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Country you must visit, Poland


With new air routes into Szczecin, Katowice and Gda?sk, exploring the many delights of Poland just got a whole lot easier in 2016, which also sees the 30th anniversary of the European Capital of Culture award, which has bought cities such as Riga, Rotterdam and Porto to world attention.
This year the spotlight turns on Wroc?aw in Poland’s Lower Silesia. This cultured and compact city rose again from the ashes of World War II and sits alongside the River Oder; it is often overlooked in the headlong rush to gorgeous Kraków but is just as enchanting. Wroc?aw has a dreamy ensemble of architecture from medieval to modern, an immaculately restored Market Square, a Gothic cathedral, red-brick churches and tranquil backwaters on Tumski Island.

A host of exhibitions, fairs and public concerts are slated to take place across the city in 2016, along with literary events as it also takes on the mantle of UNESCO’s World Book Capital City. And Kraków gets its moment in the limelight this year too, with the arrival of Pope Francis to mark World Youth Day between July 25–31; this has a profound significance for the Poles as their beloved Pope John-Paul II regarded Kraków as his spiritual home. Thousands of young Catholic pilgrims will flock into the historic city to witness Francis celebrating Holy Communion and to parade the World Youth Day Cross and Icon through the streets.