The value of Krakow is cemented in the evocative history of its monuments. Here, you can behold views of grave-mounds, churches from different periods, the royal castle, the oldest university in Poland, tenement houses and many relics of the past. Historical and cultural merits make the old capital of Poland very popular among tourists who come here every year to enjoy the amazing atmosphere of this city.
It must be remembered, however, that Krakow has changed throughout ages. Many times, new solutions have replaced the older ones. Today’s Krakow is different from the Krakow of one hundred or two hundred years ago. Countless landmarks have disappeared from the map forever or have evolved to take on a completely new shape.
First to be mentioned are the medieval walls pulled down at the beginning of the 19th century. Besides the preserved fragments of the Floriańska Gate, three of the towers and the Barbican, none of them remained and were instead replaced by Planty, one of the oldest parks in Krakow. It will also be in vain to look for a 14th-century town hall in Krakow, as it was pulled down in the first half of nineteenth century and irretrievably disappeared from the Main Market Square. In Krakow, many temples were demolished, such as the churches of St. Stephen or Saint Mary Magdalene. Nobody will sit in the cult Dragon Bar anymore and they will not see the Lenin Monument – a symbol of a communist time era. Here’s a record of particular places and monuments, that have disappeared from the Krakow landscape or have undergone significant changes.
The Significance of “Rich Stalls” in Krakow
The heart of Krakow was, is and will always be the Main Market Square. The most important function of this huge urban square was trade and hence, the central place was occupied by the Kraków Cloth Hal or Sukiennice in Polish– a place where fabric was historically sold. Today, no one sells this product anymore, and everyone who comes to Krakow visits the passage to buy a small gift, explores the 19th Century Art Gallery or indulges in a dreamy coffee and good biscuit at Noworolski – the oldest Krakow café. There were various stalls all over the Market, of which the “Rich Stalls” were the most profound. Founded here in the fourteenth century, 64 one-story stalls with sloping roofs were arranged in two rows along the eastern wall of the Cloth Hall. They formed trading chambers in which luxury goods such as gold, jewellery or expensive fabrics were sold. The remains of the old “Rich Stall” can be seen at the Rynek Underground Museum.
Ever-Changing Architecture: Szczepański Square
One of the most dynamically changing places in Krakow over the centuries is Plac Szczepański. It is now referred to as the corner of secession, as there are a number of buildings made in this style – The Old Theater, the building of the Society of Friends of Fine Arts called the Palace of Arts, the Szołayski house. Today, Szczepański Square deviates significantly from what it looked like in old times. In the Middle Ages, there were two churches – St. Stephen, to which the current name of the square refers and the church of St. Maciej and Mateusz. After demolishing Jesuit temples and other buildings, it was given the name of the National Guard Square which commemorated the review of the National Guard which took place there in 1811. Although, this name did not last for long. In the 19th century, one of the largest marketplaces in Krakow was located here and Cracovians started calling the square Szczepański again.
All Saints’ Square and Kamienica “Pod Lipką”
Located between the Franciscan Church, Grodzka Street and Dominikański Square, All Saints’ Square is the place where the Krakow magistrate is currently located at Wielopolski Palace. Here, there was also a thirteenth century church, “All Saints”, which was demolished in 1838. Moreover, the XIV-century tenement “Pod Lipką” disappeared and was replaced by the Wyspiański Pavilion, which houses the tourist information center and is home to the stained glass windows produced by the iconic Polish playwright and painter, Stanisław Wyspiański. The windows were designed for the Wawel Cathedral and depict the King Casimir the Great, Saint Stanisław Biskup and the prince Henry the Pious.
If you would like to see how the places look like today, be sure to come to Krakow and stay in one of the boutique hotels in the city centre. Choose a place that brings back the glamour of old tenement house and be inspired by art, such as the likes of Hotel Indigo Krakow – Old Town, whose interiors narrate a history of Polish painting.
Uncover more about the hotel with the artistic soul at http://indigokrakow.com/en/ .