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Krakow City Tour
Krakow - Main Market Square (Rynek)

Wawel Hill

Krakow - Wawel Castle (Kanonicza Street)
Krakow - Cathedral (Wawel Castle)

The first known settlements were made on Wawel Hill in the Palaeolithic era. On this same hill was erected the Cathedral of a newly established bishopric sometime after 1000 AD. The cathedral is the coronation church and the home of the order of St. Stanislaw and St. Jadwiga, Queen of Poland. The central part of the cathedral houses St. Stanislaw's silver coffin and the Sigismund Chapel. Its dome is covered with gold tiles and is considered to be the finest example of the Italian Renaissance north of the Alps. This fine church is a true national Pantheon of Polish kings and national heroes. The Royal Castle The first Romanesque castle was built from the 10th to the 11th centuries and was the residence of King Sigismund the Old. It was rebuilt by Italian architects with the largest Renaissance courtyard in Europe. The Flemish tapestry collection of Sigismund Augusts - 138 tapestries of various size and character - decorates the royal chambers today. These Royal Chambers, the Treasury with royal gems and the Castle Arsenal with a collection of antique weapons, are well-preserved. The Royal Castle on Wawel Hill is the most popular and richest museum in Poland.

Old Town

Krakow - Main Market Square (Rynek)
Krakow - Old Town
Krakow - Main Market Square (Rynek)
Ladie with Heremine (Leonardo da Vinci) - Czartoryski Museum, Krakow

Visiting the Old Town with its spirit of historical Cracow you can admire the unique architecture of the city: medieval fortifications, tenement-houses, the renaissance building of the Cloth Hall, many churches from the 14th to the 17th centuries including the world-famous St. Mary's Church. The Old Town Market Square is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. Its surroundings - unchanged for nearly 700 years - include buildings of historic value such as St. Mary's church, the Town Hall Tower, the Romanesque St. Adalbert's church (oldest building of this area), the "Wierzynek" restaurant and the burgher's magnificent houses and palaces.

In the middle of the square is the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), a building of gothic style from 14th century, with renaissance upper floor. This fine building performs its commercial functions even today, housing plenty of stalls and shops, inside which every tourist will find something to buy –amber and silver jewellery, handmade wooden works and folk art pieces. On the first floor we find the gallery of 18th and 19th century Polish paintings and sculptures including works by such great Polish painters as Jan Matejko and Josef Chelmonski.

St. Mary's Basilica is a fine gothic church dating back to the 12th century. From the higher tower you can hear "Hejnal" every hour. The altar is the masterpiece of the genius woodcarver of Nuremberg, Wit Stwosz (1477 - 1489), at which both the master and his pupils worked for twelve years. Take time to sit and contemplate the beauty and realism of the figures, up to 2.7 metres high. In addition there are works of art going back as far as the 12th century. The beautiful stained-glass window from the XIX century designed by Stanislaw Wyspianski, which make the beauty of the interior.

Visit to Collegium Maius - the oldest preserved university building in Europe. Cracowian Academy, one of the earliest European universities, was established in 1364. The Collegium Maius houses a museum with astronomical instruments used by Nicholas Copernicus, who was a student of Jagiellonian University in 15th c. and also the world's first globe (1510) that shows a fragment of the American east coast.

The Czartoryski Museum The oldest historical museum and art museum in Poland, this was founded by Izabela Czartoryska in 1801, the wife of Price Adam Czartoryski. During WWII a part of the collection was confiscated by the Nazis and many valuable objects have not been recovered to this day. Happily, Leonardo da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine" – one of only three existing da Vinci oil paintings - and Rembrandt's "Landscape with the Good Samaritan" were returned to the Museum and are now the most precious works of the museum. The collections of porcelain, weapons and royal relics are also well worth viewing.

Duration: from 4 hours up to 2-3 days

  • Hi Tadeusz,

    All the men agreed that it was a very enjoyable trip. Thanks very much for your help.

    Thanks again

    I.R.- UK

Cracow Spirit 2001 - 2014