The Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny in Polish), designed in 1257, is considered Kraków’s city center and has an important historical, cultural and social significance. Throughout the centuries, traders would sell their goods here. And it has also been a compliant witness to numerous events, ceremonies and public executions. During the German occupation, the square was renamed Adolf Hitler Platz.
Enclosed by elegant townhouses and Medieval palaces, the square is one of the city’s main meeting points for both locals and tourists. It is bustling with life all day long.
Apart from its picturesque terraces and beautiful horse carriages that await their next customer, the Main Market Square is home to the following landmarks:
- Cloth Hall (Sukiennice): Standing in the center of the square is one of Kraków’s most famous symbols, the Cloth Hall. Opened during the thirteenth century as a type of “shopping center”, it was packed with market stands. It was later rebuilt in a Renaissance style, and used as an important international trade center.
- St. Mary’s Basilica: This fourteenth century temple has an imposing façade, flanked by two differently sized towers. It is one of Kraków’s most famous attractions.
- Town Hall Tower: Established during the fourteenth century, the 70-meter Town Hall Tower is the only part of the former Town Hall that still stands. At the top is an observation deck from which you can get a beautiful view of Kraków.
- Church of St. Adalbert: This small and modest temple dates from the tenth century. It was founded on the site where, according to the legend, St. Adalbert of Prague preached his sermons.
Heart of the city
The Main Market Square in Kraków is the city’s most important historical site. It is worth exploring both during the day and at nighttime, where you’ll enjoy its lively atmosphere and its charming open-air bars and restaurants. At nighttime, the buildings flanking the square and the Cloth Hall are beautifully lit up. It is considered by many as one of the most romantic corners of Kraków.
If you visit the square just before the hour changes, you’ll enjoy St. Mary’s Church hourly bugle call or “Hejnal Mariacki” in Polish.