| King Sigismund II
August ruled 1548-1572.
The Wawel Royal Tapestries of Krakow
Krakow has an unparalleled collection of once
great European art of weaving magnificent painting-like
pictures. Wawel arrases date back to the years 1553 through
1571 when King Sigismund II August commissioned best
Brussels masters, then Europe's leading, to make some 350
splendid, elaborate tapestries. Huge wall hangings, some as
large as 480 square feet, depict either biblical scenes in
three series - Story of the Garden of Eden, Story of Noah,
Building of the Tower of Babel - or landscapes with wild
animals. The former were designed by Michael van Coxcie,
“the Flemish Raphael", and the latter by Willem Tons.
Smaller tapestries show arms and grotesques. Nowadays the
Wawel Royal Castle boast 137 Sigismund’s Arrases that
present the Renaissance north-European art at its height.
The Castle arrases are supplemented by seventeen magnificent
17th-century wall hangings in the nearby Wawel Cathedral,
notably the series of Trojan War and the Story of Jacob. And
there is still another splendid Brussels-made arras, The
Shower of Gold (ca 1515), in The Czartoryskis' Museum at 19
Sw. Jana Street.
The following are permanent exhibitions on the Wawel Hill:
Royal Chambers - historical interiors, tapestry
collection of Sigismund II Augustus, royal portraits, Italian
Renaissance furniture, Italian and Dutch painting of the 14th to
Royal Private Apartments - historic interiors
of private rooms once occupied by Polish royalty.
Crown Treasury and Armory - regalia, jewelry,
precious weapons, armors and caparisons; Polish and West
Oriental Art - Turkish tents and banners,
Turkish and Persian weapons and carpets, Chinese and Japanese
The Lost Wawel - archaeological and
architectural reserve of the early 11th-century church of St.
St. Felix and Adauctus' with surroundings; objects excavated by
archeologists on the Wawel Hill; ornate stove tiles of the 16th
and 17th century. Plus multimedia presentation of the Wawel
Two other places of interest are
available between April 1st and October 31st.
Dragon's Den - big
cave said to be the fiery monster's hideout.
Sandomierska Tower - one of the Wawel
See the opening hours
Visitors can also see various temporary exhibitions.
Wawel Hill is accessible to visitors
daily since April through September from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
and since October through March from 6.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The
Royal Castle's arcaded courtyard is off limits half an hour
before the closing time. Exhibitions in the Royal Castle are closed on Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter
Sunday, November 1 and November 11.
Krakow in Poland
Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a
must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history
Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of
superb church art.
Wawel Royal Castle
Home to three dynasties of Poland's monarchs. Its
stately halls and exquisite chambers are filled with priceless
art, best period furniture and rare ancient objects. The
collection of the 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries is
The Royal Castle's throne chamber has the most
Huge natural cavity inside the Wawel Hill is the
legendary home of a legendary monster.
Treasury and Armory
The Crown Treasury shows Polish royal memorabilia, jewels and
other precious items. The adjacent Armory displays 15th to