Krakow sights, Poland.

Krakow sights

In the catalog below you will find the most interesting sights of Krakow – museums, castles, parks – with photos and descriptions in Russian. Each object is marked on a map, museums addresses, opening hours and entrance fees. To remote places there is an itinerary. Section with reviews of attractions in Krakow will help to better understand your own preferences.

Krakow is the third largest city in Poland after Warsaw and Lodz. Poles say that the past, present and future of the country can be found in Warsaw, but its soul lives in Krakow. It is considered the cultural and tourist capital of Poland. Its historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The writer Stanislaw Lem, Nobel laureates Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska, and Pope Karol Wojtyla all lived here.

Ancient myths and legends associated with Krakow are peculiarly intertwined with each other. They entangle castles and fortresses, natural monuments and national parks. Legend has it that Krakow was named after the prince who defeated the dragon, living in a cave at the foot of Wawel Hill.

World War II brought a lot of troubles to Poland. Warsaw suffered a lot, but Krakow managed to preserve its priceless cultural heritage. You can get acquainted with it during leisurely walks. Why leisurely? Because no one is in a hurry anywhere in Krakow.

What to see in Krakow. Where to go

Krakow’s Old Town is its historical center, which includes many ancient sights.

Schindler’s Factory Museum is a modern, interactive museum that was opened in 2010. This museum.

Ojcowski National Park is the smallest park in Poland, with an area of 21.46 square kilometers. It is located.

Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow is a whole architectural complex, the most important symbol.

Kazimierz is a Jewish town, which became part of Krakow only in the 19th century. Before that, the area.

Florian Gate is a gate located in the fortress wall of Krakow. They were built in 1307.

Krakow National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie) was founded in 1879. The beginning of the collection began with a painting.

Czartoryski Museum is a major art museum in the Krakow National Museum. The museum was created.

Krakow sights on the map

  • Krakow information
  • Krakow Weather
  • Krakow map
  • Where to go
    • Sights (28)
    • Museums (12)
    • Stores and malls (9)
    • National Parks (3)
    • Castles, Palaces (4)
    • Temples, Cathedrals, Mosques (3)
    • Restaurants and Cafes (11)
    • Markets (1)
    • Galleries (1)
    • Parks (1)

    What to see in Krakow in 1 day

    Luckily for tourists, Krakow is compact and it’s not hard to walk around in one day. Another thing is what to expect from this walk – a superficial acquaintance or a deep affection. For the first case, a quick sightseeing is enough, but for the second one day will not be enough.

    The center of Krakow is the center of the most interesting places. Take for example the market square, Stare Miasto. It is one of the largest in Europe. If you look at the scheme from above, we see a geometric grid, and only Grodska street breaks the line, leading directly to the Wawel. And all because it is older than the square and existed at a time when Krakow was not officially a city. On the square of interest are the St. Mary’s Church, Jagiellonian University and Museum, Czartoryski Museum.

    A little beyond the square and you come to the National Museum. There are 11 halls and more than 780 thousand objects of art. To save time, you can go around only the most interesting expositions.

    Along the Grodno street we go to the Wawel castle. It is a royal residence with a courtyard in the Italian Renaissance style, antique furniture, and a collection of art works. You can also take a look at the palace of Bishop Erasmus Zölek and see the Florian Gate and the barbican (the fortification of the gate).

    Not far from the castle is the Kazimierz Quarter, a special Christian-Jewish place.

    You can finish the day with a dinner on Krakow Meadow. It used to be a pasture, but now it’s a public space. Townspeople read, walk with their children, and play outdoor games.

    Wawel Castle © Elena Itenberg

    Attractions in and around Krakow

    The most visited place near Krakow (60 km to the west) is the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The death camp was the place where 1.5 million people were exterminated. A trip here is clearly for the strong of heart. Now the museum is a mute reminder of what horrors humans are capable of.

    A more peaceful route is to the Wieliczka salt mines. The labyrinth of underground corridors and adits is decorated with sculptures and bas-reliefs of rock salt. Only 2 km of mines are open for hiking.

