Following our earlier adventure : Exploring Kleparz neighbourhood, Krakow, we finally found Galeria, the shopping mall around the area.
After lunch in Galeria and obtaining our sim card, which turns out really reasonable, only about USD10 for a sim card to be used up to 30 days and 10GB data with free calls and sms within Poland number. On top of that, another 100 minutes of free roaming within Europe! It was indeed a steal! This was purchased from the T-Mobile.
With our stomach filled and phone cards loaded, we head out for our next adventure….. Old Town Square of Krakow.
Stare Miastro in Polish, the historic Old Town is located in Krakow Central District that was surrounded by almost three kilometer long fortified wall. Back in the 19th century, most of the fortification were demolished leaving the park that is known as Planty that surrounds the Old Town today.
The Main Square, Rynek Glowny in Polish is the centre the city and is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe today. This is the major factor that add Krakow as one of the top off-the-beaten-path destination in the world in 2016.
The main square is surrounded by historic townhouses and churches. The centre of the square is the Cloth Hall, Sukkiennice in Polish that was rebuild in 1555 bringing it Renaissance style today that is topped by a beautiful attic decorated with carves masks. Cloth Hall has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.
On the side of the cloth hall is the Town Hall Tower, Wieza Ratuszowa in Polish is also one of the main focal points of the Main Market Square.
Town Hall Tower has only 1 remaining part of the old Krakow Town Hall that has been demolished in 1820 when the city plan open up the Main Square. It is said that the cellars once housed a city prison with a Medieval torture chamber.
Town Hall Tower is built of stone and bricks. The Gothic tower of the early Town Hall stands 70 metres tall and leans of just 55 centimetres, a result of a storm back in 1703. The top floor of the tower is open to visitors as an observation deck.
On the other side, is the Church of St. Adalbert from the 10th century. Also known as Church of St. Wojciech, Kościół św. Wojciecha in Polish, it is one of the oldest stone churches in Poland with almost 1000 year-old history that goes back to the beginning of Polish Romanesque Architecture. Church of St. Wojciech was the place of worship for the visiting merchants travelling from across Europe.
Another iconic sight is the Adam Mickiewicz Monument, pomnik Adama Mickiewicza w Krakowie in Polish, the greatest Polish Romantic poet of the 19th century.
Saint Mary’s Church, Kościół Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny in Polish, is Brick Gothic Church that was built in the 14th century with its foundations date back to the early 13th century.
Saint Mary’s Church, stand tall at 80 m with its famous wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss. Indeed a beautiful church.
Every hour, there will be a trumpet signal that is called Hejnal Mariacki, that is played from the top of the two towers. The plaintive tune will breaks off in mid-stream to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter whom was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city.
The beautiful architectural model of Saint Mary’s Church, has been built by Polish diaspora abroad, designed in the Polish Cathedral style. To name one, Saint John Cantius in Chicago.
We were very lucky to be able to see a very talented musician playing in front of Saint Mary’s Church.
There are many exciting happenings around Old Town Square of Krakow making our exploration exciting.
Old Town Square of Krakow does not have any town hall from the past as it has not survived to the present day.
It was indeed a great exploration of Old Town Square of Krakow. On the way back, we took a stop at one of the money changer around the area. To our surprise and also to our naive, one of the party after making the exchange, found out that we were conned up to almost USD150 in rate differences. A chat with one of the local around the area, we were told that this is a common sight in the area as these money changers around this area used the opportunity where tourist failed to see the SELL rate thinking that it is BUY rate. What a pity…. however as the rest of us discovered it in time before the next exchange transaction went through, we managed to stop all the other transactions. So, this little incident luckily did not damper the happy spirit of the entire group as we happily (after the short disappointment and anger) continued with our exploration.
We ended the day with Polish dinner in one of the restaurant in the area before heading back to our 19th Century apartment for our rest to recover from our jet-lag and also the tiring yet exciting walk.