Many Royal presents from abroad are displayed in 6 rooms at the castle.
This castle takes time to explore. There are so many architectural details to see.
And there is a lot of climbing involved as well.
Wawel (the “w” in Polish is pronounced like a “v” in English) is a fortified architectural complex on the left bank of the Vistula River in Kraków.
The complex consists of many buildings and fortifications; the largest and best known of these are the Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral (which is the Basilica of St Stanis³aw and St Wac³aw).
It is said that St Stanis³aw’s remains are held there in the Cathedral.
Some of Wawel's oldest stone buildings, such as the Rotunda of the Virgin Mary can be dated to 970AD. There are also wooden parts of the complex which date to about the 9th century.
The first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland (c.965–992) of the Piast dynasty and his successors Boleslaw I the Brave 992–1025 and Mieszko II (1025–1034) chose Wawel to be one of their residences.
From the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034–1058) Wawel became the leading political and administrative centre for the Polish State.
Until 1611, the Wawel was the formal seat of the Polish monarchy; this was because Kraków was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569 and of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1596.
Later, Wawel became the Free City of Kraków from 1815 to 1846; the Grand Duchy of Cracow from 1846 to 1918; and Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999.
Wawel Cathedral was not only a place of coronation for the Kings of Poland, but also their mausoleum.
During the 20th century, the Wawel was the residence of the President of Poland. After the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, Kraków became the seat of Germany's General Government, and the Wawel subsequently became the residence of the Nazi Governor General Hans Frank.
There is of course the legend of the Wawel Dragon which is mentioned in the introduction page. The dragon can be seen at the foot of the Wawel fortress, and every few minutes, it “breathes fire” for a very short period of time. You have to be quick to photograph it breathing fire. We were quick enough!
The 3 pictures show inside castle ground. The castle is high above a bend in the river Wawel, was a royal residence for Polish royals. Building from 11th century Today used fpr loads of departments.-- The Polish currency is the Polish Zloty.
My trip to Krakow was motivated by the famous tapestry collection of King Sigismund II Augustus on display in the State Rooms as well as the historical interiors, royal portraits, Italian Renaissance furniture, Italian and Dutch paintings of the 14th to 17th century of this part of the castle.
From the original 350 tapestries commissioned by the King at best Brussels weavers "lissiers" 137 survived of which about 30 are shown in the Royal Chambers. There are three types of subjects: biblical scenes, landscapes with animals called "verdures" and smaller ones showing arms and grotesques .
I must say that my visit was a bit of a disappointment. The largest tapestries with biblical scenes have somewhat faded colors but the "verdures" are beautiful. I especially admired a "verdure" made not in Brussels but in Oudenaerde .
Irritating was the fact that our guide was pushed by some head supervisor of the museum to make it short. It was Friday afternoon and the supervisors wanted to take their week-end ! Those who participated to the visit will remember that women with a red jacket telling our guide "only 5 minutes left" .
Furthermore no photos are allowed inside the castle and I found nowhere an illustrated catalogue of the tapestries. So if you want to admire medieval tapestries better go to the Cluny museum in Paris where you can take all your time and make all photos you want .
The Royal Chambers were the only negative part of my visit of Krakow and my deception was amply compensated by the many marvels of art I saw in the many churches of Krakow .
Price: normal 18 Pln, reduced 11 Pln (in winter 16 & 9 Pln).
Tickets are issued for definite entrance hours.
The photo of the Brussel's tapestry is from another castle.
Wawel Castle is the best point in order to visit krakow !!!
You can start here and then move into the old town. Inside the walls of the castle, we visited a huge group of monuments, including the cathedral. It is recommended to walk inside and around the walls, you can find interesting places (to see and to rest). Let me recomend to take your time to visit every corner.
Wawel Castle is one of Krakow's main attractions. It is located on Wawel Hill, an area which it shares with the cathedral (See tip).
The history of the castle goes all the way back to the 11th century when the first castle building was erected. It was expanded upon in the 14th until a great fire in 1499. It was during the height of the Renaissance in the 16th century that much of what we see today was built.
In 1702, during the period of Swedish occupation, there was a second fire. It was restored, but not to its former grandeur. Towards the end of the 18th century, the castle was taken over by the Austrian Habsburgs. When they left early in the 20th century, it was returned to the Poles who restored it and eventually opened it as a state museum.
