It is a full day trip to the former German Nazi extermination and concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and one of the most beautiful polish cities, Krakow. Visiting these two places helps to understand the complicated history of Poland.
We will spend the first part of the day in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous symbol of Nazi domination in Europe. It was the largest extermination and concentration camp ever built on the old continent. From 1940 to 1945 the Germans imprisoned there almost 1.5 million people, the majority of whom were Jews. It is impossible to give the exact number of victims, but it is estimated that the Germans murdered about 1.1 million men, women and children there. The camp complex is huge, so visiting it takes almost four hours. Accompanied by a guide from the local museum, you will visit prison blocks, the Wall of Death, gas chambers, a crematorium and a vast camp area. A visit to this camp makes one realize how thoroughly and carefully the Third Reich planned the complete extermination of European Jews, Poles, the Romani people and Soviet war prisoners. Auschwitz is a darksome place and the visit there is not the most pleasant but it is the place that every history enthusiast must see.
After visiting Auschwitz, we will go for lunch in a nearby town and after a short drive we will reach Krakow. The former capital of Poland has its own unique atmosphere. There are no skyscrapers, but in Krakow you can literally breathe history. Here, until the 17th century, the seat of Polish kings was located, but the beginnings of the city date back to the end of the 9th century. Today, Krakow is the second largest city in Poland and one of its most important scientific and cultural centers. Poland was ruined by Nazi Germany during the World War II. Many cities were first robbed of everything that had any value, and then methodically demolished, the best example of which is Warsaw, totally destroyed and rebuilt from scratch. Luckily, Krakow survived, and today we can still observe the original medieval street layout, impressive buildings and soaring gothic church towers. Today, Krakow is a symbol of Poland's power and wealth at the time when it was ruled by kings. After an emotionally exhausting visit to the Evil Factory, as Auschwitz-Birkenau is often called, a few hours spent in Krakow are a great escape from the cruelty of the World War II. A visit to Krakow allows to understand the complicated history of Poland and how great it would be today if the World War II didn’t destroy it.