Location: Banks of the River Wisla
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Our holiday started in Crakow. The idea was to drive from there to Gdansk , about 600 miles to the north, visiting castles and palaces on the way.
Poland is an ideal place for castle spotters. Because of Polish history and Polish hospitality. The Teutonic Knights were invited there to protect the Poles from foreign invasion. Eventually the knights extended their line of castles with the intention of controlling the Hanseatic League and the lucrative amber trade. By 1410 the Poles, who were effectively ruled by the knights, had had enough and started a series of battles to rid the country of the knights. In 1525 it was decided to dissolve the Teutinic order. Thus leaving a series of castles, which can be recognised by their style and brick construction.
Our first castle was Wawel, which is situated in the town on the banks of the river Wisla. Wawel is a group of buildings surrounded by a wall. The main buildings are the main castle and a cathedral, plus other buildings. This was the home of the Polish monarchs for over 500 year, before the capital moved to Warsaw. Florentine architects built much of the castle. The castle is now a museum but the cathedral is still used for worship.