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Free Krakow sights and museums II

Free Krakow sights and museums II

 

During our stay in Krakow we have seen most museums and sights for free!

All major attractions in Krakow generously provide one day of the week without taking admission fees.

With a little planning ahead, anyone can enjoy Krakow’s museums and other sights without spending money.

 

 Here is my nifty summary timetable with free sights in Krakow.

  SIGHT LOCATION VISITING HOURS
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
 

MOCAK

Museum of Contemporary Art

ul. Lipowa 4 11-19 Last admission at 18
 

Collegium Maius

Jagiellonian University

ul. Jagiellonska 15

15-18 from

1 April – 31 October

14-16 from

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

14-16 from

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

 

 

You already know what you can visit on Mondays in Krakow for nought, here is to free sightseeing from Tuesday to Sunday.

 

TUESDAYS for free in Krakow  

~~~ Muzeum Sztuki i Techniki Japońskiej Manggha ~ Manggha Museum ~  ul. Marii Konopnickiej 26: from 10-18 ~~~

The view of Wawel Castle is mirrored on the Manggha terrace façade.  

Tomasz Chmielewski Dasza Traveler

The Museum was brought to life by Andrzej Wajda and his wife Krystyna Zachwatowicz

The exhibition is small but there are some very pretty Japanese crafts ceramics, Katagami (Japanese paper stencils for dyeing fabrics), kimonos, masks and Noh theatre costumes. The Museum is named after Feliks Jasieński (1861-1929), a Polish art collector and patron, whose nickname was Manggha, due to his extensive Japanese collections of woodblock prints from Japanese artist Hokusai. In 2002 Manggha was visited by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

My favourite piece at the exhibition was a big Japanese ceramics bowl looking like a flower, which in my mind I turned into a wonderful washbasin. I loved the incredibly fine and detailed Katagami stencils. And how The One merged into the exhibition.

Katagami Japanese Manggha Museum Krakow by Dasza Traveler

BTW If you are the one who always exits through the gift shop, like me, have a peek at the Japanese guidebook on sale for Krakow. Japanese travel guides are just awesome. Full of illustrations for sights, food, restaurants, with clear instructions. I wish Lonely Planet would go all pictures, too.

Japanese Travel Guide picture book Krakow by Dasza Traveler

 

~~~ Podziemia Rynku ~ Underground Market ~ Rynek Glowny 1: free from 10-13. Every first Tuesday of the month closed ~~~

A fascinating journey to the life of Krakowians in the middle ages.

Before the Main Square turned into a bustling city market and the tourist attraction with its souvenir stands today, it was actually an ancient burial place. Some corpses were found with their hands and feet tied together. A ritual to prevent the souls coming back as vampires!

Rynek Glowny, the Main Market Square. The vast museum is right beneath me! I am standing on an underground cemetery.

Krakow Rynek Market by Dasza Traveler 

 

The museum route under the Main Market Square leads between stone and brick walls of former trading sites. There is also a preserved stretch of an original mediaeval road which made for a bumpy ride but solid walk. You can see how the surface of the Main Square has risen over the last hundred years.

There is more excitement.

You can also stand on a huge market scale and measure your weight in various ancient units – apparently it took a while until most of the world settled on kilo and grams. The historical objects from the 14th century portray the role of the former capital of Poland, also its significance in the trade routes of the Hanseatic League. I am talking Venetian silk for Krakowian princesses.

Rynek Underground Museum Krakow by Dasza Traveler

 

~~~ MOCAK Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej ~ Museum of Contemporary Art ~ ul. Lipowa 4: free from 11-19, last free entry at 6pm ~~~

The exhibition focused on art in crime. It was interesting to listen to an authentic police interrogation audio with a women who had just shot her husband and was being questioned by the officer, so as to admit her deed. The police strategy showing a fine balance of being understanding, at the same time pushing towards her confession.

There is also a corpse to stumble upon and different meanings of tiny tattoo marks on prisoners’ faces to decipher. Yay.

MOCAK Crime Exhibition Krakow by Dasza Traveler

The political focus was to be found in the Art of the Ukrainian Revolution, a temporary exhibition showing the mass protests in Kiev against president Yanukovich, the unexpected deal with Russian president Putin, the clash with security forces and protesting people congregating on the Maidan, the Independence Square in the centre of Kiev. On until the 19.10.2014.

 

