Wawel Castle, Krakow
Favorite thing: The establishment in 1000 of the bishopric of Krakow was soon followed by the construction of the first cathedral on Wawel Hill. The Wawel Cathedral was once the coronation church of the kings of Poland. One of its numerous chapels - the Sigismund Chapel - is the most perfect achievement of Renaissance architecture and sculpture in Poland and in the whole of northern Europe. The Cathedral Treasury includes, among other items, monstrances and liturgical vessels, reliquaries, regalia, and insignia of royalty. Among the five bells hung in the belfry is 'Zygmunt', one of the largest in Europe. The crypts of the Cathedral contain the tombs of the kings and their families and also of great poets and national heroes.
Favorite thing: The Wawel castle functioned as the residence of the Polish rulers from the mid-11th to the early 17th century. The present structure incorporates Romanesque fragments and considerable Gothic parts, but it acquired its present form mainly in the period c. 1504-1535, during the reign of the kings Alexander (1501-1506) and Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) of the Jagiellonian dynasty.
The historical exhibition "The Lost Wawel" is located on the ground floor of the building of the former royal kitchens of Wawel Castle - do NOT miss it, I found it very, very interesting.
It consists of an archaeological-architectural reserve and objects found during excavations and repairs.
THE ROTUNDA of the Virgin Mary (of SS. Felix and Adauctus), the oldest church on Wawel Hill, dating from the 10th or early 11th century - partly reconstructed - forms an integral part of the exhibition.
The exhibition is supplemented by the reconstructed foundations of the Churches of St Michael and St George in the outer court.
In the room adjoining the entrance hall the you can watch the computer program "VIRTAL RECONSTRUCTION (VR not VT) of Wawel Hill in the Romanesque period from the 10th to 12th centuries", which is an attempt at reconstructing the stone Wawel structures of that time. The program is based on archaeological, architectural and conservation documentation.
Wawel (pronaunced Vavel) 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.
- in my Must See Activities tips
- www.wawel.krakow.pl (in English, German, French and Polish).
Favorite thing: The Wawel Cathedral was for four centuries the coronation and burial place of Polish royalty, and 100 kings and queens are interred in the crypt. A maze of sarcophagi, tombstones and altarpieces are inside the church.
Simplified version of the myth of Dragon of Wawel tells that he was a monster living in the cave under Wawel,the hill where there was the castle of a prince Krak.
The dragon was scaring people to death and forcing them to deliver him a lot of lambs and cows everyday.
Some even say that he demanded some young girls to devour them too.
Finally the young shoemaker Dratewka hit on an idea how to get rid of the dragon. He stuffed a sheep with a sulfur an planted it to dragon. Greedy beast swallowed the counterfeit snack at once and the sulfur started burning his stomach. So he jumped into the river and drank the water. He couldn't stop it and finally.........BUM!!!!!!!!! He blew up!
Personally, I don't believe in this version.
Favorite thing: visit the Wawel complex. Here's a picture of the Zygymunt Stary (Zygymunt the Elder) bell, the largest in Poland. Unlike the Liberty Bell, they still use this one. It's a bit tricky finding your way up to it though. The royal palace itself (Krakow was the capital for a long time before Warsaw) it very pretty, with many beautiful tapestries and armor.
You should visit the Wawel Castle (hope it s written this way). You can go in almost every day in the week from 10 to 15. But you MUST go and see the dragon monument, which forms part of a legend that says that the dragon killed virgin womans. I still don t know if the dragon was killed or all the girls made and effort to stop being virgins, jeje. I think it was killed, but of course it was a legend. Look the dragon and see the view of river...Vistula!!! I remembered it :)
Fondest memory: Krakow is a cultural center declared by UNESCO. Krakow is charming, the old part is full of life, and the meeting point of people.
For centuries, Polish kings lived and died in Wawel Castle. Even after the seat of political power moved to Warsaw, the kings continued to be crowned and buried here. Joining them are a number of Polish heros and poets, promoting this site to near-pilgrimage status for Poles. Wawel captures the heart because its history closely mirrors that of Poland itself; it declined and fell, then revived, then fell again, until today it enjoys another period of glory.
Fondest memory: Visiting Hours
tel. 422 16 97
Treasury, Armory & Royal Chambers
9.30-16.30 Tue-Fri; 9.30-15.30 Wed-Thur; 9.30-15 Sat; 10-15 Sun; Mon closed. Lost Wawel
9.30-15.30 Mon, Wed-Thur; 9.30-16.30 Fri; 9.30-15 Sat; 10-15 Sun; Tue closed.
open daily Cathedral, Zygmunt's Bell, Royal Tombs
9-17 Mon-Sat; 12.15-17 Sun, holidays
this cathedral served as the coronation and burial place of polish royalty;more than 100 kings and queens are interred in the crypt.
from rynek,follow grodzka ...
Favorite thing: The 16th-century Wawel Castle is behind the cathedral. The various exhibits (housed in the buildings surrounding the splendid Italian Renaissance courtyard) require separate tickets.