Free Krakow sights and museums I
Krakow is incredibly hospitable because you can visit most of its treasures and history without a dime, I mean Złoty.
If you do some logistics, you can work your way around admission fees to all major attractions and save quiet a bit of money. In Krakow you can see a museum for free almost everyday.
I made this timetable with free sights in Krakow.
|MONDAY||Schindler’s Enamel Factory||ul. Lipowa 4||10-11 Every 1st Monday of the month closed|
|Ghetto Eagle Pharmacy||pl. Bohaterów Getta 18||10-14|
|Old Synagogue||ul. Szeroka 24||10-14|
|Wawel Castle||Wawel 5||
9.30-13 from 1 April – 31 October
SUNDAYS 10-16 from 1 November – 31 March
|TUESDAY||Manggha Museum||ul. Marii Konopnickiej 26||10-18|
|Underground Market||Rynek Glowny 1||10-13 Every 1st Tuesday of the month closed|
Museum of Contemporary Art
|ul. Lipowa 4||11-19 Last admission at 18|
|ul. Jagiellonska 15||
1 April – 31 October
1 November – 31 March
|WEDNESDAY||Nowa Huta Communist Workers Suburb Museum||os. Słoneczne 16||10-17|
|House of the Hipolit Family||pl. Mariacki 3||
15-18 from 1 April – 31 October
1 November – 31 March
|THURSDAY||Wawel Cathedral||Wawel 3||
9-17 from 1 April – 30 September
9-16 from 1 October – 30 March
|FRIDAY||scroll down for tips|
|SATURDAY||Krakow Routes of Street Art||ul. Pawia 5||Tour starts at 11 at the Galeria Krakowska|
|SUNDAY||National Museum||al. 3 Maja 1||10-16|
|Jan Matejki House||ul. Floriańska 41||10-16|
|Józef Mehoffer House||ul. Krupnicza 26||10-16|
|Archeological Museum||ul. Senacka 3||10-14|
|EVERYDAY||Amber Museum||ul. św. Jana 2||9-21|
Here we go, day by day!
MONDAYS for free in Krakow
~~~ Fabryka Schindlera ~ Schindler’s Enamel Factory ~ ul. Lipowa 4 ~~~
Arrive as early as 10-11 am, visitor numbers are limited, hence tickets sell out soon for the day! Visiting hours from 10-16. Last admission is 90 minutes before closing time. Every first Monday of the month the museum is closed.
The museum displays Nazi occupation of Krakow from 1939 to 1945: Its gradual Germanisation, the arrest of Jagiellonian University professors and academics, the Polish Underground State, the gradual elimination of Jewish residents from the city, the establishment of the Ghetto and extermination of sixty thousand Jews, the criminal nature of the Nazi regime and the impact of WWII on the shape of contemporary Krakow.
The museum is housed in the administrative building of Schindler’s former enamel factory. There is a section about Schindler’s business of enamelled vessels and the prisoners of the Plaszczow Concentration Camp he managed to save. The Plaszczow Concentration Camp is also known from Spielberg’s Oscar-awarded Schindler’s List. Spielberg shot the movie in Krakow in 1993.
Walking down to Schindler’s factory. Monument to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
German announcement in Krakow as Nazis control the city: Speaking the Jewish languages is prohibited.
“Cigarrentaschen aus echtem Menschenleder”. Cigar case made of real human skin.
The “Undesirables” that weren’t murdered by Hitler’s regime, were turned into slave labour.
Nazi Germany maintained a steady supply of civilian prisoners to provide cheap labour to Germany and the German war industry, to repair bombed railroads and bridges, or work on farms or for private businesses. Millions of Jews, Slavs and other conquered people were used as slave labourers by German corporations.
German propaganda poster in Polish language. “Jedziemy do Rzeszy. Polskie kobiety i dziewczęta w drodze do roboty. Ich radosne oczekiwanie nie dozna rozczarowania.” We are going to the Reich. Polish women and girls on their way to work. Their joyful expectations will not be disappointed.
Street round-ups (Polish łapanka) of random civilians to be deported to Germany for forced labour was a common practice in occupied lands. My grandma was separated from her family as a teenage girl and forced to work for the German Bassermann Konservenfabrik (canned food company) in the small German town of Schwetzingen. Like all young Polish girls and Polish labourers, she had to wear the letter “P” patch on her clothes.
~~~ Apteka Pod Orłem ~ Ghetto Eagle Pharmacy Museum ~ pl. Bohaterów Getta 18: free from 10 -14 ~~~
The only working pharmacy enclosed in the Krakow Ghetto belonged to Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a Polish Catholic pharmacist permitted by the German authorities to operate his “Under the Eagle Pharmacy”. Pankiewicz was able to help Jews in the Ghetto during the Holocaust. He is the author of The Cracow Ghetto Pharmacy describing his memories of the establishment and liquidation of the ghetto.
In front of the Pharmacy is the Memorial to Jews from the Krakow Ghetto, located on the former deportation site. Each steel chair represents 1,000 victims.
~~~ Stara Synagoga ~ Old Synagogue ~ ul. Szeroka 24: free from 10-14 ~~~
The Old Synagogue is an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in the Kazimierz district and the oldest synagogue standing in Poland. The synagogue was completely devastated and looted by Germans during World War II. During the occupation, the synagogue was used as a magazine. In 1943, 30 Polish hostages were executed at its wall. The museum exhibits artefacts from Jewish life before the war.
~~~ Zamek Królewski na Wawelu ~ Wawel Castle: Mondays free (1 April – 31 October) from 9.30-13 and SUNDAYS (1 November – 31 March) from 10-16 ~~~
Arrive early and pick up free tickets at the kasa biletowa/main ticket office on castle grounds, the number of visitors for different castle sights is limited. We got there late and saw the Lost Wawel exhibition for free but we did not get to see the main attractions, the State Rooms, nor the Royal Private Apartments.
Once you are at the Wawel Castle, you can also enter the Wawel Cathedral but not to all of its exhibitions are free. The Wawel Cathedral is free on THURSDAYS.
A peculiarity, buried on royal castle grounds is also Lech Kaczyński, Poland’s former president, sparking controversy amidst Polish society. Kaczyński died in an aircraft crash near Smoleńsk, Russia. One might dispute if he was a man of great achievements similar to others buried at the crypt.
Most tourists come for the legendary dragon, who once lived under the castle. Sadly, the dragon is long dead but you can walk through its den. The dragon has been defeated by a young shoemaker who stuffed a lamb with sulphur. The dragon swallowed the deadly treat and died as he swelled up from all water to cool his burning stomach and burst. The king in those days offered the hand of his daughter to whomever would kill the dragon and so, the princess married a shoemaker, not a knight.
When it comes to dragons, I prefer the version where dragon’s and humans live peaceful together. Like in How to train your dragon by Cressida Cowell and the sweet movie by Dreamworks Animation.
More free Krakow for Tuesdays to Sundays in the next post!