Having settled into our fab old town apartment it was time to hit the streets and explore Krakow.
First up the old town square – Rynek Główny w Krakowie. It dates to the 13th centre and is the largest medieval town square in Europe.
The square is surrounded by beautiful old townhouses and is dominated by the imposing Cloth Hall and the stunning gothic splendour of St Mary’s Basilica.
St Mary’s basilica and its gothic towers cut an imposing figure that dominate the square.
On every hour, a trumpet signal—called the Hejnał mariacki—is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary’s two towers.
The tune breaks off mid-stream, in memorial to the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city.
Above is the ornate interior of St Mary’s Basilica
Below is the other building to loom over the square; the Cloth Hall. Originally a place for travelling merchants to meet and ply their trade.
The hall, or Sukiennice, held a variety of imports from the East – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported salt from the incredible Wieliczka salt mine (more of that later)
It now houses lots of little stalls selling traditional wooden arts and crafts and is well worth a browse in the evening before stopping off at one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the square.
Here’s some of the stalls selling all sorts of colourful wooden traditional items.