Central Europe: Poland - Krakow's Main Market Square

By Cubie - January 11, 2015

If you are first timer to Krakow (discounting that train station or bus station or airport), the first thing you see as a tourist is probably the Main Market Square. 

1. Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny)
This is where the beautiful old building are found, instead of the stereotype communist influence buildings. The square was established in the 13th century and was the biggest square in medieval Europe at that time. However I feel the one in Prague seems bigger comparatively in current day.

The oldest church in Krakow is found in this square - Church of St. Adalbert. Together with St. Mary's Church (Kościół Mariacki), both churches appeared to be at an angle because they are aligned east-west when built. Though it is said that the churches are not crooked, the Square is.

Church of St. Adalbert
Other things at the square - an eye-catching sculpture 'The Head', outdoor cafes, souvenir stalls, musicians, etc.

Eros Bendato or 'The Head' by Igor Mitoraj
2. St. Mary's Church (Kościół Mariacki) 
The church has stood on this spot for 800 years. It feels like the church has two towers, one taller than the other. Technically, it has only one tower, the taller one is actually a municipal watchtower. Every hour, buglers plays the hejnał (pronounced "hey-now") from the watchtower.

We paid the entrance fee (10zł / €2.50 / AUD 3.50) to enter the church. The main highlight in the church is its wooden altarpiece. It is a three-part Gothic altarpiece named Veit Stoss Altar. This altarpiece was carved from the oak wood (construction) and linden wood (sculptures). From memory, I think photography is prohibited in the church because I don't have any photos of the church interior.

St. Mary's Church (Kościół Mariacki)
3. Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)
In the center of the square is this Cloth Hall. This used to be what it was named - a cloth selling place. Today, it is still a market, but sells souvenirs, bags, wood carving, chess sets, painted boxes and trinkets.

4. Obwarzanki (singular obwarzanek)
If you walkabout the market square in the morning before breakfast, you could grab one easily. There's a few stalls dotted the square. I bought one for 1.50zł / about €0.4 / AUD 0.50. True to description online, it is both bagel and pretzel like.

Even though the square is not lighted up brightly but it is worth a good walk. As luck has it, we don't have many nights with good weather in Krakow. We only had three nights in Krakow, both first and second nights was pouring with rain. K and I ran out for dinner in our shorts, slippers and rain jacket. Not a very good look and the lady who served us had threw us more than a few dirty looks. :|

Side note: Got to drag my lazy butt out or I won't have anything to eat...

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  1. Gaaa. Stop already with these beautiful posts, or I'm going to have to emigrate. Again. Gaaa.

    PS: Your banner photo ... where is that?

  2. Grin. Well, are you making a stop to krakow too? ;)
    P/s: banner pic taken from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, Italy