The Old Town

Kraków’s Old Town once used to be surrounded by the city walls that were later replaced with the green Planty – a unique park in the centre of Kraków. The walls were dismantled in the 19th century and only one fragment was left – you will find it between Szpitalna and Jana streets.
As you go out of the Kraków Central Station, you will find it hard to miss the huge building of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. The edifice, built towards the end of the 19th century, is composed of three parts that house, respectively: the foyer and staircases, the auditorium (this is the part underneath the green dome) and the stage. The theatre is famous for its beautiful drop curtain made in 1894 by the painter Henryk Siemiradzki. Right next to the theatre, there is a gothic Church of the Holy Cross, ornamented with 16th-century frescoes.
At the other end of Szpitalna Street there is the Small Market Square, which for centuries had been the supply depot for the nearby Main Market Square (section: The Royal Route).

In the southern part of the Old Town it is worth paying attention to the nice little street – Bracka – that connects the Basilica of St. Francis and the Kraków Curia to the Market Square. It is strewn with enchanting cafés and small restaurants.
The street is crossed midway by Gołębia Street, which leads to the buildings of the Jagiellonian University. At its exit, there is the Collegium Novum, built in the 1880s. Its main lecture theatre is decorated with one of Jan Matejko’s canvases, depicting Nicolaus Copernicus talking to God. Close by, on Jagiellońska Street, you will find the oldest Polish university building – Collegium Maius. The first lecture took place there in 1400. Even today, the biggest academic ceremonies, such as the awarding of honorary doctorates, are held in the building.
In the vicinity, one can admire the a real gem of baroque architecture – St. Anne’s Collegiate Church, closely connected to the Jagiellonian University. It is the main university church, in which Masses are celebrated for the beginning of each academic year.
To the north-west of the Main Market Square there is another square – Plac Szczepański. It is surrounded by many magnificent buildings, among others: the Palace of Arts (Pałac Sztuki) of the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych) and the Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre. This theatre was the second theatre in Poland and began to show plays in this very building in 1799 (before that, its stage was located at the Main Market Square).

Friday, 18th October 2019
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