Krakow market square, the medieval market at the heart of southern Poland
Krakow’s Market Square (Rynek Główny in Polish) is the beating heart of Krakow, and one of the most beautiful places in Poland. In the northeast corner of the square (which is by area one of the largest in Europe) lies St. Mary’s Basilica, with its famous staggered spires, arguably the Medieval crown jewel in a city that has no shortage of beautiful architecture. The large, rectangular building lined with Romanesque archways in the center of the square is the Cloth Hall (Polish: Sukiennice), which dates back to 1257 AD. It remains a marketplace to this day, where tourists can buy various souvenirs, including Baltic amber.
The Rynek is located in the dead center of Krakow’s old town. Surrounded by a tangle of crooked, cobblestone streets all lined with bars, restaurants, and discos – many of which are in underground brick cellars – Krakow’s Market Square is alive at all hours of the day and night. Tourists from all over Poland, Europe, and the rest of the world flock to the Market Square as both a meeting point, and as a bountiful adventure in its own right. The square is home to countless beautiful gothic and baroque buildings, street performers, and vendors selling delicious Polish treats such as smoked sausage (Polish: kiełbasa), pierogi, and mountain-style grilled sheep’s cheese.
Splitting off from the Square to the northeast, adjacent to St. Mary’s Basilica, is Ulica Florianska, the most famous scenic street in Poland. At the end of Florianska is the Barbican, the last remnant of the Medieval curtain wall that once surrounded the old city, but was torn down and converted into a park in the late 19th century. On the other side of the square, to the southeast, begins Ulica Grodzka, the main artery of the Royal Route, which leads from the old city to Wawel Castle, seat of Polish kings and home to the national cathedral. A walking, bike, or Segway tour is a fantastic way to explore Krakow’s Market Square and its surroundings while learning about the history and cultural significance of the sights from a knowledgeable guide.
Images by Hannah Bialic for Absolute Tours
Krakow Market Square Info
Address: Rynek Główny, 30-062 Kraków, Poland
Map ref: 50.0618971, 19.936756
Opening hours: Open 24 hours. More info can be found here.
Best time to see it: Evening
Find this on: Absolute Walking Tour, Evening stroll, (Segway tour, Bike tour and evening bike tour)