Rynek Glowny is the name of Krakow’s huge square in the centre of the old town. Surrounded by a green belt known as the Planty. There is plenty here to explore and discover. The area has many cafe’s, museums, churches and monuments. The modern large Eros Bendato head makes an interesting contrast to the historic surroundings.
The 16th Century Cloth Hall dominates the centre of the square. A monument of the 18th century poet Adam Mickiewicz stands in the foreground. Inside the hall there is a market selling local crafts and products but it seemed to be mostly aimed at the tourist.
Upstairs is the National Museum and in the basement is the wonderful Rynek Underground. It took us ages to find the entrance as it is just a small rather unobtrusive door but if you manage to locate it, head down the stairs and it opens into the well laid out History Museum of Krakow.
Church of the Virgin Mary [Basilica]
The 14th Century St Mary’s Basilica is on the north east side of Rynek Glowny. Its mismatched twin towers are striking but brace yourself for a visual feast when you enter.
Just around the corner is the 14th Century St Barbara’s Church which has a wonderful painted ceiling.
This tiny Church in the square dates back to the 11th century and has an attractively decorated dome. They have a small archeoligical exhibition on display in the vaults.
Near the Square
The roads radiating out from the square are really attractive. Heading north up Ul Florianska you pass the Grunwald Monument which commemorates the victory over the Teutonic Knights in 1410.
Continue and you reach Florian’s Gate which is the oldest surviving part of the city’s defensive wall and dates from the 15th Century. Just beyond this is the Barbican and the artist Jan Matejko’s House which are now part of the History Museum.
To the south of the square is Wawel district and the castle and cathedral.