Under the Town Square lies a city hundreds of years old. People of today wander and walk over history deep underground without realising it, they are treading where 1000’s of people have trodden over the centuries. In the 8th century Krakow was an impressive town, with fortifications, Wawel castle and was surrounded by settlements. From the 12th to 17th centuries Krakow was the capital of Poland.
The Old Town
Full of restaurants, bars and horse-drawn carriages, this is and always has been, the centre of Krakow. The Cloth Hall has been used as a market since the medieval period.
Take a trip through the remains of medieval market stalls and streets. In the location of the Main Square everyday life was spent trading… In 2005 archaeological work began on Krakow’s main square and took 5 years to uncover the buried history underneath. Underneath the square are relics, stone paths and grooves of wagons transporting goods which can still be seen. Coins and ornaments have been recovered.
The area of Wawel was being used as a castle before the first Polish King was crowned in the 8th century AD. It has a rich history and was used by all kinds of people for different uses. It was used as a military hospital when occupied by the Austrians and most surprisingly to most people, during WW2 the castle was used as headquarters of the Nazi Governor-General, Hanks Frank.
Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski).
As told by legend, the Wawel Dragon lived in a large cave on the Wisla riverbank. The story goes that he slithered around the town devouring sheep and virgins. His downfall came when he was tricked into eating a bag of sulphur.
The cathedral sits on the site of the castle. Outside the door huge bones are strung up with chains, rattling in the cold, winter wind. Legend has it, that these are the bones of Smok, Wawel’s dragon. For centuries it was believed they held magical powers, protecting Krakow from war and destruction.