Squares in Krakow
Krakow has the biggest medieval square in Europe - it can also boast with a few other interesting squares.
Surely, they're not as fantastic as the Rynek, but every Krakow square has its own charm and history. The Old Town's famous Rynek Glowny immense central plaza, lined with sidewalk cafes and historic buildings, is a must for every tourist. Also other squares - notably Maly Rynek, Plac Szczepanski, and Plac Nowy - are popular venues for open-air shows and other events. Some old piazzas, such as Plac Marii Magdaleny and Plac Mariacki, enchant with their spectacular scenery. Some, e.g. Plac Matejki or Plac Sw. Ducha, provide fine vistas of the nearby monuments. At the same time a number of squares in Krakow, including Rynek Kleparski next to the Old Town historic district, have retained the traditional role as popular marketplaces.
The Rynek (Main Market Square)
The Krakow Main Market Square is the biggest - and arguably most beautiful - medieval square in Europe. Graced by the magnificent edifices, like the Sukiennice and the Town Hall Tower, the Main Square is also an important place of social meetings (with the Empik Megastore and the monument of Adam Mickiewicz being the usual spots) and the location of some of the most important Krakow events, like the New Year celebrations. During the Easter and Christmas periods, folk fairs are organized on the Main Square, bringing back the medieval atmosphere.
Maly Rynek (Small Market Square)
Just a few steps from the Main Square, on the back of the Mariacki Church, is another beautiful Krakow Square, the Maly Rynek (or Small Market Square). In the past it served as a meat market, and in the 20th century it was used as a car park and taxi stand, but the 750th anniversary of the Krakow Location Act in 2007 was a good excuse to remodel the Small Square. Lanterns and benches, as well as a little fountain, were introduced, and now the Maly Rynek is a charming place once again.
Plac Szczepanski (Szczepanski Square)
Not as charming as the previous ones, the Szczepanski Square's biggest attractions are the buildings that surround it - and the events it hosts. Two art nouveau edifices - the Palace of Arts and the Old Theatre, along with the Kamienica Szolayskich - now hosting a museum of Stanislaw Wyspianski - make the Szczepanski Square architecturally interesting. For those who fancy contemporary art, there is the Bunker of Arts right outside the square. Since 2007 the Szczepanski Square is used solely for cultural purposes, and the events organized on it include the Pierogi Festival.
Plac Matejki (Matejko Square)
Situated outside the City Walls, this square is named after the painter Jan Matejko, same as the nearby Academy of Fine Arts. Until the walls were destroyed in the 19th century, the area was empty, and fields were stretching away to the horizon, making anyone, visitor or foe, visible from miles away from the Krakow Barbican. Now, in the middle of the square stands a grand monument commemorating the Battle of Grunwald of 1410. The Matejko Square is also the beginning point of the Royal Road.
Plac Jana Nowaka-Jezioranskiego (Jan Nowak-Jezioranski Square)
Situated between the Krakow Train Station and the Galeria Krakowska Shopping Mall, the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski square commemorates the Polish journalist and resistance fighter. The square was renovated in 2007. In winter, an ice rink is set up in the middle, and some of the Krakow Festivals use the square as a stage.
Plac Nowy (Nowy Square or New Square)
Situated in the middle of the Kazimierz District, this square is known for the best "zapiekanki" snacks in the city served in the round building (okraglak) standing in the middle. It is surrounded by clubs and pubs, including the legendary Alchemia. The Jewish Festival and the International Soup Festival are organized on the Nowy Square.
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