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Great Discoveries in Kraków

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St.Adalbert Church, Market Square, Kraków

St.Adalbert Church, Market Square, Kraków

We also visited St.Adalbert Church that stands in the southern corner of the Main Market Square. It dates back to the 12th century, when it developed from the transformation of an older church, from the 10th/11th centuries built in a place connected to a sojourn of St.Adalbert. Single-nave, with a rectangular chancel, it was rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 17th and 18th centuries. Romanesque windows and a portal have been preserved, and the interior is furnished in Baroque and rococo styles. The main attraction for visitors is the archaeological museum arranged in the cellars of the church. It was interesting to see the numerous exhibits that represent the transformations of Market Square and phases of the construction of the church.

Eros Bendato sculpture created by  Igor Mitorai, Market Square, Kraków

Eros Bendato sculpture created by Igor Mitorai, Market Square, Kraków

The huge bronze head of "Eros Bendato", is a gift the city from the world-famous sculptor Igor Mitorai, who studied at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts and had tender feelings for this city. Mitoray's creativity is built on the play of antiquity with modernity. Therefore, he exhibited his sculptures not in museums, but in the open air, amidst the city noise. The giant head of Eros looks very unusual and attracts many people, especially children, who enjoy running inside the bronze head and peeping out of it. When you look at this sculpture and ponder, you might think that the head must have been accidentally lost by some Gulliver the archaeologist. The place was selected by the sculptor himself. The head has blindfolds wrapped around the eyes, which gives you the impression of emotional closure, dramatic non-perception of the world, longing for a lost paradise. When you step into the middle of the sculpture and look through the slits of Eros' eyes, you will see the corner of the Market Square, behind which the medieval university quarter spreads out.

Relax in Market Square in Krakow

Relax in Market Square in Krakow


Dining in Krakow

Dining in Krakow

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Hailed as the world’s oldest shopping centre, the Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall, has stood in the middle of Krakow Market Square for centuries. It was once full of international traders, selling silk, spices, leather and wax during its heyday in the 15th century – not just cloth. Even if walking through souvenir and food stands is not on your list of what to do in Krakow, you can go window shopping inside and perhaps choose a souvenir or two to take home. Afterwards, you can pause outside and marvel at the handsome Renaissance architecture around you.

Market Square in Krakow

Market Square in Krakow


Architectural details, Old City, Krakow

Architectural details, Old City, Krakow


There are other churches in the Old Town:

  • St. Andrew ‘s Church dating back to the 13th century,
  • St. Francis Church with stained glass windows made by Stanisław Wyspianski (Franciscans’ Order);
  • Holy Trinity Church (Dominicans’ Order);
  • the baroque style St. Peter and St.Paul’s Church (1597-1635) with beautiful furnishings;
  • the collegiate church of St. Anna (1690-1703) designed by Tylman van Gameren.

Old City, Krakow

Old City, Krakow

St. Peter and St.Paul’s Church was founded by King Sigismund (Zygmunt – in Polish) III Vasa and built for the Jesuits. It was built in Grodzka Street from 1597 to 1619. The work was conducted under Giovanni Maria Bernardoni, and later Giovanni Trevano, who designed the facade, the dome, and internal decorations. The building echoes the Jesuits’ church in Rome: it is an impressive Baroque single-nave structure with transept and chancel enclosed by a semicircular apse, flanked by two rows of chapels. The church is separated from the street by a characteristic square and dividing wall with figures of the twelve apostles towered over by the impressive two-tier facade.

MInistry of Mystery Cafe, Krakow

MInistry of Mystery Cafe, Krakow

The late Baroque high altar of St. Peter and St.Paul’s Church complements the monumental interior of the church. Most of the church furnishing dates back to the first half of the 18th century, and the decoration is consequently designed to symbolize the Western and Eastern Church. The bronze font (1528) by one of the pillars supporting the dome was transferred from the nearby demolished All Saints’ Church. Some of the sculptures within the church are especially impressive, including the tomb of Bishop Andrzej Trzebicki dating back to the end of the 17th century, the tomb of the Branicki family, designed by Kacper Bazanka early in the 18th century, and the monument of Father Piotr Skarga (mid-19th-century).

St.Andrew’s Church is a fortified Romanesque church. It is one of the oldest structures in Kraków. Built of stone late in the 11th century, it was remodeled early in the 13th. It consists of three aisles, and a Gothic brick oratory (currently the sacristy) and two towers by its western facade were added. The 17th-century towers received Baroque spires, and in the 18th century the interior was also thoroughly remodeled in the Baroque style. Inside, the eye is drawn to the black marble altar with a painting of the Blessed Salomea and the boat-shaped pulpit for the preacher. Adjacent to the church is the Convent of the Poor Clares funded by King Ladislaus the Elbow-High (Władystaw Łokietek) built around 1325 and extended in the 17th century and again in the 1840s. The convent treasures among others 14-century nativity scene figures, and relics and objects connected to the Blessed Salomea who brought the order to Poland in 1245.

