The most valuable monument of medieval Krakow, the Barbican is also known as the 'Pan' (Rondel, in Polish), and is one of the last few surviving works of the eminent European military architecture of this type. It is located between ul. Basztowa and the Florian Gate and was built in Gothic style in the years 1498-1499, due to a Turkish threat, with financial support from King Jana Olbrachta. It was connected to the so-called 'neck' - a bridge construction - from the Florian Gate, surrounded by a deep moat with running water, bridges and locks. Built on a 6 / 10 circle project, with 3 storeys of shooting ranges, it is crowned by a gallery, over which were placed seven turrets. The building has two gates, from Kleparz and the Floriańskich walls side. The latter was formed in the years 1839-1842 (after the demolition of the neck) by the architect Karol Kremer, in place of the Gothic tower from the year 1422. In front of the western gate (from Kleparz), there used to be a drawbridge over a 26-metre wide moat, supported by four stone-brick pillars.
Undoubtedly one of the most famous streets of the city, starting at the Florian Gate and constituting the beginning of the Drogi Królewskiej (Floriańska - Rynek Główny - Grodzka - Wawel), along which the monarch's processions travelled for centuries. At its beginning, a wonderful view draws attention to the street, with the towers of St Mary's church (kościoł Mariacki) in the background. Of course, modern architecture does not have much in common with that which preceded it. Most of the tenement buildings were rebuilt in the nineteenth century, and today the street is primarily a shopping arcade. Above all it is worth paying attention to the former residence of the Kmita magnate family (No. 13), Pod Różą Hotel which is decorated with a Renaissance portal (No. 14), the Pharmacy Museum (No. 25) and the house of Jan Matejko, which now houses the National Museum (No. 41) . Here, too, is Jama Michalik - a famous pastry shop, besieged by the Bohemian artists of the Młodej Polski movement. Traces of the artists can still be found inside today in the form of original drawings, caricatures, and richly-decorated architectural scenes of Krakow. Floriańska is the quintessential contemporary Krakow, where it so easy to combine sightseeing with shopping, even in exclusive stores. In a ranking prepared in 2007 by the weekly "Wprost" it was in the third place amongst the most prestigious Polish streets.
the main city gate was founded at the end of the thirteenth century, and closes ul Floriańska from midnight. At the end of the fifteenth century, the brick floor of the stone cantilever machicoulis was built and combined with the Barbican gate neck (demolished in the mid-nineteenth century). Since that time, it has become a gateway to the city featuring on the Royal Route leading to Wawel. The baroque roof of the gate was installed in 1660 by councillor Jan Zaleski. In the passageway is a shrine to Our Lady of Piasek, which was moved from the neck connecting the gate of the Barbican. The balcony on the first floor and arcades on the side of the gate were made in 1840, designed by Karol Kremer. The Neo-Gothic openwork railing on the balcony comes from 1845. During the years 1885 to 1886, Wladyslaw Czartoryski erected a chapel upstairs designed by Wandalin Beringer. On the façade of the gate, from the Kleparz side is a Piast eagle sculpture, forged by the sculptor Zygmunt Langmana, and designed by Jan Matejko; from the ul. Florianska side there was an eighteenth-century Rococo relief of St. Florian. Fragments of the medieval city walls adjoin the gate.