    Not far from Krakow there is also a monastery architecture and park complex Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Ojcow National Park.

    A little longer (100 km and more) one has to get to the medieval fortress Niedzica, very photogenic, and two parks – the Tatras National Park with waterfalls and glacial lakes and Babiegorsk National Park with a lot of wild animals, which, if you are lucky, can be caught out at their daily activities.

    Tourist Maps

    For the convenience of tourists there is a ticket that allows access to more than 40 museums in Krakow – Museum Pass, and for free travel on public transport – Krakow Card. With Krakow Car you can go on a trip to the salt mines in Wieliczka or order a transfer to/from Krakow airport. The two cards can be used together.

    Private guides in Krakow

    Russian private guides will help you to learn more about Krakow. There are 5 registered Russian guides and companies in Krakow on Experts.Tourister.Ru.

    18 best Krakow sights

    The 18 best sights of Kraków with photos, detailed descriptions and a map. What to see in Krakow: historical monuments, architecture, interesting places.

    All the most interesting sights of Krakow are located in the old town. It is here that the almost thousand-year history of the former capital of the Polish kingdom is reflected. The historic center of Krakow is a unique treasury of art, historical and sacral monuments, which represent almost all architectural styles – from the Middle Ages to modern times. Among the most famous attractions are the Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle (the national symbol of Poland), the medieval Main Market Square with the Gothic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (one of the largest medieval market squares on the European continent), the Jagiellonian University (one of the oldest universities in Europe).

    Krakow map with sights

    This map of Krakow shows all the sights described in this guide.

    Krakow Main Sights

    A list of Krakow’s main sights with descriptions and photos.

    Main Market

    The Main Market is an ancient Krakow square. It was built in the middle of the 13th century and is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. The buildings along the perimeter of the square were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. The modern facades of the houses are in the classical style after numerous rebuilds of the buildings in the 18th and 19th centuries. The historic center of Krakow is closed to traffic (with the exception of public transport and cars of local residents), so it is pleasant to walk here. On the Main Market and its surroundings there are many sights – the Mariáts Church, the Cloth Hall, the Town Hall, the Jagiellonian University, and various monuments and sculptures.

    Also pay attention to the monument to Adam Mickiewicz – the national poet of Poland. Behind the Cloth Hall in the corner of the Main Market lurks the Church of St. Wojciech, one of the oldest stone buildings in Krakow with a history of 1,000 years. The architecture of the church dates back to the beginning of Polish Romanesque architecture of the early Middle Ages.

    Behind the Sukiennice there is a high tower. This Gothic tower is all that remains of the 15th century town hall. From the height of 70 meters there is a magnificent view of the Old Town. Nearby is a sculpture of Bound Eros, which symbolizes mad, blind love that makes one lose one’s head.

    Panorama of the Main Market

    Panorama of the Main Market

    Church of St. Mary’s

    The Marian Church or Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krakow is the city’s main cathedral. architectural style – Gothic. St. Mary’s Church is the main architectural landmark of the Main Market and the most beautiful church in Krakow.

    The first Romanesque church was here in 1221-1222. It was destroyed during the Mongol-Tatar invasions. In 1290-1300 an early Gothic church was built on this place. In the middle of the 14th century the modern presbytery was erected. At the end of the 14th century the church was rebuilt from a hall church into a basilica (the church acquired its present-day appearance).

    The St. Mary's Church in Krakow

    St. Mary’s Church in Krakow

    In the first half of the 15th century side chapels were added. In the middle of 15th century the church was damaged in an earthquake. At the end of the 15th century the St. Mary’s Church got one of its main decorations – the sculptural masterpiece of Late Gothic – the Great Altar – creation of Vitus Stawosz.

    The facade of the church is adorned by two towers. The tall tower (also called Heynalitza) is 82 m high. The tower is square in shape and turns into an octagon closer to the top. The tower is covered by a Gothic helmet made by Matthias Heringkan in 1478. The low tower is 69 m high and is a church bell tower. It is square in shape and has a clearly marked floor division, emphasized by cornices and window openings. The tower houses the Renaissance Chapel of the Conversion of St. Paul.

