Krakow’s Market Square is history heaven. Rynek Główny in Polish, or just Rynek for short, is one of Europe’s biggest medieval town squares. Right in the middle of the Old Town between Wawel Castle and the part of the Royal Road leading to the Barbican, it has always been considered to be the center of Krakow. Except for the town hall that hasn’t survived, the square’s current state is based on its design when it was rebuilt in 1257 after the Mongols destroyed it in their invasion of 1241. However, you can see the Town Hall Tower.
It’s so lively because it is filled and lined with historic townhouses, churches, restaurants, cafes, museums, and of course, market stalls in the Cloth Hall, which was rebuilt in 1555. There were market stalls outside the Cloth Hall as well and while I was there, there was a special market that began halfway through my trip with people selling everything – souvenirs, food, clothes, you name it.
Like many other city squares, it was used for executions and royal events since it’s part of the Royal Road. That can be easy to forget because of the lively market atmosphere and of course, the dominating Gothic towers of St. Mary’s Basilica, which is worth visiting.
St. Mary’s is worth visiting. You have to pay extra to be able to take photos inside; it was something like five zlotys. Anyway, I came across a photo of Nazis posing in front of it in Schindler’s Factory; with that and considering all other aspects of Krakow’s heart-breaking Nazi history, it was easy to imagine Nazis in Krakow’s Market Square, which they renamed Adolf Hitler Platz. ↓
Here’s a more pleasant view of St. Mary’s along with the beautifully dressed horses ready to take tourists for a comfortable ride. ↓
Here’s a closer look at the Town Hall Tower, the only surviving part of the Town Hall. ↓
I mentioned earlier that there was a special market that began about halfway through my trip, and that included cultural entertainment. I stumbled upon a group of grandfathers who were playing traditional Polish music, so here’s a video to conclude this week’s Photo Friday. Music is a universal language, and there’s nothing like a country’s traditional music to bond locals and tourists alike.
Do you like city squares?