Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow

Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow (must see)

The Wawel Royal Castle is a castle residency located in central Krakow, and one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great, it consists of a number of structures from different periods situated around the Italian-styled main courtyard. The castle, being one of the largest in Poland, represents nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance and baroque periods. The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in the country.

The castle is part of a fortified architectural complex erected atop a limestone outcrop on the left bank of the Vistula River, at an altitude of 228 meters above sea level. The complex consists of numerous buildings of great historical and national importance, including the Wawel Cathedral where Polish monarchs were crowned and buried. Some of Wawel's oldest stone buildings can be traced back to 970 AD, in addition to the earliest examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Poland. The current castle was built in the 14th-century, and expanded over the next hundreds of years.

For centuries the residence of the kings of Poland and the symbol of Polish statehood, Wawel Castle is now one of the country's premier art museums. Established in 1930, the museum encompasses ten curatorial departments responsible for collections of paintings, including an important collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, prints, sculpture, textiles, among them the Sigismund II Augustus tapestry collection, goldsmith's work, arms and armor, ceramics, Meissen porcelain, and period furniture. The museum's holdings in oriental art include the largest collection of Ottoman tents in Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
The Wawel Royal Castle was among the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites declared in 1978.

Tip:
You can walk around the grounds for no charge at all; what you choose to do dictates the entry price. Opting for the State Rooms and Royal Apartments is worth it as you see a lot of impressive and well-preserved interiors. The Sandomierska Tower will give you a great all-round view of the place and the Dragon's Den takes you to the underground caves, but note that these are seasonal (closed Nov-Mar).

Opening Hours: daily: 9:00 - 17:00
Sight description based on wikipedia

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Krakow. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Wawel Royal Castle on Map

Sight Name: Wawel Royal Castle
Sight Location: Krakow, Poland (See walking tours in Krakow)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Krakow, Poland

Create Your Own Walk in Krakow

Create Your Own Walk in Krakow

Creating your own self-guided walk in Krakow is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Krakow Introduction Walking Tour

Krakow Introduction Walking Tour

A unique entry on the list of the World Heritage Sights, Krakow is a recognized center of the academic, artistic and cultural life of Poland. Established in the 7th century as a tiny hamlet at the top of the Wawel Hill, overlooking the Vistula River, it is one of the country's oldest cities. Over the course of the next fifteen centuries it has evolved into the nation's second-largest...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Jewish Heritage Tour in Krakow

Jewish Heritage Tour in Krakow

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During the war, the Nazis separated Jews from the rest of Cracovians in a ghetto and attempted...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Historical House Museums Tour

Historical House Museums Tour

Well-preserved historical buildings can often tell the stories of their city more vividly than any history book can. Krakow, the old capital and culture center of Poland, for many years has been the home of many important Poles. Today their former dwellings have been converted into museums so that visitors can learn about their ex-residents and see what life was like in the past. On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles