Explore Cracow's Main Market Square
As the sun started to set, I found myself wandering into the walled area of the old town. Narrow cobblestone streets were lined with cafes and shops. The pedestrian-only areas gave a small town feel. I followed the crowd into the center of the town which opened into the large, beautiful Main Market Square. Measuring 200 by 200 meters square, Krakow’s Market Square is the largest medieval town square in Europe. Located along the coronation route between the Barbican of Krakow and the Wawel castle, it is considered the center of the city. It boasts such famous establishments as Wierzynek’s Restaurant which hosted the great feast of 1364 which supposedly lasted 21 days and helped the monarchs of Europe reach a consensus. Market Square is also home to the remarkable St. Mary’s Basilica, a 14th century gothic church famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss.
Every hour a trumpet signal called the heynal, is played from the top of St. Mary’s highest tower. The tune, which is broadcast across Poland and abroad live by the Polish National Radio Station, cuts off in midstream. According to legend, this is to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city.
The square was bursting with activity. Street vendors sold bouquets of flowers, lovers walked hand in hand and groups of people on walking tours huddled around their guides learning the history of the square. Young children surrounded a street performer chasing and trying to pop the huge bubbles he made for them, while crowds filled the restaurants and pubs enjoying their dinner and drinks. This was the place to be. When darkness descended, the city became even more beautiful.
All of the churches, monuments and shop signs lit up giving the city a heavenly glow. All around me were scenes worthy of a prize-winning photograph. I wanted to stay longer and bask in the beauty but my train to Budapest awaited and I had to make my way to the station.
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Where I Stayed...
Ul. Grodzka 11,
Tel: 012 430-19-69
Tel: 012 431-23-89
Hotel Jan is a nice 3-star hotel located right in the old city. Price includes breakfast.