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The Wawel Hill in Krakow

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The Wawel Hill

Wawel - The Hill of Fame

Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history and culture. From the 11th century on Poland's monarchs took up their residence here in the Royal Castle. And they were both crowned and buried here, in the Wawel Cathedral where later on Polish national heroes have also been laid to rest since the 19th century. The place not only overflows with priceless art treasures, architectural beauties, relics of the past and curiosities. It is also full of glory, magic, history and fable.


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.

Wawel Castle, 16th-century

Wawel Cathedral 

Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of superb church art. Among its 18 chapels are true architectural masterpieces. The giant bell Zygmunt of 1520 ranks with the world's largest. Most Polish kings and their family members are buried in the cathedral, its chapels and crypts, together with the greatest national heroes, two poets, four saints and numerous bishops .

king's tomb

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.

coronation sword

Cathedral Museum 

Best items from the Wawel Cathedral's treasure-house.

St. Maurice spear

The Lost Wawel 

Archeological reserve and multimedia tour through the history of the Wawel Hill.

Dragon's Den 

Huge natural cavity inside the Wawel Hill is the legendary home of a legendary monster.


The Wawel Hill is accessible to visitors daily from April through September between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and from October through March between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Royal Castle's famous inner courtyard is off limits half an hour before the closing time. 
Visitors cannot bring luggage, including backpacks (left luggage facilities are available at the southern gate and in the castle's inner courtyard). 
Exhibitions in the Royal Castle are closed on Christmastide (December 24th and 25th), New Year's Day, Easter Sunday and Monday, November 1, and November 11. Ditto the
Wawel Cathedral for tourists and the Cathedral Museum

The following are permanent exhibitions in the Wawel Royal Castle:
Royal Chambers / State Rooms - 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. 

From May through October visitors may also take guided tours of the castle's gardens arranged in historical styles. 

Note: There is a daily limit on the number of visitors to each Wawel exhibition. Tickets state the time of the tour.  

The Wawel Cathedral outclasses even the adjacent Royal Castle. A single ticket allows seeing the cathedral itself, the Royal Tombs in its crypts, and its belfry with a giant Sigismund Bell

The Wawel Hill's other outstanding places of interest are the Cathedral Museum and Dragon's Den. 

Pope John Paul II Cathedral Museum shows world-class church art and historic curios. 

Dragon's Den is a big cave said to be the fiery monster's hideout. 

  • Throughout November entry to all exhibitions at the Wawel Royal Castle is free of charge.

Info about Krakow Wawel - see opening hours and ticket rates for the Wawel attractions.

Admittance terms and fees might be subject to changes. For inquiries and booking please contact the Tourist Service Office (BOT), Wawel 5, 31-001 Krakow, Poland. Phone (+48) 124225155 ext. 291, phone/fax: (+48) 124221697 Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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