Hi there my Hivean friends and followers!
We have been here in Krakow for some 10 days already but it was not until now that I finally had some time to edit some of the photos that I have taken here and make them ready for what I hope will be a decent post :) The post will be dedicated to one of the most famous and important architectural landmarks of the city - the magnificent Wawel Castle.
Located in the southern part of the historic center of Krakow, the second largest city in Poland, the Wawel Castle is a massive royal castle whose very origins date back to as early as 970 AD.
Perched on the left bank of the Vistula River (or Wisla River in Polish), at an altitude of 228 m (748 ft) above the sea level, the castle has always been a place of great historical and national importance as it used to serve as the official seat of Polish kings for long centuries. In a cathedral that is a part of the castle complex, the kings also used to be crowned and buried.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, the Wawel Castle has undergone numerous improvements and reconstructions over the centuries, eventually turning into a very unique structure that bears features from a variety of architectural styles ranging from medieval to renaissance and baroque.
Just like most other medieval castles in Europe, the Krakow Castle also has its legend. According to the legend, there was a horrible dragon called Wawel (or Smok Wawelski in Polish) living in a lair at the foot of the castle. The mystical beast terrorized poor locals before it was killed by Krakus, a legendary Polish hero and the alleged founder of the city. Today, there is a metal statue of the dragon in front of the castle. The statue even breathes fire sometimes but it didn´t when I was taking a photo of it, unfortunately.
The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Now in summer, most of the flowers and plants are still blooming, creating picturesque settings (both foregrounds and backgrounds) for panoramic views of the castle complex. I really enjoyed taking these shots.
There is also a metal miniature model of the castle that makes it easier for the visitors to get a grasp of the largeness of the complex and put it into perspective. The complex is really huge and you easily spend hours just exploring the outside of it (we haven´t even been inside yet).
Thanks to its strategic central position in the city, the Wawel Castle is easily accessible from many directions. It is just some 800 m (0.5 mi) from the city´s main square or you can take a nice walk along the Vistula River to get there. You can actually also get there on a kayak if you rent some from one of the rental companies that can be found on the bank of the river :) The airbnb apartment that we are currently staying at is just a short walk from the castle so we hang around it quite often.
I hope you enjoyed this post that was dedicated to the Krakow Castle, one of the most important architectural pieces in Poland.
As I just mentioned above, we haven´t been inside the castle yet but from what I learned, the interiors are just as interesting as the exteriors. Serving as one the most prominent museums in the country, the castle houses large collections of fine art including renowned paintings, sculptures, ceramics, arms, period furniture and much more.
So if you are a fan of architecture, history or art, make sure to pay a visit to this extraordinary site that is so important to the Polish nation. I am sure you will not be disappointed ;)
All photos of the castle featured in this post were taken by me.