    Interior of the St. Mary's Church

    Interior of the St. Mary’s Church

    The interior of the church combines Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. The presbytery is decorated with a stellar vault made by Master Cipser in 1442. The coats of arms of Poland, Krakow and of Bishop Ivo Odrovonzha – the founder of the first stone Marian parish church – are inscribed on the capstones. Sculptures of prophets Jeremiah, Daniel, David, Ezekiel, Jonah and Isaiah are placed in wall niches.

    Cloth Row

    Cloth Hall (Polish: Sukiennice) – a building in the market square in Krakow. Previously there were rows of shops. Cultural monument of the Małopolska province. It was in 1257 when king Boleslav V the Shy had a double row of cloth stalls built of stone in the middle of the market square.

    Cloth Hall

    Cloth Row

    In the middle of XIV century king Casimir III the Great built a new building of cloth rows, which was in Gothic style. This building burned down in 1555.

    At the beginning of the 15th century the cloth rows were rebuilt: the large hall of cloth rows was arched, the outer walls received a decorative attic with mascarons, loggias with columns appeared.

    From the Main Market Square you can go to Wawel along Grodzka Street. It is an ancient Krakow street with beautiful architecture, whose history dates back to the 13th century. It was part of the Royal Road which was used by Polish kings on their way to Wawel.

    Jagiellonian University

    Jagiellonian University

    Jagiellonian University

    The Jagiellonian University is one of the oldest educational institutions, founded in 1354. Its oldest building is Collegium Maius, which is situated near the Market Square in Krakow’s Old Town. This red-brick building has beautiful Gothic architecture and a beautiful arcaded courtyard. Nicolaus Copernicus studied at the Jagiellonian University.

    Wawel

    Wawel (Polish: Wawel) is an architectural complex and the main attraction of Krakow. Located on a hill 228 meters high in the Stare Miasto area. It is associated with the foundation and development of the city.

    Royal Castle on Wawel Hill

    Royal Castle on Wawel Hill

    For a long time it was the center of the whole Polish state. Polish kings were crowned here and they were buried here as well. The main attractions of Wawel are the Royal Castle and the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus and Wenceslas – a beautiful Gothic cathedral from the 14th century, where Polish Queen St. Jadwiga is buried. Cost to visit Wawel – adults – 20 PLN, children – 12 PLN.

    The early medieval legends of Wawel Hill tell of a cave inhabited by a terrible dragon, his murderer Krak and his daughter Wanda, who threw herself into the Vistula River, not wanting to marry a German knight. This legend is reflected in the dragon sculpture at the foot of the hill on the river side.

    The Wawel is closed: January 1, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, November 1, November 11, December 24 and December 25. From November 1 to March 31 all exhibitions are closed on Mondays.

    Saints Stanislav and Wenceslas Cathedral

    Cathedral of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslas

    The Cathedral of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslas is a cathedral on Wawel Hill. The cathedral is Catholic. Previously, there were two other churches in its place. The first one, St. Wenceslas Church, was built in 1020 and destroyed by the Czech prince Brzhetislaw in 1038. In 1142 there was a three-aisled church of bishop and Holy Great Martyr Stanislav Szczepanowski, which was destroyed in 1305. Later Bishop Nanker began to build a third, already Gothic, temple.

    Over the centuries, the church of Sts. Stanislaus and Wenceslas was repeatedly rebuilt. In 1399 the Polish Queen St. Jadwiga was buried there.

    Florian Gate

    The Florian Gate (Brama Floriańska w Krakowie) is a medieval gate with a tower located in the Old Town. They are the remains of the ancient city walls. Florian Gate is mentioned since 1307. From them began the royal road to Wawel. Tower of the gate 34.5 m high. Inside the gate there is a Classicist altar of the early 19th century.

