Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Wawel Hill

The Wawel Hill in Kraków is one of the most important hills in Poland. It is located just next to the best crossing of Vistula river,.

It is high enough to give the defenders natural cover and distant view to notice the danger early. It is also huge enough to gather significant garnisson and its logistical support.

So you should not be suprised it was settled for the last 100.000 years. The first legendary castle existed here already in VIII century and for sure the first cathedral was erected here in anno domini 1000. Below, you can see the remains of the St. Michael's chapel from XII century.

If you came as a foe you had to climb the high bastions covered by the fire from the flanks.

To enter the castle as friends you should instead take this steep road, the times when we horses could helped you are unfortunatelly over.

To assess better the size and the location of many building on the hill here comes a miniature of the place. I like it a lot because I perfectly fit into the size.

The Wawel Hill is so important for the Polish history because it hosted for more then five centuries Polish kings in the Royal Castle (on the right) and the Wawel Royal Cathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus (on the left) hosts them till now.

Although the oldest parts of the castle come from the times of Kazimierz The Great, its current look in reneissance style we owe to the Golden Age of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, King Sigismund the Old and his wife Queen Bona Sforza.

The most impressive part of the castle is its XVIth century internal courtyard.

Since now Poland is a democracy, the castle hosts today a museum with royal chambers. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures inside but you can have a glimpse at the interior of the castle under this link.

The remains of the great old times are exhibited in the Crown Treasury and Armory.

In the Armory you can see many weapons, like the very versatile halberds ...

... the crossbows ...

... and the muskets that replaced them.

I have told you that the kings are still on the Wawel Hill, because in the cathedral you can find the tombs of Polish Kings from Władysław I the Elbow-high to Augustus II the Strong. They are covered with the sarcophagus sculptured at the times of the funerals, presenting the almost real look of the kings.

Most of what you can see was constructed in XIV century, as a third try after two earlier fires, but there are inside parts, as the St. Leonard's Crypt which date to XI century. You can enter the cathedral but not to take pictures inside.

Please notice the bone left above the entrance.

It belonged to the Wawel dragon. He lived in the Dragon's Den just below the hill.

If you have never been to the dragon's apartment it is the only chance.

It is colourful,

equipped with electricity

and really high. The host waits outside.

If you wait a few minutes he can even breathe fire for you. If you are brave enough to catch him with your hands, they will be hot enough to let you have a star on the boulevard between the Hill and the Vistula river. The company there is really spendid.

But no horseshoe by now. Maybe some knight wants a ride ?


  1. Na Wawelu byłam tylko raz, zobaczyłam sporo zakamarków i jakoś nie do końca mnie do siebie to miejsce przekonało. Widok z Wawelu już tak, bo dość ładnie widać Wisłę :) Nie byłam w Smoczej Jamie, ale smoka widziałam i to nie raz. Jest on chyba typowym "Must see" wśród szkolnych wycieczek :p

    1. Oj tak, przy smoku tłum niemożliwy, wycieczek mnóstwo choć nie tylko szkolnych.