Once the capital of Poland, Krakow may be best known for its castle and charming old town. But those who want a deeper introduction to Polish history can head to the city’s plethora of interesting, informative museums. Here are a few top picks.
Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square)
Rynek Glowny, Krakow, 30-125
As the navigational center of the Old Town and home to many of Krakow’s historic monuments, the main square is seen on almost all city tours. A walking tour offers the best photo opportunities; an experienced tour guide will point out the architectural highlights and explain the many historical events that took place on Rynek Główny. You'll see the name written many different ways in English: Main Square, Central Square, Market Square, Main Market Square, and even Grand Square.
Things to Know Before You Go
Horse-and-carriage rides depart from Rynek Główny during the summer and Christmas seasons.
Krakow’s main tourist information office is located at the Cloth Hall.
Museums on Rynek Główny include the Historical Museum of Krakow, the Polonia Wax Museum, Rynek Underground Museum, and the Polish Art Gallery.
How to Get There
Rynek Główny is located in the center of Krakow Old Town and is reachable on foot from several centrally located attractions, including Wawel Royal Castle and Planty Park. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Krakow’s central train station.
When to Get There
Rynek Główny is buzzing with activity at all hours. Head there early in the morning for crowd-free photo opportunities or in the evening to grab a drink at one of the many bars and cafés lining the square. Although it’s busiest in July and August, the square is at its most atmospheric during the festive season, when it hosts a large Christmas market.
Historic Monuments of Rynek Główny
Now home to a shopping arcade and an art gallery, the 16th-century Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) stands at the center of the square. Next to that, the Gothic-style Town Hall tower affords views over the Old Town; the magnificent St. Mary's Basilica, which dates back to the 14th century, stands at the eastern end of the square. Other architectural highlights include St. Adalbert Church, Krakow’s oldest church, and a number of notable sculptures including Igor Mitoraj’sEros Bendato and monuments to the poet Adam Mickiewicz and the cabaret legend Piotr Skrzynecki.
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- St. Adalbert Church (Kościól Św. Wojciecha)
- Krakow Town Hall Tower (Wieza Ratuszowa w Krakowie)
- Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art (Galeria Sztuki Polskiej XIX Wieku w Sukiennicach)
- Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)
- Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto)
- Adam Mickiewicz Monument (Pomnik Adama Mickiewicza)
- Rynek Underground (Podziemia Rynku)
- Historical Museum of the City of Krakow
- Krzysztofory Palace
- Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński)
- St. Mary's Basilica (Kościól Mariacki)
- Hipolit House (Kamienica Hipolitów)
- Maly Rynek (Small Market Square)
- Chopin Concert Hall (Chopin Gallery)
- Archaeological Museum of Krakow (Muzeum Archeologiczne w Krakowie)