    Florian Gate in Krakow

    Florian Gate in Cracow

    Kazimierz

    Kazimierz is a Jewish district just south of Krakow’s Old Town. It’s a place with a rich history and bohemian charm, cute cafes and beer gardens. Jews began settling in Kazimierz as early as the 14th century. It was once considered a separate town, but later became part of Krakow.

    Kazimierz

    Kazimierz

    In the center of Kazimierz is a magnificent brick Gothic basilica (Bazylika Bożego Ciała), founded in the 14th century by King Casimir the Great. The basilica was built in stages from 1340 until the mid-15th century. It was designed as a monastery church, which explains the large plot of land and the presence of a cemetery nearby. The church has a beautiful interior, representing a mixture of Gothic and Baroque.

    Perhaps the most famous landmark of Kazimierz is the enamel factory of Schindler, a German industrialist who saved more than 1,000 Jews during World War II. This story became widely known thanks to the famous film “Schindler’s List” by Steven Spielberg.

    Old Synagogue

    Old Synagogue

    The Old Synagogue is the oldest preserved Jewish religious building in Poland and a valuable monument of Jewish architecture. It was built in the 15th century and was reconstructed in 1570. During World War II, the synagogue was destroyed and looted by German troops. This historical monument was restored in the post-war years.

    Other sights and interesting places

    St. Francis Basilica

    St. Francis Basilica

    Not far from the market square is the medieval basilica of St. Francis. It is a small Gothic church built in the 13th century. It is notable for its exquisite architecture and refined Art Nouveau interior. In addition to colorful walls with gorgeous floral and geometric patterns, the church also has many beautiful stained glass windows.

    Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul

    Church of St. Peter and Paul

    The Church of St. Peter and Paul is one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Krakow. It was built in the 16th century and is famous for its magnificent 18th-century Baroque sculptures. Inside it is dominated by Italian Renaissance paintings with stucco decorations by Giovanni Battista Falconi depicting scenes from the lives of the eponymous apostles. The splendid Baroque altar also attracts attention.

    Holy Trinity Basilica

    Holy Trinity Basilica

    The Holy Trinity Basilica is a medieval Gothic brick church, founded in the 13th century and owned by the Dominicans.

    St. Andrew Church

    Church of St. Andrew

    The Church of St. Andrew, located on Grodzka Street, is one of the oldest buildings in Krakow and one of the best-preserved Romanesque churches in Poland. It is the only religious building in the city that survived the attack of the Tatar-Mongols in 1241. The church was built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style, has a baroque interior and features of a fortification structure, which indicates its defensive functions.

    St. Joseph's Church in Krakow

    St. Joseph’s Church in Krakow

    St. Joseph’s Church is a late Baroque Bernardine church, built in the 17th century, located on the outskirts of Grodska Street.

    Just beyond the Florian Gate is the Gallantry Tower, built in the 15th century.

    Baszta Pasamoników

    Galantecki Tower

    Barbakan (Polish: Barbakan) is a historical and architectural monument. Previously it was the northernmost part of the ancient city walls. The Krakow Barbakan was erected in 1498-1499 during the reign of Polish King Jan I Olbracht. Originally the Barbican protected the Florian Gate and was connected to it by a bridge crossing. The Barbican had two gates which were connected by a drawbridge placed over a moat filled with water.

    Krakow Barbican

    Krakow Barbican

    Nowadays the Barbican is used for displaying expositions of various museum exhibitions, sports events, and historical reconstructions.

    Church of St. Florian

    The Church of St. Florian

    The Church of St. Florian is a historic cathedral church built between 1185 – 1216 and is located in front of the Barbican (at the beginning of the Royal Route). It is one of the oldest Romanesque churches in Krakow and has been damaged by fires several times during its centuries-long history. The current Baroque appearance of the church is the result of an extensive reconstruction carried out in the 17th century.

    St. Bernardino Church

    Church of San Bernardino

    The Church of St. Bernardino is a 17th-century Baroque Catholic church located at the foot of Wawel Hill. This building was built on the site of a medieval Gothic church that was destroyed by the Swedes during the Thirty Years’ War.

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