It’s like something from a fairy tale, isn’t it?
My head is still full of Poland and the Algarve seems like a distant dream, so for today’s walk I’m taking you strolling around the Planty and the Barbakan in Kraków.
I’m privileged to have visited this beautiful city a number of times, but this was the first time I’d ventured inside the Barbakan. It was a grey day, with wisps of damp clinging to the trees, but Kraków is a hard city to despoil. The soft shades of the lilac soothed the lushness of the green. I had been dropped off in close proximity to Rynek Główny, the huge market square which lies at the heart of the old town, Stare Miasto. Surrounding it, the Planty. Trees, green lawns and gardens wrap gently around the bustling centre. As I wandered, through the trees I spied a fountain. An oasis of calm, till it’s spray leapt gaily into the air.
The fountain at play
It’s lilac time
So soft and pretty
On a drier day you could sit and watch
A couple of sculptures caught my eye. Tributes to Jan Matejko , a Polish painter of historical scenes, and Józef Bohdan Zaleski, a poet and songwriter. The Planty replaced the city’s medieval walls, which were largely demolished after 1807, leaving the city’s main gate, Brama Florianska, the Barbakan and a couple of towers with connecting walls. If you’re interested, this walk gives details of what can be found around the Planty.
Tribute to Zaleski
Brama Florianska, through the lilac
The original fortifications must have been an impressive sight. Three kilometres of wall, 10 metres high and almost 3 thick, were interspersed with 47 towers and bastions. Today Barbakan, just outside Florianska Gate, is a substantial remnant. Dating from 1498, its design is Arab rather than typical of European defensive architecture of the period. Stepping inside is a strange experience. I was prepared to defend the city!
Click on an image to take the tour
The Barbakan exterior
Let’s step inside
A loophole for arrows
There are information boards detailing the original structures
The towers were 50 metres apart- the distance of an effective bowshot
Looking out at Brama Florianska
Inside the structure
Looking in, towards the central courtyard
Or out, at Jan Matejko
And up at the 7 towers
Prepared for armed combat
Originally the fort, begun in the 13th century, was linked to the city walls by a covered passage, surrounded by a moat. 130 loopholes in the walls meant that even if the enemy forced their way in, they would then be trapped and shot at from all sides. The entrance to the walls is through Baszta Pasamoników (Haberdashers’ Tower), at the eastern end of Ul. Pijarska, on Ul. Szpitalna. One ticket (currently 8 złoty, or 6 if, like me, you are emerytura, buys you admission to both Barbakan and the walls). I have often looked up at the walkway and it was quite exciting to be inside, looking out. A steady drizzle forced a sea of umbrellas, while I stayed smug and dry.
The Haberdasher’s Tower
Water, and the means of drawing it, was extremely important to the city
Looking out at a damp city
And along the walkway
Again, there are plenty of information boards
In both Polish and English language
I like the feeling of being above it all
For a few seconds it was necessary to step out into the light rain, to pass around Brama Florianska, but when I did so a delightful surprise awaited. St. Florian’s gate is 33.50 metres tall and built of natural stone, capped by a metal ‘helmet’.
Out into the damp
Looking down Ul. Florianska
Or into this beautiful tiny chapel
The details exquisite
In glorious colour
While this stained glass beauty looks on
The Mariacki Church, in the Rynek, beckons from beyond Ul. Florianska
The mighty Florianska Gate, with its ‘secret’ chapel
From street level the chapel, within Brama Florianska, is barely visible. For me it was a grand finale, but the main entrance to the medieval city is just the beginning of the Royal Way. This leads down Florianska into Rynek Główny, and continues along Grodzka to the magnificent castle and cathedral on Wawel Hill.
Florianska and the surrounding area is lined with restaurants and cafes so you will not have far to wander to rest those weary feet. If you want something with a little character, Cafe Zakatek, featured in my 6WS, is through a narrow passage off Grodzka, just beyond the Rynek.
And there we have it- another Jo’s Monday walk. If you’d like to join me, details can be found by clicking on my logo. The numerous links in the post will give you more background and history.
In my absence many of you posted walks, and I already have a couple to share next week. Thank you all for your enthusiastic support. Please find the time to read these if you can. You won’t be disappointed. All you need is a big pot of kawa (or herbata!)
Beginning with a whoosh! Thank you, Drake, for gladdening my heart :
A fascinating boardwalk from Meg (who’s currently in Poland) :
Sounds rather wistful- like one of those boxes you rummage through :
Azalea Mall Remnants
Bluebonnets from Amy! Catch ’em quick- they’re soon gone :
Monday walk: Texas Hill Country
A Vanishing Ice exhibition has to be interesting, don’t you think?
A seaside bench, or a romp with Oscar? You’ll enjoy either- it’s Sherri!
A Walk with My Friend Oscar
A riverside walk? Count me in!
The Thames Path- Little Wittenham to Oxford
Just a little more exotic? Join Becky in the Algarve :
In search of Chameleons
Tobias pays close attention to detail in this follow up :
I’ve always felt ambivalent about Rome, but Indah’s fabulous post could persuade me :
Rome by Sunset and Night walks
Did you ever hear the sound of a wild howler monkey? No- nor me! Thanks, Jaspa, for joining us.
Seeking Monkeys in an Ecuadorian rain forest
A new blog, to me, and a big welcome for a terrific post- please do read :
New Frontiers and a Chocolate-covered Fish
Tish has been spying on canoodling pooties. Go on- you know you want to!
Seeking Spring- and a walk on Wenlock’s Wild Side
And what a fabulous finale, and welcome home! If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss this treat from Pauline :
The Giant’s House in Akaroa
Thanks everybody! I hope you have a great week of walking in the Spring sunshine (or showers). See you soon.