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The Krakow Royal Route
The Royal Route begins by St Florian’s Church in Matejko’s Square where the Rector with the Senate of the University would welcome the new king. It leads by the Barbican and remaining fragment of city fortifications with the main entrance to the Old City – St Florian’s Gate.
Walking along Florianska Street we pass famous Jama Michalika café and Jan Matejko House (currently the museum of this painter), and we reach the Main Square – the largest public square of medieval Europe, dominated by huge Gothic St Mary's Church on the north side. Every hour from its taller tower we can hear a trumpeter playing the famous Krakow bugle-call. Inside the church we can admire its greatest highlight: the high altar by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss) – the largest Gothic altar in Europe. Opposite to the temple the Momument to romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz is situated.
In the centre of the Main Square there is the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) – a rare example of a medieval structure that has for centuries served as a commercial centre. Nowadays an art gallery is located on the upper floor while the lower covered arcades are taken up by numerous stalls selling souvenirs and craft works. On the south side of the square stands the Town Hall Tower with an excellent view from the top.
Leaving the Main Square by Grodzka Street, we pass the tiny Church of St Adalbert – the first church founded in Krakow, and famous Wierzynek Restaurant. On the way to Wawel Hill we pass precious church and monastery complexes of Dominicans and Franciscans, Wielopolski Palace (currently the seat of municipal authorities), SS Peter and Paul's Church, the convent of Poor Clares, St Andrew's Church and the Church of St Giles.
Running parallel to Grodzka, Kanonicza Street is a charming street lined with recently renovated palaces and residences. Both Grodzka and Kanonicza lead to the foot of Wawel, the religious, spiritual and patriotic heart of Poland. Royal Castle is the seat of Poland’s kings for over 500 years and one of Europe’s most splendid Renaissance royal residences. Among its treasure of artistic masterpieces, most noteworthy is the famous Audience Hall with a coffered ceiling adorned with 30 wooden heads. Similarly unique is the collection of 142 tapestries commissioned by King Sigismund Augustus in Flanders.
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