Saturday, 23 May 2015

Old Town of Kraków

I have shown you the Eastern and the Southern parts of the old Kraków. So let me take you on a trip from the North. The first what you see is a masterpiece of medieval military engineering - the Barbican, a circular fortress with 3 meters walls just outside of the moat, which served as a checkpoint for all travellers entering the city.

And the miniature of my size is also available, to let you see its shape, with 7 turrets. The Kraków Barbican is one of only 3 still left in Europe and the best preserved.

The moat is not needed any more so it was changed in a beautiful park called Planty, ...

... surrounding all the Old City of Kraków.

As you can see on the map, the Barbican was on the opposite end of the city to the Wawel Castle, so it became the starting point for the Royal Route used by kings' horses for coronation processions, parades and funerals. After moving the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to Warsaw it was also the way the royal court came to Kraków. Nowadays you can also follow the route with the help of horses. Here you have a carriage stop ...

and here comes the carriage as well as two of my cousins.

So let us take it and after the Barbican we go through St. Florian's Gate.

Here you can see the only part of the medieval city walls still preserved.

The artists use this place since more then century. I advise you to buy there a painting, you never know, maybe the author will become as popular as Jan Matejko.

Then the kings' horse went down the Florian street to the main city church visible at its end.

Yes, this is the famous St. Mary's Basilica.

Yes, it is huge, but again there is a miniature to let you see it whole.

Let me take you inside.

If you expect the XV century gothic church to be dark you will be surprised. This is my favourite church interior with fabulous ceiling in its back ...

... and the front part with the cross.

But at the end comes the medieval sculpture masterpiece:

The Alterpiece of Veit Stoss, the largest alterpiece in the world.

Did you notice the difference between the two images above ? Is it the same place ? Yes, my friends. Because the alterpiece is a tryptych, which is being daily ceremonially opened at 11.50.

But since it is almost noon, let's go outside to listen to a trumpet signal called Hejnał Mariacki. It is really played from here every hour.

You can listen it live all over the world daily at noon CET/CEST thank to the Polish Radio. The trumpeter made the Basilica famous in United States, thanks to the children novel The Trumpeter of Krakow, which won the Newberry Medal.

The basilica is located in one of the corners of the Kraków's Main Square which at roughly 40.000 square meters is diffcult to be shown in one image. So lets look right from the basilica, ...

... left from the basilica, ...

and let's take the walk through the square, to see the oldest church of Kraków - St. Adalbert's, with walls and portal from XI century, and ...

... to the renaissance Cloth Hall, the city icon, which is situated at the square center.

And it still performs its duty for 500 years.

Going the Royal Route you will take the Grodzka street ...

and passing the churches of St. Peter and Paul and of St. Andrew ...

you will reach the archibishop palace, where Karol Wojtyła, better known as John Paul The Second, has lived before going to Rome.

Going further we would reach the Wawel Hill that I have shown you last week. This way we finish our visiting, but please do not think you know the city. Because the main component of the city are its people, and people in Kraków are fantastic, not only by what they wear. I wish you much great time in Kraków!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I wasn't in Kraków, but I'm sure I will visit that city. It's beautiful and important.
    Hey, I love your idea with mini horse! =)


  3. Kraków <3
    Ostatnie zdjęcie najlepsze :)

  4. Byłam już tyle razy w Krakowie, że praktycznie wszystko z tego wpisu miałam okazję zobaczyć :) Bardzo lubię spacerować po tym mieście, choć chyba troszkę mi się znudził ten typowy Kraków i w końcu chciałabym zobaczyć Kazimierz, którego naoglądałam się w filmach, a niestety nic z tego nie widziałam na oczy. Fajnie jest spotkać swoich kuzynów, choć akurat w tym mieście są oni bardzo popularni :D