~~~ Muzeum Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego ~ Collegium Maius ~ ul. Jagiellonska 15:  free (1 April – 31 October) from 15-18 and (1 November – 31 March) from 14-16. We did not visit but the inner courtyard is said to be very pretty ~~~

 

WEDNESDAYS for free in Krakow

~~~ Dzieje Nowej Huty ~ Nowa Huta Communist Workers’ Suburb~ os. Słoneczne 16: Museum free from 10-17 but obviously you can walk around the workers’ district any time! ~~~

 The workers’ district in Krakow was erected for the workers of Poland’s biggest steel factory in the 1950s. The district has about 200, 000 inhabitants today.

In the 1980s Nowa Huta (New Steelmill) became a place of demonstrations of the Solidarity movement, fought by the Milicja. About 29,000 of the 38,000 workers of the then Lenin Steelworks belonged to the Trade Union Solidarnosc.

At the Museum, you can pick up a free map of the area and see the new exhibition Nowa Huta for a Free and Independent Poland which celebrates the 25th anniversary of independence and first free parliamentary election in 1989. The museum displays big wall pictures of anti-communist activities undertaken in Nowa Huta.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District Museum Krakow by Dasza Traveler

Typically dull and cramped communist concrete blocks was what I pictured, when riding the tram down to Nowa Huta. To my surprise, I really liked the architecture here. This was so very different from the ugly Soviet ‘presents’ standing in my hometown Szczecin. The buildings were not as tall as I imagined and well spaced out, framed by generous alleys and pretty green areas. I would call it an attractive residential district, if it wasn’t for the problems and crime the suburb is facing these days.

The term Holy War actually refers to the intense rivalry between the two Krakow based teams, Wisła and KS Cracovia. Various verbal abuse of hardcore fans (or bored kids) adorn the buildings.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District Krakow Wisla Cracovia smears by Dasza Traveler

Nowa Huta was designed in the 40s by Polish architect Tadeusz Ptaszycki in idealised socialist aesthetics. Since the style of the Renaissance was generally regarded as the most revered in old Polish architecture, it was to become also Poland’s socialist national form.

Most cultural and residential facilities follow architectural trends of the Renaissance and Classicism, with a serious touch of Russian megalomania. Sadly, in the 70s and 80s Le Corbusier doctrine introduced Plattenbau to Nowa Huta, so further districts are not as monumental.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District Krakow Dasza Traveler

To get a good first architectural impression, you can start at the socrealist city centre, the runabout at Aleja Roz.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District in Krakow by Dasza Traveler

Teatr Ludowy. The Peoples’ Theatre. Houses a modern café.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District Krakow by Dasza Traveler

Many shops are still in communist style. I remember my first childhood culture shock after we returned to Poland for a family reunion in 1990. Cities seemed gloomy, lacking colour and flashy signs, where goods were placed on shelves behind counters, unreachable by clients. Having to ask for toys behind the high counter, with my indecisiveness and a brisk lady handing out toys that were better bought once handed over, was very different to Germany’s toy selling strategies.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District Krakow Shops by Dasza Traveler

We walked around, enjoyed some Awiteks cake and read the Kommunikaty on trees, promoting German washing powder. The strangest thing. Sales last 20 minutes, original products are guaranteed. A peculiarity, many Poles believe that German detergents are better than any other on offer at the supermarket.

Nowa Huta Communist Workers District Krakow Kommunikat Cake by Dasza Traveler

 

 

~~~ Kamienica Hipolitów ~ House of the Hipolit Family~ pl. Mariacki 3: April to October from 10-17.30 and November to March from 10-16 ~~~

A very ornate merchants house. Originally from the 17th century, it shows Krakowian bourgeois living throughout the ages until the 19th century. Look up, to see the baroque stuccowork of Baltazar Fontana.

Liked pretty pink butterfly pillow.

 Hipolit Museum Krakow Art Nouveau Butterfly pillow by Dasza Traveler

 