an incredibly busy place in Krakow, and one of the most characteristic places in Poland. It has an area of 4 ha and is the largest square in Krakow, as well as one of the largest in Europe. The square's sides are each approximately 200 m long. Almost all the tenement buildings and palaces around the market are centuries-old monuments. Here are located museums and such famous restaurants as Hawełka and Wierzynek. Café Vis-a-Vis at No. 29 was a favourite of Piotr Skrzynecki, the founder of Piwnicy pod Baranami (Cellar Under the Rams). His figure, with his characteristic hat on his head, still sits in the coffee garden. The Square also includes: St. Wojciech's Church, the Town Hall Tower, the Cloth Hall, and the monument of Adam Mickiewicz. The history of the largest square in medieval Europe dates back to the thirteenth century. Krakow was subjected to Magdeburg law on June 5, 1257, implemented by the prince of Krakow Boleslaw the Chaste. The market was created for merchants, locals and those who followed trade routes. Initially, it was owned by the ruler, but in 1358, Kazimierz the Great released the ownership rights to the city. The first cobblestones were laid in the second half of the fourteenth century. In the Renaissance and early Baroque eras, the Market Square hosted the solemn entrance of the monarch, and paid homage to kings, triumphs and parades. It was the site of many grand celebrations and historical events of the First Republic. Here, on April 10, 1525, Duke Albrecht of Prussia Hohenzollern, paid homage to the Polish King Zygmunt I. Here also took place the military oath of allegiance to the Constitution of 3 May (1791). On 24 March 1794, Tadeusz Kosciuszko swore his oath to the nation, beginning the uprising. In 1940, the German occupiers renamed the Rynek as Adolf-Hitler Platz. After the liberation of Krakow on January 18, 1945 the old name was reinstated. Today it is a meeting place, and for summer festivals, concerts, fairs and presentations, and walking. A special attraction, an underground market, was discovered in 2005 during archaeological excavations, and is now open to tourists. It provide an opportunity for an unusual journey into the past of Krakow.
St Mary's Church
Krakow's most famous religious building is situated at the eastern corner of the Market Square. This first Romanesque church was built in the first half of the thirteenth century, and the present Gothic style took shape in the fourteenth century and the first half of the fifteenth century, when the side chapels were added. The impressive, three-nave basilica has two towers of different heights. The higher one, topped with a cupola with a beautiful Baroque Gothic crown, acted as a guardian of the city and from here can be heard the bugle call of St. Mary every hour which is the musical symbol of Krakow. The most valuable artefact is the famous church altar made by Veit Stoss in the years 1477-1489. It is artistically the most perfectly-preserved in Europe, a late-Gothic altar set with sculpture. It presents the life of Mary and Christ - there is a huge selection of scenes with 200 characters, all carved in linden wood, then painted and gilded. The chancel windows are unique, preserved stained glass windows from the fourteenth century. The church interior is decorated with polychrome (1889-1891), undertaken by such individuals as Jozef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański, and designed by Jan Matejko. Of note are the magnificent stalls (XVII century) with carved scenes from the New Testament in their backs. The richly decorated, mostly Baroque altars in the nave and side chapels are filled with paintings by Giovanni Pittoniego, Szymon Czechowicz and Dominika Estreicher. Among the numerous monuments and epitaphs of Krakow's townspeople which stand out are the brown slabs of Solomon and Boners (XVI century) and the Mannerist tombstones of Montelupich and Cellari.
This historic building is located in the central part of the Market Square. Prince Boleslaw the Chaste, investing in the city in 1257, agreed to build the Cloth Hall - a place for trade fairs. This was the beginning of the street, after which continued market stalls on both sides. At night carts stopped here with commodity traders, and the exits were closed with bars. In this way, foreign merchants and their goods were assured a safe haven. These small stalls gradually formed the Cloth Hall building. Around the year 1300 an avenue of stalls were covered, and in the middle of the fourteenth century, King Kazimierz the Great expanded and modernized the building, creating a large three-aisle structure with a length of 108 metres and a width of 18 metres. This building survived in its Gothic form until 1555, when it burned down. It was restored very quickly, but in the Renaissance style, as only the beautiful Gothic gables and Gothic walls of the oblong were preserved. In the years 1875-1879, the Cloth Market Hall was rebuilt to a design by Tomasz Prylińskiego. The lower hall was converted into a string of wooden trading stalls, all spread along the walls. Gargoyles were placed on the tops of the projections, depicting a caricature of the then presidents of Krakow. Today in the Cloth Hall there are two rows of stalls, with mostly jewellery, souvenirs, handicraft or folklore items. An interesting fact is that during the German occupation, the image of the Cloth Hall was printed on 50zl banknotes issued by the Issuing Bank in Poland.
