The Royal Castle

A few hundred metres from the Main Market Square stands the Royal Castle. It is located atop Wawel Hill which commands a view of the whole town spreading at its feet. The Wawel cathedral has witnessed royal coronations and funerals; and in the Wawel Castle were taken the most important decisions determining the subsequent stages of the country’s development. The origins of this magnificent structure date back to the year 1000. Every visitor to Cracow should see the cathedral, the Renaissance cloisters of the castle and the beautiful royal chambers, decorated with tapestries manufactured by Flemish masters. The most impressive is the Chamber of Deputies with its original carved ceiling featuring polychrome heads of Cracovian burghers.

Adjacent to the castle is the Wawel cathedral, not only a splendid historical building but also a functioning church as well as a national Pantheon, containing the tombstones of many Polish kings, national heroes and poets of the Romantic period. The showpiece of the church interiors is the Renaissance Sigismund Chapel. At the western edge of the hill is the entrance to the Dragon’s Cave, where the legendary Wawel Dragon lived.