Europe debuted across the US on public television in the fall of 2018. keywords Several sights in Warsaw commemorate those who were murdered, and those who fought back. After a three-hour train ride from Kraków, we arrive in Warsaw. Today, while note quite as slick and polished as Prague's Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz's assortment of synagogues, cemeteries, and museums helps visitors appreciate the neighborhood's rich history. The Nazis arrived in 1939. Stream Poland - Travel with Rick Steves by Travel with Rick Steves from desktop or your mobile device And learning from this country's recent past, I'm reminded we have much to be thankful for and much to be vigilant against. Several powerful museums are dedicated to telling the story. Now he owns the Jazz Club U Muniaka, and jams regularly here in a mellow cellar. It's close to every Polish heart. Even though Poland's political capital moved from here to Warsaw 400 years ago, Kraków remains the country's cultural and intellectual center. We spent two weeks in Poland last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Rick: Na zdrowie…Ohh. Because it was to be "Soviet in substance and Polish in style," Soviet architects actually toured Poland to absorb the local culture before starting the project. After descending 200 feet below the surface, you follow your guide on a mile-long downhill stroll, getting a memorable peek at life in the mine. CATALOG NUMBER 310.3. He granted them special banking and trading privileges, and established the long-standing tradition of Poland being a safe haven for Jews in Europe. The notorious gate welcomed inmates with a cruel lie: Arbeit Macht Frei…"work will set you free.". That's why I like it. The neighborhood of Kazimierz, 20 minutes by foot southeast of Kraków's Old Town, is the historic heart of Kraków's once-thriving Jewish community. The neighborhood of Kazimierz — named for the king — was a thriving and autonomous Jewish community for centuries when most of the world's Jews lived here in Poland. One of Europe's most gasp-worthy public spaces, it bustles with life. But Poland's been particularly hard hit through the ages. It's also the city's edgy, hipster culture center — jammed with colorful bars, creative eateries, and designer boutiques. Plaques — in each of the languages spoken by camp victims — explain the purpose of this memorial. European Festivals I. Sevilla does festivals with gusto. Written and hosted by best-selling guidebook author Rick Steves, each half-hour show takes viewers to Europe's most interesting places, from great cities to off-the-beaten-path discoveries. To me, the thriving city itself is the best memorial to those Warsaw heroes. Rate. (The Nazis didn't want a panic.) So if all you want is the best of Poland, this compact Snapshot guide delivers everything you'll need to know — for about half the price and half the bulk. Kasia: Let's go to a very special place. Complete Video Script. This square is where Kraków lives…kids practice breakdancing, horse carriages take you for a ride, and folk bands add traditional color. 9 Oct. 2004 Highlights of Paris. It provided extra protection at the town's main gate. If you don't trust me you can taste it. The memorial reads, "a cry of despair and a warning to humanity." The mine’s enormous underground church, carved in the early 20th century, is still used for Mass. Kaisa: Okay, let's do it. Kazimierz the Great turned the Cloth Hall into a permanent structure in the 14th century. Today it's busy not with miners, but with tourists. Respectful tourists are welcome. By the 19th century, the city wall was no longer necessary. Today it’s busy not with miners, but with tourists. Skilled klezmer musicians can make their instruments weep or laugh like human voices. As Polish and Jewish culture mingled here for so many centuries, it's hard to distinguish between Jewish and Polish cuisine. Take me as example, I'm 65 years old and I'm still fresh, still young. Episode 311: Budapest: The Best of Hungary. 7. Rate. Season 5 Episode 3 | 25m 4s | Video has closed captioning. Birkenau (about 1.5 miles west of Oświęcim). A quarter of a million Poles were killed. While Poles and Jews managed to live together relatively well, the story became a nightmare with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Downtown has a Gotham City ambience — with busy boulevards, expansive squares, and blocky buildings. We're having some traditional Polish dishes that go well with vodka: herring, cold cuts, Polish pickles, and steak tartare. Once they saw these blue lines, village boys were welcome to come a courtin'. And the city's legendary mermaid welcomes friends while keeping out foes. 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