Krakow Old Town
Views and Facts

12.07.2018

Krakow Old Town is extremely beautiful and I imagine you want your trip to be magical.

I promise you will find Krakow Market worth visiting. Check out all the photos, maps and most asked questions.

Located at the very heart of Krakow, Main Square was acclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1978, being the first place of Poland to gain the status from among 14 of them.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit this magical place yet, see why you should follow over 10 million tourists that had the luck to meet its attractions with their own eyes during the past year!

How big is Krakow Old Town?

It’s HUUUGE!

Its the biggest Market in Europe!

The actual Krakow Old Town is a part of the city extracted from its District I, also named “Old Town District”. UNESCO adopts the view that recognises the Old Town of Krakow with the Jewish quarter (Kazimierz) counted in, alike the city’s authorities do. However, the traditional approach makes us give the title to the 88,67 hectares of cobbled land surrounded by Planty Park.

It stretches between St. Florian’s Gate and marvellous Wawel Castle. With the shortest route adopted, you would need less than 30 minutes of running to cover the distance between both hallmarks. But – believe us – due to the number of attractions the Old Town of Krakow offers, you would rather want to spend long hours there than do the Japanese-style sightseeing.

Unique atmosphere

Krakow Old Town is covered by a network of streets and squares which represent a historic enclave of the city.

Among those which attract the most visitors with their charm and style, there are particularly:

  •  Szczepanski Square, with its fountains placed in front of the Palace of Fine Arts,
  • Maly Rynek – located at the back of St. Mary’s Church or All Saints’ Square, where modern Wyspianskiego Pavillion stands
  • Grodzka street is one of the oldest roads of Krakow, recorded under the name as early as in the 13th century.
  • It is the major part of so-called “Royal Route” that is also the trail leading to Wawel Castle.

Restaurants in Old Town

If you happen to find yourself hungry in the Old Town of Krakow, you will not need to leave the district to satisfy your appetite even if you are of the gourmet type.

There are hundreds of eateries there to choose from, ranging from bagel stands, milk bars, kebab and zapiekanka shops. Tasting some Polish specialties will be as possible as coming across another ethnic restaurant of your preference.

You will definitely hear of the seemingly longest continuously operating restaurant, whose richly decorated interiors have been visited by such individuals as Charles de Gaulle, Fidel Castro or Sophie Marceau.

 

Krakow Oldest University

The year of 1364 witnessed the establishment of the oldest Polish university (and the second-oldest in this part of Europe), then named “Akademia Krakowska”.

Currently, the Jagiellonian University of Krakow has two of its most recognisable buildings located in the Old Town of Krakow: the 14th –century Collegium Maius and Collegium Novum, built in 1887. The former structure is where the astronomical paraphernalia of Nicolaus Copernicus may be seen, along with the famous Jagiellonian Globe  and collection of medieval academic textbooks.

Where is Krakow Old Town and how to get from Krakow Airport?

Main Square in Krakow is conveniently located within a 6-minute walk from the Main Railway Station (Read more on how to get from Krakow Airport to Old town). Following the colourful crowd will let you briskly reach the Gothic St. Florian’s Gate. This 13th-century rectangular structure of 33,5 metres of height is the major entrygate to the historic district of Krakow.

It is also a place where local artists hang their works on display. The implementation of wild stone-based technique made the gate survive whole centuries as the only medieval watchtower of Krakow that has neither been destroyed, nor dismantled.

And it will still be there when you come.

Main Market Square Krakow history

  • Planned and established in the 13th century.
  • 200 per 200 metres forming a regular square and 40,000 square metres of the most important commercial space of medieval Poland.
  • The place where life is led both over- and underground, with countless pub or restaurant-housing cellars and Cracow Underground Museum operating under its surface.
  • Flanked by old townhouses and merchant’s houses, palaces and churches, representing the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical styles with their decor.
  • Defined by the image of iconic Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall) where, right in the centre of the square, you may still shop for souvenirs or familiarise yourself with the 19th-century Polish paintings at the gallery operating upstairs.

Why is it so attractive?

Well, except for the fact that the masterpieces of architecture forming Krakow Old Town emanate with certain magnetism when passed by, there are also many gems closed behind the doors of its churches, galleries and museums.

They say the Old Town of Krakow encloses about 6 thousand historic sites to admire, including the works of stained glass, sculptures and furnishings collected in particular institutions of culture that operate there.