THURSDAYS for free in Krakow

~~~ Katedra Wawelska ~ Wawel Cathedral on Castle grounds~ Wawel 3: 1 April to 30 September from 9-17 and 1 October to 30 March 9-16~~~

Wawel Catherdral Krakow by Dasza Treveler

 There is the Cathedral Museum, the biggest bell of the country at the golden-domed Sigismund Chapel and the Royal Tombs.

Wawel Cathedral Krakow by Dasza Traveler

 

 

FRIDAYS

 During the (sunny) day I very much recommend a free bike ride through Krakow’s Planty, the beautiful city park, encircling Stare Miasto (Old Town of Krakow). Renting a public bike from one of many rental spots in the city is free for a twenty minute ride!

If you go one full circle, about 4km, you will eventually pass the Barbakan (Krakow’s fortified gateway into Old Town) and Brama Florianska (famous Gate and Gothic Tower). Enter through the Gate for some picturesque eye candy.

Barbican, Florian's Gate Old Town Krakow Planty by Dasza Traveler

 

For alternative and definitely the most impressive souvenir shopping in Krakow, walk through the Sukiennice (Krakow’s Cloth Hall on Rynek Główny 1-3). Make sure you buy handmade in Poland, not made in China. And a tip, all around the Rynek and further away, you will find little mobile stands and more shops with similar souvenirs for less Zloty.

Sukiennice Boleslawiec pots plates Krakow folk umbrella by Dasza Traveler 

Stroll around the Rynek and take in the bustle of the Main Market Square. I spotted this cute old couple looking up St Mary’s church, listening to the legendary Hejnał Mariacki (trumpeter tune) from the lower of the watch towers, played every hour on the hour. The melody abrupt ending is said to commemorate the bugler from Krakow who was shot through his throat by a Tatar archer in 1241 when the Mongols besieged the city.

 Rynek Krakow by Dasza Traveler

There is also a brand-sprakling-new sight in Krakow. We made it to the vernissage of the new Cricoteka building. Enjoy the architectural clash between Krakow’s oldest power plant and multifunctional-modern structure. The Cricoteka is an exhibition hall for Tadeusz Kantor’s artistic activity and theatre work. His sculptures, art performances, paintings and stage sets are displayed. Andrzej Wajda and Krystyna Zachwatowicz gave an interview at the opening event.

Cricoteka Krakow Opening Day Sep 2014 by Dasza Traveler

 

For an unforgettable horror adventure, I suggest you (try to) make it through Krakow’s Haunted House, the Lost Souls Alley on Florianska 6 (reservation required, tickets are 19 zl). What a freaky Friday! We escaped zombies, a psychopath with a chain saw and chained rooms, only equipped with one old torch. As we were entering the premises screaming people could be heard, then suddenly a door opened and a crying girl ran out. This is not for the fainthearted. 

Haunted House Krakow Lost Soul Alley by Dasza Traveler 

 

For romantics, engrave your names on a padlock and seal your love forever in Krakow. At the Pilsudski Bridge. Named after Marshall Pilsudski, considered the father of Polish independence in 1918. The oldest existing bridge in Krakow gives nice views on Krakow and the rusty copper coloured Cricoteka.

 Krakow Bridge of immortal love padlocks by Dasza Traveler

 

Always, check out the Karnet (that handy events brochure for Krakow I mentioned) and party in Kazimierz. Go to Plac Nowy and be sucked in by its endless choice of bars, restaurants and clubs. Our favourites were the Alchemia for drinks/dance, Duzy Pokoj for fancy eats, Glonojad and Momo for healthy veggie food. 

 

SATURDAYS for free in Krakow

 ~~~ Krakowski Szlak Street Artu ~ Krakow Routes of Street Art ~ Galeria Krakowska at ul. Pawia 5~~~

Excursions start at 11 am but require a reservation! To book your trip call +48 12 420 99 00 or register online szlakmurali.mallwallart.com The tour begins at the mural on Galeria Krakowska that won the Mall Wall Art Competition and continues along the streets of Krakow’s most popular districts, Old Town, Kazimierz and Podgorze. 16 murals are shown, painted by artists from Poland, the Netherlands, Israel and Italy. The duration is about 3 hours.

Krakow Street Art by Dasza Traveler 

 

 SUNDAYS for free in Krakow

~~~ Muzeum Narodowe Gmach Główny ~ National Museum Main Exhibition ~ al. 3 Maja 1: from 10-16~~~

Krakow National Musuem Muzeum Narodowe by Dasza Traveler

 Here rest some canvasses (and replicas) of my favourite Polish artists. Predictably all from the same time period. If I could time travel this is where I would end up.

Jozef Mehoffer (1869-1946), Jacek Malczewski (1854-1929) , Jozef Pankiewicz (1966-1940).

Jozef Mehoffer 1906, Jacek Malczewski 1901 and 1911, Jozef Pankiewicz 1909 National Museum Krakow by Dasza Traveler

Because winter is coming. Ferdynand Ruszczyc (1870-1936).

Ferdynand Ruszczyc (1870-1936) Krakow National Museum by Dasza Traveler

Apart from romantic symbolists, I am also into shoes, bunnies and knights. In the order: The One in Armour, bunny, shoes.

National Museum Krakow Tomasz Chmielewski as Knight in Armour by Dasza Traveler

 

We took it slow on Sunday and missed out on the following three sights. We will be back for sure!

~~~ Dom Jana Matejki ~ Jan Matejki House ~ ul. Floriańska 41: free from 10-16 ~~~

~~~ Dom Józefa Mehoffera ~ Józef Mehoffer House ~ ul. Krupnicza 26: free from 10-16 ~~~

~~~ Muzeum Archeologiczne Gmach Główny i Podziemia ~ Archeological Museum Main Exhibition and Underground ~ ul. Senacka 3: free from 10-14 ~~~

 

EVERYDAY for free in Krakow

~~~ Muzeum Bursztynu ~ Amber Museum ~ ul. św. Jana 2:  free from 9-21 ~~~

I am very much not into stones but amber is the gemstone found in the Baltic region, hence amber jewellery is so popular here and does indeed make for a unique gift.

 

 Enjoy Krakow

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