Krakow – medieval city of legends

Have you ever seen a city with lot of beautiful gothic monuments, great artworks and great history?

Today I wanna tell you about wonderful trip to krakow.

There are lot of things to see in Poland and Krakow is one of them. After Corona lockdown finally we, volunteers of FRSP decided to go to our first trip and we chose Krakow without any doubts. Even in the cold weather you can feel lot of positive vibes, especially when you discover map of your country in the train station. As it came out we, Georgians have compatriots almost everywhere and train station of Krakow is no exception. Just imagine how exciting seeing a map of your home country could be during first trip abroad. Furthermore, as it lately came out, under the map of Georgia was our national bakery where one old Georgian Grandpa was baking Georgian bread and the most important, one of our main dishes – Khachapuri! Its really marvellous when far away from your home country you ask someone: ‘Khartveli khar?’ (Are you from Georgia?) and get positive answer with a big smile on a face. For me it was a gesture of hospitality and tolerance! 

So, right after taking lot of pictures under the map of Georgia and having national Georgian bread, we took our destination to the National museum of Krakow and on our way to museum we could not resist not going to St. Marys church in the city center. As locals say, Saint Mary’s Basilica was built in the 14th century, its foundations date back to the early 13th century and serve as one of the best examples of Polish Gothic architecture. In 1978 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside the Historic Center of Krakow. On every hour, a trumpet signal—called the Hejnal mariacki —is played from the top of the taller of Saint Mary’s two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to a famous 13th century trumpeter who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before a Mongol attack on the city. Saint Mary’s Basilica is must visiting place in Krakow and I am really glad that it has really unique and inspiring history.

By the way, before going to St. Mary’s Basilica we had a little walk around Rynek Glowny. Its one of the largest Medieval squares in Europe, Kraków’s central marketplace has been the commercial, social and administrative focal point of the city since the middle of the 13th century.

So, after a long walk on our way to National Museum of Krakow we finally got there. Its really hard to describe all the emotions and inspirations.  As we were told, the collections of the National Museum in Krakow number almost 780 000 objects. There are artefacts from every period of history. The oldest exhibits in the Museum date from prehistoric times, though these are limited in number as the Museum does not usually collect archaeological artefacts, with the exception of classical archaeology. The Museum also possesses a separate collection of ancient art, recent works acquired from contemporary artists, and collections of medieval and modern art from the 19th and 20th centuries.

On a first floor of museum there were a works of Szymon Czechowicz, a Polish painter of the Baroque, considered one of the most accomplished painters of 18th century sacral painting in Poland. As it is considered, establishment of a school of painting gives him a great influence on Polish art.  From my point of view, those artworks are so inspiring and they show how painters put their soul in artworks. In his religious paintings he followed the patterns of the mature Roman Baroque and this fact makes his art more inspiring. Even seeing only Szymon’s paintings were enough for manifesting how great art Polish people have! But as it came out lately, it was just a beginning..

There are also numerous western European works, a collection of religious art related to the Orthodox Church, and an extremely valuable collection of oriental art, mainly from Japan. Besides works of art the Museum also collects library collections (including old prints, manuscripts and cartography), numismatics and historical photographs.

In the National Museum of Krakow you see lot of great things – each work has own history behind and this is the most interesting part.

After long long trip in museum we had a walk around Wawel Castle.  Wawel castle was the seat of the King of Poland from the 13th century to the 17th century. Since the 1940s Wawel Castle has been a national museum, presenting the riches of the Polish monarch through sumptuous interiors, painting by Veronese, Lucas Cranach and Domenico Ghirlandaio,   One piece that must not be missed about Wawel castle is Szczerbiec, the coronation sword for almost every monarch from 1320 to 1764. 

On our way we saw lot of decorative dragons. As it came out, there is a legend about it. As legend says, the dragon, Smok Wawelski, was a mystical beast which supposedly terrorised the local community, eating their sheep and locals, before (according to one version) being heroically slain by Krakus, a legendary Polish prince, who supposedly founded the city of Kraków and built his palace above the slain dragon’s lair. The oldest known literary reference to the Wawel dragon comes from the 12th century, in the work by Wincenty Kadlubek.

 

We face the truth that we havent seen most interesting parts of Krakow but even in -4 C it was cool trip!

To be honest, i cant forgive myself for not seeing Leonardo da Vincis Lady with Ermine. But for the next trip we will go here for sure! 

All the best,

Ani 

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