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AUSCHWITZ I For centuries the town of Oświęcim was a quiet backwater community, largely bypassed by world events. That changed with WWII when Oświęcim, known as ‘Auschwitz’ under German occupation, became the chosen site of the largest death camp in the Third Reich. Between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were exterminated here, etching the name of Auschwitz forever into the history books; countless films, documentaries, books and survivor accounts have since burned it into the collective consciousness, and the recent 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation on January 27th, 2015 was commemorated internationally.

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According to legend, Prince Ladislaus of Opole discovered the Black Madonna (age, ethnicity, birthplace: unknown) in the Ukranian city of Belz where it was venerated for its miraculous properties after a mysterious cloud enveloped the chapel housing the icon during the looting of the city, thus protecting it from the grubby clutches of the Tartars. Ladislaus liked the painting and apparently took it with him, bringing it to Poland in 1382 and bestowing it to the Pauline monks who had recently been granted a monastery in Częstochowa

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This is one of the biggest this type of attractions in Europe. Rafting begins in the village Kąty, and ends in Szczawnica. The route is about 15km, and the time it takes to defeat her is from 2 to 3 hours. Dunajec River gorge is the most beautiful river gorge of this type in Europe, so it is no wonder that every year attracts about 100 thousand willings. Total attract the highest peaks of the Pieniny, Three Crowns and Sokolica, which can be seen while rafting. Rafts can accommodate 10 people and consist of wooden canoes, which are tightly bound, moreover, trailing participants get to impose life jackets. Price runoff is 50 PLN per person.

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This is one of the 23 Polish landscaped parks, founded over half a century ago, is situated about 15 km from Krakow. Inside this park you can see, among others, the ruins of a medieval castle in Ojców, half renaissance castle in Pieskowa Skała, chapel on the water, Hercules club, and plenty of caves. There are many cycle paths and pedestrian so every fan of the active form of relaxation will find something for themselves.

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A visit to the salt mine begins at the Daniłowicza Shaft; buy your ticket from the adjacent ticket office and check the outside display for the time of the next guided tour in your language. Your ticket is valid for two parts of the salt mine: the Tourist Route, which comprises the first 2 hours, and the Underground Museum which takes an additional hour to visit. In between there’s an opportunity to take a break, use the restrooms and even get something to eat (or escape if that’s your preference). However, be aware that the tour does not end at the restaurant as many tour guides suggest it does to foreign groups; in fact, they are obliged to escort you to and through the Underground Museum (which you have already paid for) as well.

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Located some 50km southwest of Kraków, the small town of Wadowicefeatures a population of around 20,000 and is fairly unremarkable beyond the fact that it was here on May 18, 1920 that the future Pope John Paul II was born, an event that"s turned the otherwise sleepy municipality into a major place of pilgrimage, complete with tacky tourist trappings. Everything of interest revolves around the town"s small central square, the appropriately named Pl. Jana Pawła II, including John Paul II"s Family House - a museum dedicated to the great man"s life and work in the house he grew up in.

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Occupying a valley between the fearsome Tatra mountains and the hillside settlement of Gubałówka the town of Zakopane owes its status to one man – Tytus Chalubinski. Visiting for the first time in 1873 our protagonist was knocked out by the mountain scenery, crisp air, strange jodhpur-wearing local chaps and picture book beauty. He returned to Warsaw full of the glories of the Zakopane, and couldn’t wait to let the cat out of the bag. Within years what had been an obscure sheep-rearing community had been transformed into Poland’s favourite mountain spa – the first wave of visitors were looking to cure their breathing ailments, and they were swiftly followed by artists and authors searching for inspiration of both a spiritual and liquid kind. Composers Szymankowski and Monuiszko and literary figures like Tetmajer and Witkacy all kept quarters here, as did a pre-revolutionary Lenin, adding to the avant-garde legend that was growing around the town. By the outbreak of WWII it had become one of Poland’s most high-profile destinations, and it’s a reputation that it still enjoys. The year round population of the resort stands at 28,000, but the three million visitors who arrive annually do a good job of making it feel there’s a couple of zeroes missing from the figure.