Many of the other major cities of Europe display a subtle charade to tourists, which our Munich guide Adam referred to as the "Bombed Style" of architecture. In short, many MANY of these old buildings in the center of town simply *aren't* old. They're cleverly crafted copies done in the style of the demolished original. So great was the destruction in some places that cities like Frankfurt and Munich held town votes to decide how to go about rebuilding the city; bulldoze and start over or rebuild it like it was (We have the technology...). In Frankfurt they decided that the Etch-a-Sketch had been shaken beyond saving; they literally redrew the city map and filled in with whole new buildings. Munich, by a close vote, went the other way, opting to preserve their historic feel and rebuild the city to look like it did ante-bellum (before it got it's bell rung). This gave birth, somewhat unceremoniously, to the "Neo-" style of architecture. You had a Gothic city hall that got asploded? The replacement is the "Neo-Gothic" Rathaus. Lost your government building dating back to the Renaissance? How about a good-as-old "Neo-Renaissance" copy on the same spot? (Plus a nice little modernist touch: Large glass and steel sides on the office, facing the public park so that the citizens can look in and watch their government at work. Methinks the architect was making a statement...)
Prague made its tourist reputation on its similar fortune of not having been rubbled during the war, and I hear that, as much as Krakow touts itself as "the next Prague", the real thing is still king. All in all, Krakow has had its charms but for me it will remain firmly in Budapest's shadow. I'm ready for the train; old Praha has promised a lot and I really want to see it deliver.
Bonus feature: Scavenger Hunt!