Main Market Square

The Main Market lies in the heart of the Cracow Old Town (listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978). It was designed in 1257, when Cracow was granted Magdeburg Law by the king Boleslaw V the Chase. Measuring 200 x 200 m², it is the largest medieval town square in Europe. The main function of the Market Square was commerce. However, being the centre of the capital city, the Main Square witnessed many historical events and was a place of regal ceremonies.

The Main Square has been the centre of Cracow since the Middle Ages and today it is lively and crowded year-round. Filled with dozens of cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs, it is the place where people meet and entertain themselves. It is also known for its large population of Rock Pigeons, florist stalls and horse-drawn carriages.

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St Mary's Church

St. Mary's Basilica is a Gothic church built in the 14th century adjacent to the main market square of Cracow. It is particularly famous for its magnificent wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Polish: Wit Stwosz), which is the largest Gothic altarpiece in the World and a national treasure of Poland.

On every hour, a trumpet signal, a bugle (Polish: hejnał) is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary's two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off mid-bar to commemorate a 13th century trumpeter, who, according to the legend, was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before a Mongol attack on the city. The noon hejnał is heard across Poland and abroad, broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station.

Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall (Polish: Sukiennice) is one of the famous example of existing cloth halls in Europe. This Renaissance building is one of the city's most recognisable icons, being the central feature of the Main Market Square. It was once a major centre of international trade. Travelling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, Sukiennice was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the East – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Cracow itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

 

The Cloth Hall is host to a division of the National Museum in Cracow - the Gallery of Polish 19th century Painting and Sculpture, which is housed on the first floor, and a branch of Historical Museum of Cracow - Rynek Underground Gallery.

 

Town Hall

The Town Hall is situated close to the Cloth Hall. It is one of the landmarks of Cracow. The Tower is the only remaining part of the old Town Hall, built before 1316 and demolished in 1820 as part of the city plan to open up the Main Square. Its cellars once housed a city prison with a Medieval torture chamber. Today the Town Hall Tower serves as a division of the Historical Museum of Kraków and from its summit there is a beautiful panorama view of the city.

 

St Adalbert's Church

St Adalbert's (Polish: Sw. Wojciech) is one of the oldest churches in Cracow. It is situated in the corner of the Market Square close to Grodzka St. The thousand years' old legend says that St. Adalbert consecrated the church in 997 and preached there before going on his mission to bring Christianity to Prussia (where he was killed in martyrdom). It is a beautiful little church that shows the thousand years of history of architecture, starting with the Romanesque door frame in it. It shows also the level of the Market Square dating from the 11th century. Under the church there is the Museum of the History of the Market Square.