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Krakow's Royal Castle, the Audience Hall 

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Royal Audience Hall 

194 men and women of all walks of life, from the commonalty to royalty, looked down on the Polish King whenever he was receiving envoys or holding debates of state or conducting trials in the Throne Room of the Wawel Royal Castle. They are even said to have been rebuking him at times. Which seems unthinkable since their wooden heads thrust through the ceiling to merely form interior decoration with no counterpart anywhere in the world. 


Nowadays just 30 of the original 460-year-old sculptured heads can be still seen in the Audience Hall (Sala Poselska), often called the Hall Under Heads (Sala Pod Glowami). No doubt, the masterly and realistic Wawel Heads depict people who lived in the early l6th century when the Renaissance Royal Castle was built in Krakow for King Sigismund I the Old. Unfortunately, we know neither why nor who was immortalized this strange way. Some think the Wawel Heads bear features of the courtiers of King Sigismund and his Italian wife Bona Sforza. Other theory maintains they illustrate some literary work (perhaps an ode for the royal wedding) much like Hans Durer's frieze of 1532 in the same hall interprets the ancient Greek story of the Life of Man by Kebes. 

Krakow's Wawel head

 In November visitors can see the State Rooms and other exhibitions at the Krakow Royal Castle free of charge.

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 17th century. 
Royal Private Apartments - rooms where the Polish royalty lived, period furniture and art.  
Crown Treasury and Armory
- regalia, jewelry, precious weapons, armors and caparisons; Polish and West European.
Oriental Art - Turkish tents and banners, Turkish and Persian weapons and carpets, Chinese and Japanese ceramics.
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 Hill's history.
Dragon's Den - big cave said to be the fiery monster's hideout.

Visitors can also see varied temporary exhibitions. 

The 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. 

Admission terms and fees might be subject to changes. For inquiries and booking please contact the Tourist Service Office (BOT), Wawel 5, 31-001 Kraków, Poland, tel.: (+48 12) 4225155 ext. 291, tel./fax: (+48 12) 4221697


Krakow in Poland

Wawel Hill
Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history and culture.

Wawel Cathedral
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 matchless.

The matchless collection of 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries.

Crown Treasury and Armory
The Crown Treasury shows Polish royal memorabilia, jewels and other precious items. The adjacent Armory displays 15th to 18th-century arms

Dragon's Den
Huge natural cavity inside the Wawel Hill is the legendary home of a legendary monster.


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