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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Main Square Through The Eyes Of The Fish

Dear friends,

The main square (Polish: Rynek Główny) of the Old Town of Kraków, Lesser Poland, is the principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century, and at roughly 40,000 m² (430,000 ft²) is the largest medieval town square in Europe. The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) lists the square as the best public space in Europe due to its lively street life.
My first try-out in modifications on fisheye lens pictures - layers :)
The main square is a rectangular space surrounded by historic townhouses (kamienice), palaces and churches. The center of the square is dominated by the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, topped by a beautiful attic or Polish parapet decorated with carved masks. On one side of the cloth hall is the Town Hall Tower (Wieża ratuszowa), on the other the 10th century Church of St. Adalbert and 1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument. Rising above the square are the Gothic towers of St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki).
The Main Square is located on the Royal Road once traversed during the Royal Coronations at Wawel Cathedral, between the Kraków barbican to the north, and the Wawel Castle to the south. Ever since its creation the square has been considered the center of the city.
Among the square's landmarks is the cloth hall, which was originally designed in the 14th century as a center for cloth trade. It was gutted by fire in 1555 and rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Giovani il Mosca from Padua. The arcades were added in the 19th century. The ground floor is continually used for commerce with its many souvenir shops and cafés; upstairs is the Gallery of the National Museum. Another landmark is St. Mary's Basilica with its Altar by Wit Stwosz, a Brick Gothic church built in the 14th century on the ruins of an earlier church destroyed by the Tartar raids of 1241. In the vicinity of Market Square one can listen to the heynal, which is played each hour from the highest tower of St. Mary's Basilica. Other landmarks include the Church of St. Adalbert, Town Hall Tower and the Adam Mickiewicz Monument.
I just loved this small girl feeding the pidgeons :)
And finally with the fisheye lens I managed to get all 3 in one picture! St. Mary Church - Sukiennice - Town Hall Tower
Since its creation, the level of the Market Square has raised, in some places by over 5 metres (16 ft). Underneath there are large basements, the most famous of which is the Piwnica pod Baranami. Many cellars are now transformed into pubs and restaurants; others include the Theater Maszkaron and small archeological museum in the basement of the St. Adalbert's church. 
There are passages linking some of basements, such as one linking the Town Hall Tower with the cloth hall. Cloth hall itself has a little-known underground trading hall, 100 meters wide (328 ft) and 5 meters high (16.4 ft). Near the Sienna Street there is another underground hall (Kramy Bogate), with 1200 m² (12,900 ft²) of area.
In December 2005 the Project for Public Spaces selected Kraków's Rynek Główny as the World's Best Square. It is the focal point of many public events and festivities, such as the annual Kraków szopka Festival, Lajkonik celebrations, Festival of Military Bands, Juwenalia Student Festival, Gala Concert of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity and the largest New Year's Eve party in Poland. Every year on Christmas Eve, the Adam Mickiewicz Monument (Mickiewicz' saint's name day) is decorated with flowers by the florists of Kraków.
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The culture of Kraków is deeply rooted in colorful traditions with the Main Square remaining most lively and crowded year-round. Like other notable old-town squares, Main Market Square in Kraków is also known for its large population of Rock Pigeons, florist stalls, gift-shops, beer-gardens and horse-drawn carriages.
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Now I am ashamed to say that as I am home, in Romania, I have not prepared my own text for this post. I liked so much the info from Wikipedia that I just pasted it here, matching it with the fresh pictures taken with our new fisheye lens camera. But that does not diminish in any way the fact that the Main Market Square in Krakow is a wonderful place, totally worth visiting! I go with my awesome husband each week there :) In the spring-summertime-autumn we love to sit on some terace/pub and have some fresh lemonade and in the winter we can have some mulled wine ;) There is always something to see or to do! I recommend you to visit Sukienicce and St.Mary with all my heart - those are really worth the time! :)

P.S. This may (or may not) be one of the motives why I wanted to come live in Poland ;)))

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves Krakow Main Square :)