As there is a great deal to see and do, individual tickets are available for different parts. Though its free to explore the castle exterior and the hill itself with sweeping views over the city.
You can purchase tickets at one of 2 main ticket offices. Most people get tickets for the State Rooms, Royal private apartments and one or more of the adjacent museums. All can be seen independently with the exception of the Royal Private Apartments, which are led by a museum guide in your chosen language.
Regardless, plan on spending at least several hours here. There is also a cafe and an excellent book and souvenir shop.
The first building on the Wavel hill, a Romanesque stone building, was built in the middle of the 11th century. Remains are located in the northern wing of the present-day castle.
In the 14th century the castle was expanded by Wladislaw the Short, and his son Kaziemirz Wielki (Casimirs the Great, who grounded the Kaziemirz city).
After a fire in 1595 King Sigismund III Wasa had it rebuilt and what we can now see dates from that time.
When you visit the castle and the exhibitions you have to be aware that not all rooms are opened at the same time, the number of visitors are in some cases limited and that there might be free entrance to some of the rooms on certain days during the week. The link I have posted will help you in planing your visit. It also has a very good map of the hill.
For more pictures, please see my Travelogues.
Wawel Castle Renaissance Courtyard when you are at the castle go and see the castle Renaissance style courtyard. It was built in the 16th century to reflect the glory of Sigmund the Elder. It’s a big courtyard surrounded with three stories building including the ground floor, the building consist of private apartments for the monarchs and their royal guest. On the third floor you can see fragments of frescoes on the walls.
The Wawel Royal Castle was the seat of power and home to three dynasties of Poland's monarchs. Inside the castle visitors can visits the cathedral the burial site for Polish kings, the castle Renaissance courtyard, the collection of the 16th-century Flemish tapestries, the Bell Tower, Dragon’s Den, a medieval tower, and the royal garden. I didn’t get to see all but of what I saw it was enjoyable. It is located on Wawel Hill overlooking the Vistula River.
If you have visited castles around Europe, this is not much different. It has certain sections of Royal Apartments , areas where important people would be received and entertained, etc,etc. It was an interesting place to visit. Many if not all of the exhibits are timed. So you go to the ticket office and are assigned a timed ticket because of limited space in the buildings and on certain tours( you have to have a guide for example to visit the royal apts). You can wander around the rest of the area on your own, but going inside many of the buildings required separate purchase, its all on one ticket but your ticket shows what you purchased. Anyway, i was not sure what to see and asked what they recommend as far as what most tourists see because i had no idea what to single out to see. I relied on their " expertise" to make recommendations. They see what tourists visit most times, i asked for some advice. First of all the lady barely spoke English and was rude. Then her supervisor came over and was even worse. Then they tried to sell me a ticket that was getting ready to start in 5 minutes and was in a complete opposite area of the castle, i had no idea where to go! i was never there before, i didnt know the grounds. She shows me a crappy map, in meantime , time is ticking away. I asked for a later time to visit the royal apartments and i got all kind of attitude. Really very rude people working here.. the worst i have seen...
Dragons Den: This is one of the separate places you can purchase to visit. On other side of grounds, its very cheap to buy entrance to this place. If you are claustophobic i wouldnt go though, you descend down countless stairs in a round circle... i started to get dizzy and feel out of sorts after descending many steps, i dont know how many but it was a lot, maybe 75 or more. it seemed endless. and once you start, you cant turn back. THen you are in this cave... it has some light there so you are totally not in the dark, but i didnt like having to descend to the abyss with those steps... i hated the experience..
The Wawel Castle used to be the residence of Polish monarchs from the 11th to the early 17th century.
After Krakow lost its capital status to Warsaw, the castle was occupied by foreign powers during several wars. The Castle offers a mixture of architectural styles and is home of a large arcaded inner courtyard.
The Wawel Castle is situated on top of the Wawel Hill, which is a 50 m high rock on the edge of the Old Town.
Most likely the best know feature of Wawel Castle is its fire breathing dragon which sits below the castle walls along the edge of the Visla River and in front of its dragon CAVE.
If you want to know more about this Polish legend -
Another "attraction" at the Wawel Castle is the views over the river Visla, elevated about 20 meters above the river with the additional height of the walls, the view is fantastic.