Above and Below the Square

I didn’t have any tours booked in the afternoon, so decided I’d spend the afternoon exploring around the main square of Krakow, which apparently is the largest central town square in Europe. Smack in the centre is the old Cloth hall which has a few bars and shops around the outside and on the inside is lined with trinket and souvenir stalls.

I’d been looking at a few foods for sale that are native to Poland, and high on the list was Obwarzanek Krakowski which is a bit like a cross between a large pretzel and a bagel. I had a salted sesame one. Delicious!


The other item was a Pączki (Polish Donut) which of course looks like its loaded with calories, but I don’t think they count when you are on holidays, so I decided take one of these back to the apartment to try later. I can confirm it was utterly delicious and if you come to Krakow you must try one. This one had a “fruit of the forest” jam on the inside.

I wandered into the Cloth Hall and picked up a couple of little light things. Krakow like to say that this Cloth Hall was the first shopping mall every invented. Its very orderly, wasn’t too crowded and everyone selling things there spoke English.


Right underneath the main square is this massive underground display called Rynek Underground. A number of items were discovered when digging on the main square, so the government took the bold decision to excavate the entire square down a few meters to see what else they could find. They found stacks of artefacts and building remains and its all on display right under your feet on the main square. Surprisingly its not well advertised at all. If I hadn’t see it on Atlas Obscura and been told about it, I could have visited Krakow and completely missed it. The entry is on the side of the Cloth Hall on the corner closest to Florinska street. To get a ticket you have to purchase one from the ticket office on the opposite side of the Cloth Hall. This ticket office tells tickets to other attractions as well. Below is a photo of the entrance.


Here a few photos of what it looks like underground. Its massive, and its all hidden. You would never know this is right under the main square. It also has some funky looking bars under here. On a cold night this would be a fantastic place to hang out with friends.


Here are some photos of the square when it was being excavated for the archeological dig in 2005.

Remains of an old road, the foundations holding up the Cloth Hall and one of the funky lounge areas of the bar. Not sure you can get to the bar without purchasing museum entry, but as its only AUD$6 thats not a drama.

Later in the evening I wasn’t really hungry (re: Donut and Obwarzanek) I’d eaten earlier and had no inspiration for dinner and didn’t really feel like siting in a restaurant so thought I’d see if there were any take out options. Just wandering past the square a little I stumbled upon a street market, so got some dumplings and a steak. Fantastic !

After dinner wandered up to the Florianska gate, the only fully intact section of the old fortification wall around the old town in Krakow. Photo on the left is the main square, on the right the gate.