Round the Rynek Glowny Central Square of Krakow's Old
All Krakow roads lead to the city’s central
Grand Square (Rynek Glowny) which proves to be one of
its greatest attractions for the residents and the visitors
The 13th-century Gothic
basilica of the Virgin Mary’s (Bazylika
Mariacka) towers above the huge plaza. It’s a must to enter
and see Veit Stoss’ great altarpiece, the 15th-century
masterpiece of monumental sculpture. The smaller 1338
St. Barbara’s church right behind the basilica used to be a
Farther clockwise round the Grand Square, at the Sienna
Street corner, one finds a large gray building (Szara
Kamienica) dating back to the 13th century which
got its Renaissance form in the 16th century. The adjacent
house of 1561 at 7 Grand Square served as Poland’s first
post office in the 16th and the 17th centuries. The
16th-century house at no. 9 is topped with an ornate 9-meter
attic with relief statues of circa 1560. The first pharmacy
in the House Under a Golden Head at no. 13, now turned into
a shopping arcade, opened in 1408.
The ground floor of the stately Hetmanska building at 17
Grand Square contains one of Krakow’s oldest interiors, the
14th-century Gothic great hall (now a bookstore).
The 1718 fresco Madonna adorns the front of the 16-century
House Under Picture at no. 19. It adjoins an aristocratic
palace at no. 20 of the 16th-century Renaissance turned the
17th-century Baroque and neo-classic since 1783 with a Louis
More nobility palaces one finds on the Grand Square’s
western side at no. 27 (Pod Baranami), no. 30, no. 34, and
no. 35 (Palac Pod Krzysztoforami, i.e. “Under St.
Christopher”). The first one dates back to the 16th century
and was thoroughly rebuilt in 1860 (its cellar is home to
the cult Pod Baranami cabaret company since 1956). The last
one was erected in 1640 as an opulent Baroque residence of
the 17th-century richest Polish aristocrat and now it
shelters the City of Krakow Historical Museum.
The ground floor cafe at 38 Grand Square, on its northern
side, was established in 1832 and remains the city’s oldest.
The corner house at no. 42 was build as the 16th-century
Renaissance palatial residence for one Jan Boner, a
patrician banker of three Polish kings, and rebuilt as a
neo-renaissance bourgeois residence house in 1878. The
16th-century House Under Eagle (Pod Orlem) at 45 Grand
Square boasts a rare gothic-renaissance facade of red brick.
The ornate rococo facade of the last building in the row,
the Margrave’s House (Kamienica Margrabska), dates back to
the 18th century.
Krakow on Foot
The best way to enjoy old Krakow is afoot.
Stroll through Krakow's Kazimierz
Stroll Up the
In the footsteps
of Pope John Paul II