Adam Mickiewicz monument
popularly known as The Krakow "Adam", it is located in the main Rynek, by the Cloth Hall exit towards ul. Sienna. The monument, by Teodor Rygier, was ceremoniously unveiled on June 16, 1898 - the 100th anniversary of the birth of Adam Mickiewicz. The 10-metre monument represents the poet standing on a plinth at the foot of which there is a multi-stage pedestal, with four allegories: Homeland, Valour, Science and Poetry. A dedication has been placed on the pedestal: "Adam Mickiewicz's nation." On August 17, 1940, the monument was destroyed by the Nazis occupying the city. After the war it was reconstructed from parts found in 1946 in a scrap yard in Hamburg. The stone elements are made from Kośmin syenite, quarried in Piława Górna in Lower Silesia. The unveiling of the reconstruction took place on November 26, 1955, on the 100th anniversary of the bard's death. The statue is a favourite meeting place for Krakow residents and tourists, and is the centre of many celebrations, demonstrations, and other events. On the bard's name-day, December 24, Krakow florists lay flowers at the foot of the poet. Here, too, the annual Krakow nativity competition begins, Krakow fans celebrate the successes of their sports teams, and school leavers during their prom, hop around the pedestal, believing that the number of laps will help to determine their final exam grade.
This is the only street that disturbs the regular grid foundation of the medieval city, leading away from the market not at right angles, but obliquely, being like an extension of its diagonal. This street is special after all, simply because it leads to Wawel Castle as part of the so-called. Royal Route. The first section of Grodzka to pl. Wszystkich Świętych (All Saints Square), where in the Wielopolski Palace is the seat of the Municipality of Krakow, is a paradise for shoppers and patrons of restaurants and bars. The rest of Grodzka, running to Wawel Castle, is located in the area of early medieval settlements, and the so-called 'Okół', primarily attracts visitors. Here you can see, among others: the Collegium Iuridicum - one of the oldest buildings of the Jagiellonian University, pl. św. Marii Magdaleny (St. Mary Magdalene Square) with its statue of Fr. Piotr Skarga, churches: St. Peter and St Paul's (św. Piotra i Pawła) and St. Andrew's (św. Andrzeja). The latter is the best preserved Romanesque church in Krakow, erected during the years 1079-1098. At the end of the street, at Wawel, is the former Archbishop's Palace (No. 65), Wladyslaw IV's arsenal and the small św. Idziego church dating from the fourteenth century.
Basilica of the Holy Trinity
Located by the plac Dominikański and ulica Stolarska, its history dates back to the thirteenth century. In 1221, Bishop Iwo Odrowąż brought Dominican Monks from Bologna, and gave them a little Romanesque chapel. In its place stood a Gothic three-nave basilica, completed in the first half of the fifteenth century. The church entrance leads through to a neo-Gothic vestibule (1875), where there is an interesting portal from the end of the fourteenth century, with sculpted plant and animal decoration. In the second half of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the side aisles and chancel, as well as the family and guild chapels were were erected, and they were rebuilt in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. In the seventeenth century the burial chapels were formed for: Myszkowski, Lubomirski, Zbaraski. and St Jack (św. Jacka). The latter, was built on the model on the Wawel Zygmunt Chapel, which is one of the greatest works of art in Poland. It is decorated in Baltazar Fontana stuccowork (from about 1700 onwards), Karol Dankwart of Nyssa polychrome (1701) and paintings by Tommaso Dolabella from the first half of XVII century. There is also the Our Lady of the Rosary chapel (kaplica Matki Bożej Różańcowej) which was built (1685-1688) as an offering for victory in Vienna. Adjacent to the church are the monastery buildings which are clustered around three courtyard patios, erected from the thirteenth century. The Great Fire in 1850 destroyed the church, the tower and part of the cloister, but the basilica was quickly rebuilt and its interior was reconstructed.
Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Krakow was the first building to be constructed in Baroque style. Work on the construction of the church, which is dedicated to the Jesuit order, began in 1596, but unfortunately was not problem-free. As a result of construction errors the freshly-erected church walls began to crack. The builders therefore decided to demolish the walls and deepen the foundations. Finally, the church, which was modeled on the Italian Jesuit churches of Il Gesu and Sant'Andrea della Valle, was completed in 1619. The most characteristic elements of the building are the statues of the apostles built into the church wall. At present, sculptures surround the church, which are copies of late seventeenth century sandstone statues. Acid rain destroyed the originals, having washed out the figures' faces. Inside the church, it is worth paying attention to the Baroque Giovanni Battista Falconi stucco decoration, dating from 1633, and the gilded statues of the Evangelists also by the same artist. In the crypt is the tomb of the most famous Polish Jesuit priest - Father Piotr Skarga. In the church, Poland's longest Foucault pendulum can be seen (which is a pendulum that is able to move in any vertical plane). Organised presentations of the pendulum are held every Thursday.
Wawel Royal Castle
Wawel is a limestone hill with a height of 228 m above sea level on the Vistula River, in the centre of Krakow, with a range of exceptional historic monuments and artistic works. It was the seat of Polish kings, the necropolis and the place where Polish history developed from the tenth century, although people had already inhabited the hill from 100 thousand years BC. It was Boleslaus the Brave, who at the end of the tenth century, gained the Wawel settlement and Małopolska joined the Piast state. The oldest seat of the sovereign was established here in the first half of the eleventh century during the reign of Boleslaus the Brave, and Mieszko II. The Pre-Romanesque prince's residence was on the highest, north-eastern part of the hill. Wawel however only became the capital during the reign of Kazimierz the Restorer, in the years 1034-1058. At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the hill was surrounded by a stone defence wall in the place of wooden and earthen embankments. In the fourteenth century the Romanesque palace was transformed into a Gothic residence, dividing the top of the castle hill, with the royal residence built in the fourteenth century, and the bottom part, being used for service and business facilities. The peak period of architectural and artistic culture development in Wawel falls on the Jagiellon reign, especially that of Zygmunt the Old and Zygmunt Augustus. In the years 1506-1534, the Gothic palace was rebuilt as a Renaissance residence with a magnificent arcaded courtyard. This largely remains today, though not the original building. In the years 1655-1657 the palace was destroyed by the Swedes. The biggest disaster in the history of the castle, however, was caused by a fire in 1702, which consumed the Renaissance décor. This resulted in the complete destruction of the Polish partitions. In 1795, the Prussians stole the crown jewels, which have been irretrievably lost. For much of the nineteenth century, Austrian troops occupied the hill, turning Wawel into a fortress. From 1905, work was undertaken to restore the palace. In the meantime, Wawel Castle served as the residence of the Head of State, and during the Second World War was the seat of the occupying authorities and of Hans Frank's Government. Currently inside the palace are five exhibitions presenting the museum collections of the Wawel Royal Castle, entitled "the Royal Chamber", "Private apartments", "Sunrise in the Wawel Castle collection," "the Crown Treasury", "Armoury" and "Wawel". On the hill outside Wawel palace there is St. Wacław and St. Stanisław's cathedral.
The cave in the limestone rock in the Wawel Hill, according to legend, was once inhabited by a Dragon. The total underground length is 270 m, with a maximum height of 10 m. Today, this tourist attraction has an 81-metre trail to visit, which includes a descent down a former Austrian well to three chambers separated by rock. The interior of the cave was formed between 12 and 1.6 million years ago, as a result of the rock dissolution processes (known as karst topography). The first traces of man come from the seventh century legend of the cave and the Wawel Dragon, first described by master Wincent known as Kadłubek in the Polish Chronicle (in the XII / XIII century). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in a cave in the southern part, there was a famous inn described by foreign travellers and diplomats. When in the late eighteenth century new fortifications were built, the Dragon's Den was also reconstructed with some openings being bricked up and others being unveiled - among others windows with a staircase. An Overhaul was undertaken in 1918 by the architect Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz. On the wall near the exit of the cave stands a commemorative plaque, installed here in 1871, with the inscription of the Duke of Krakow, who is according to legend the founder of Krakow and the Wawel Dragon slayer. The sculpture commemorates the dragon beast, standing by the entrance to the mouth of the River Vistula - and it is the work of Krakow sculptor Bronislaw Chromy.