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The buildings in the Old Town are made up of the most valuable complex of private houses in Poland from the 14th-16th centuries, often with later renovations. There are also buildings of the Jagiellonian University that was founded in 1462-1493. The most valuable collections are gathered in the Princes Czartoryski Museum - this is where you can see the famous paintings: "Dame with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci and "Landscape with the Merciful Samaritan" by Rembrandt.

Exploring Kaziemerz - the Jewish Quarter, Kraków

Exploring Kaziemerz - the Jewish Quarter, Kraków

Kazimierz District (also called Jewish District) founded in 1335 was a separate city until 1791. It was founded on an island separated from the city by a branch of the Vistula River. King Kaziemierz the Great, the founder of Kazimerz, dreamt of setting up a center that would be an alternative to Kraków. The Jewish people settled there at the end of the 15th century and created an extraordinary thriving community. In 1978, Kaziemierz (its medieval part and the Stradom Subuirb) along with Wawel Castle and the Old Town were included into the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List.
Kazimierz was inhabited by Christians and Jews for centuries. In the southern part of Kazimierz, a post-Renaissance town hall from the years 1619-1620 and many valuable churches have survived:

  • the Gothic-style- St. Bozego Ciala Church dating back to the years 1340-1477;
  • St. Catherine Church dating back to the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries (Augustinians’ Order);
  • the baroque basilica – Archangel St. Michael’s Cathedral with a crypt, where meritorious Poles are buried.

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The northern part of Kazimierz was inhabited by Jews, and a dozen or so of historic synagogues and prayer houses, as well as a Jewish cemetery, have survived to this day. The oldest synagogue, called the Old One, was built in the 15th century. It was rebuilt in the Renaissance form around 1570, and now it houses a museum with Jewish collections. The Remukh synagogue from 1557, rebuilt in the 19th century, is still open. The most interesting buildings of the former Jewish district are concentrated around Szeroka Street (“Broad Street”), where today there are small hotels, restaurants with Jewish cuisine and pubs with klezmer music. Jewish traditions in Kazimierz are revived every year during the Jewish Culture Festival.

At Pilsudsky Bridge, Krakow, on the way to Krakus Mound

At Pilsudsky Bridge, Krakow, on the way to Krakus Mound


Impressive sculptures at Pilsudsky Bridge, Krakow

Impressive sculptures at Pilsudsky Bridge, Krakow


On the advice of Peter the hotel owner, we visited one of the five mounds of the city: Krakus Mound. It belongs to prehistoric mounds along with other mound called Wanda Mound. Krakus Mound stands on Krzemionki plateau (near Wielicka Street). It is a 16-meter tall mound built in the 7th century AD.

Views from Krakus Mound, Krakow

Views from Krakus Mound, Krakow

One of the legends explains that the mound must be the tomb of the founder of the city — Prince Krakus, or King Krak. Many scientists believe that, just like Wanda Mound, Krakus Mound was probably a pagan place of worship and/or watch.

The Vistula Embankment, Krakow

The Vistula Embankment, Krakow

We enjoyed the view of the picturesque river banks with their wide spaces of greenery, parks, summertime markets, beer bars and boat cafes.

We saw a lot of bikers and jogging enthusiasts on the river embankment, and we merely made a pause and watched passing boats on the river, and then strolled along as we decided what to see next.

Viiting Auschwitz Museum in Oswencim

Viiting Auschwitz Museum in Oswencim

Auschwitz Memorial Museum remains one of the most important things to see in and near Kraków. It offers an informative and sensitive insight into the horrors of the Holocaust and the destruction wrought by the Nazis on the Jews and other minority groups. The memorial is around an hour walk from the railway station. We only visited one part of the museum – Auschwitz Memorial, and there is another one called Auschwitz-Birkenau, but we had no time for that. It was an emotional, moving and sobering experience.
During our stay in Kraków, we also witnessed the Ukrainian Flag Day memorial meeting at Mickiewitz monumet in Market Square

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as well as the Ukrainian Independence Day Parade held by the community of Ukrainian war refugees in Kraków. I had tears in my eyes...

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Posted by Vic_IV 11:45 Archived in Poland Tagged castle krakow park; castle; poland;

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Comments

Lovely pictures of a beautiful city.

by irenevt

Irene, I am glad you liked them. We are thinking of paying another visit to this city...

by Vic_IV

Somehow I was able to visit Market Square and NOT to see the statue of Eros Bendato, shame, it looks interesting! Glad that you saw it, and plenty of other interesting things in Crakow! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Henna, there's so much to see in this city. Therefore, no wonder you can miss some great places, but next time you can see more...

by Vic_IV

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