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Krakow Walks - Around the Old Town 

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The Planty Route, Circling Krakow's Old Town central historic district. 

Leafy ring of some 30 public gardens encloses Krakow’s Old Town historic district. In the 1820s it has taken up the emptied area of 52 acres when once formidable fortifications round the medieval city were demolished save the northern flank with the main gate. The two-mile-plus walk through the Planty garden loop encircles the Old Town, linking many of its monuments. 

Krakow's suggested itineraries
The best way to tour the historic Krakow is on foot.

Krakow's Wawel Royal Castle
Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle

Clockwise, one finds most of the Old Town's landmarks on the right, starting with the neo-Gothic brick seminary of 1899 at the foot of Wawel Hill below the towering Wawel Cathedral. Next, a garden wall partly hides the seat of the Archeology Museum in the former 17th-century Carmelite monastery turned into an infamous Austrian prison in 1797. After crossing Poselska street one passes by the 17th-century Franciscan brewery that belongs to the monastery visible beyond a green, adjacent to the Romanesque basilica of St. Francis (13th c). The imposing 17th-century Bishops Palace takes up the opposite side of Franciszkańska street. From 1964 to 1978 it was home to Archbishop Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II. Next, on the corner of Wiślna street, one finds the former Norbertine convent of the 17th c., its chapel turned now into a Greek Catholic church. 


Stroll Up the Royal Road

Stroll Round the Grand Square

 

Collegium Novum, the Krakow university's headquarters
Collegium Novum, the Jagiellonian University's headquarters.

Then the Planty gardens border the university quarter, passing by four of its colleges, i.e. Collegium Wróblewskiego of the late 19th c., the flagship neo-Gothic Collegium Novum of 1887 (the 1771 figure of the Virgin Mary between them, on the left Piłsudskiego street offers a vista of the Kościuszko Mound of 1823), Collegium Physicum of the early 19th c. (the 1900 monument to Copernicus in front of it) and the fine baroque Kolegium Nowodworskiego of 1643. The splendid baroque church of St. Anna of 1703 takes up the opposite corner of Św. Anny street. 

Walk across Krakow's Kazimierz historic district


Planty ring of gardens

 Palace of Arts in Krakow
Palace of Arts, the 1901 gallery.
Some 100 m further on the Bunker of Art, a drab concrete exhibition hall of 1965, neighbors on its elegant Art Nouveau counterpart, the Palace of Art of 1901. Next the Planty borders a Franciscan monastery with the 1673 baroque church of St. Casimir.

 Krakow's central Old Town historic district


 

Krakow's medieval barbican
Krakow's city walls
- the 700-year-old main city gate with adjoining mighty walls and towers plus the awesome barbican.

After a bend east the gardens abut the relics of Krakow’s medieval fortifications with the city’s main gate, the 13th-century Gothic Brama Floriańska, the powerful barbican of 1499, the municipal Arsenal of 1566, two towers of the 14th c., one of the 15th c., and the connecting walls.  

Map of the Old Town

Map of Krakow


building of Krakow's Teatr Slowackiego theater
Teatr Slowackiego theater of 1903 has long doubled as opera building. 

Soon turning south, the Planty runs past the imposing theater building, Teatr Slowackiego, of 1903 and the adjacent fine Gothic church of the Holy Cross of the 14th c. Further 200 m bring you to the foot of Gródek with a Dominican convent and its baroque church of the Snowy Mother of God that dates from 1635. They took place of the 16th-century aristocratic palace that had replaced a 14th-century citadel whose fortified gate is easily discernible. On the left, across the Planty and Westerplatte street, one may see the 1879 neo-Gothic firehouse and the adjoining building of the Main Post Office of 1889. Beyond Sienna street the Planty borders a vast complex of the Dominican monastery with the 13th-century Gothic church of the Holy Trinity. After crossing Dominikańska street one passes by the 17th-century Observant convent and next the Poor Clares’ convent that dates back to 1318, with the visible relics of the medieval city walls. Beyond them the dome of the 17th-century baroque church of SS Peter and Paul stands out. Lastly, the Planty gardens stretch between a hotel of 1896 (on the left) and the former Royal Arsenal dating back to 1643 (on the right), at the foot of the east wing of the Wawel Royal Castle

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