Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Main Market Square, Krakow - Poland

Main Market Square in Kraków (PolishRynek Główny w Krakowie, also known as Rynek Krakowski — Kraków Market Square) is the main square of the Old TownKrakówPoland. It dates back to the 13th century and – it is the largest (200 by 200 meter square) medieval town square in Europe.
The main landmarks of the square are the St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki), the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) and the St. Adalbert's Church.

Rynek Główny was designed in 1257, during the location of the city of Kraków by prince of Kraków, Bolesław V the Chaste. It was purposefully designed to be large, to attract passing merchants so they would offer their goods in Kraków, which at that time was the capital of the Kingdom of Poland. At 40,000 m², for many centuries it was the largest marketplace and town square in Europe.
The square was a witness to many important events in the history of Poland. On 10 April 1525, Albert I, Duke of Prussia paid the Prussian Homage to the king of PolandSigismund I the Old. King Jan III Sobieski celebrated there his victory over the Turkish Empire in the 1683 Battle of Vienna. On 24 March 1794, Tadeusz Kościuszko announced the general uprising there and assumed the powers of the Commander in Chief of Polish armed forces, beginning the Kościuszko Uprising.

St. Mary's Basilica is a Brick Gothic church re-built in the 14th century (originally built in the early 13th century), adjacent to the Main Market Square in Kraków, Poland.

The square is located on the coronation route, between the Barbican of Kraków and the Wawel Castle. Ever since its creation it has been considered the center of the city.
The square is surrounded by old brick buildings (kamienica) and palaces, almost all of them several centuries old. They house many tourism-oriented establishments as well as the Historical Museum of Kraków and the International Center of Culture. Probably the most famous of the oldest establishments is the Wierzynek's restaurant, remembered for the great feast (dated 1364) which, according to the legend, lasted for twenty one days and helped to reach a consensus between monarchs of Europe.
Among the square's landmarks are the Sukiennice - a Renaissance trading hall and one of city's most recognizable icons - now host to many merchant stalls, and the Gallery of the National Museum, upstairs. Another one is St. Mary's Basilica with its Altar by Wit Stwosz, a Brick Gothic church built in the 14th century adjacent to the main market square. Other landmarks include the Church of St. Adalbert, Town Hall Tower and the Adam Mickiewicz Monument.
Since its creation, the level of the Market Square has raised, in some places by over 5 meters. Underneath there are large basements, the most famous of which is the Piwnica pod Baranami. Many basements are now transformed into cafés and restaurants; other include the Theater Maszkaron and small archeological museum in the basement of the St. Adalbert's church. There are passages linking some of the basements — for example one linking the Town Hall Tower with Sukiennice. Sukiennice itself has a little known underground trading hall, 100 meters wide and 5 meters high. Near the Sienna Street there is another underground hall (Kramy Bogate), with 1200 square meters of space.
Like many other town squares, Main Market Square in Kraków is known for its large population of Rock Pigeons.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


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