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Krakow's Royal Way

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Krakow's Royal Road route
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The Royal Road across Krakow

The Royal Road is the ceremonial route that kings and other celebrities proceeded through Krakow when the city was Poland’s capital. Now it still links most of Krakow's Old Town's landmarks. The monarchs entered through the main of the city's eight gates, the Gothic Florianska gate of circa 1300 and – since 1499 – the mighty Barbican before it (both have survived complete with the adjacent city walls and towers). From the gate the Florianska street, as always Krakow’s busiest, leads to the central square. At 45 Florianska street the Jama Michalika cafe boasts period art nouveau decor of 1895; at no. 41 there is The House of Jan Matejko where the great 19th-century painter’s  lived, now turned into his museum. The street ends at the foot of the 14th-century Gothic basilica of the Virgin Mary’s, the city’s best known church. Every full hour the ancient Krakow Signal resounds four times from its taller, crowned tower. The basilica overlooks the Rynek Glowny central square – Europe’s largest medieval city plaza – with the Renaissance Cloth Hall of 1555 in the middle of it and the 13th-century Gothic Town Hall Tower near by. In the square’s southern corner a tiny church of the 11th century stands: the church of St. Adalbert’s (Swiety Wojciech in Polish), its original Romanesque architecture hardly concealed by a Baroque renovation. One block down Grodzka street a square is flanked by two grand 13th-century temples. On the right-hand side there is the Romanesque basilica of St. Francis’, famous for the late 19th-century splendid stained-glass modernist windows and floral frescos, with the adjacent Franciscan monastery. To the left, the Gothic basilica of the Holy Trinity towers over the adjoining Dominican monastery. Both monasteries boast medieval great cloisters, rich in church art, that date back to the 14th century. The Franciscan monastery abuts on the Renaissance Wielopolskich Palace of 1560 that has been turned into the city hall in 1865. Halfway up Grodzka street a turn right to Senacka street and next instant left bring strollers to the most spectacular Kanonicza street with its stately historic houses. In the middle of Kanonicza street a charming square opens to the white facade of the Jesuit august Baroque church of SS Peter and Paul’s of 1619 next to the majestic Romanesque church of St. Andrew’s of circa 1090. From 1951 to 1963 Father Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II, lived at 19 and 21 Kanonicza Street (his former rooms have been turned into a part of the Archdiocese Museum, otherwise exhibiting church art). The street ends just at the foot of the Wawel Royal Castle on the top of the Wawel Hill and next the Royal Road climbs up the elevation to the compound's double gates, of the 20th century and the 17th century respectively. The steps on the left side behind the second gate lead to the Wawel Cathedral. Little further, after turning left, one finds the entrance to the Royal Castle’s splendid Renaissance courtyard.

Select restaurants on the Royal Route. 

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Pod Aniolami restaurant in Krakow, Poland

Pod Aniolami restaurant
Polish cuisine.
The Pod Aniolami – “Under the Angels” restaurant is an extraordinary place, famed far and wide for its marinated meats, grilled over beech hardwood fire, and other old Polish dishes. The restaurant’s historical 13th-century interiors and brilliant cuisine, based on the Polish culinary traditions, will make you soak up the atmosphere of the Medieval Kings’ City of Cracow. At “Under the Angels” time stood still and one can still find the ambience of old Cracow here. Beautiful interiors and excellent cuisine attract renowned guests from all over the world. On the ground floor we invite you to The Chamber of the Wawel Castle’s Comptroller where one can admire the 18th-century polychromes during private banquets. There is also a charming year-round open garden with a mosaic fountain to which one can always drop a coin wishing to come back to this unusual place.
Meal for two without wine - about 40 euro
Address: 35 Grodzka street.
(+48) 124213999.  

Krakow's walking itineraries
The best way to enjoy old Krakow is afoot.

Stroll Round the Grand Square

Stroll through Krakow's Kazimierz District

Planty walk round the Old Town

In the footsteps of Pope John Paul II


City Walls
700-year-old main city gate with adjoining mighty walls and towers.

Krakow's Rynek Glowny grand square
Basilica of the Virgin Mary's
The immense Gothic church, Krakow's principal temple since the 13th century, shelters the world's
greatest Gothic sculpture among its many excellent works of art.

street cafe at Krakow's central square
Grand Square
Krakow’s central Grand Square (Rynek Glowny), the largest plaza of medieval Europe and one of the world’s finest with its spectacular landmarks, has remained the hub of the city since the 13th century.

Krakow's Kanonicza street
Kanonicza Street
The most beautiful of Europe's ancient streets,arguably.

Wawel Hill
Wawel Royal Castle

Home to three dynasties of Poland's monarchs. Its stately halls and exquisite chambers are filled with priceless art, best period furniture and rare ancient objects. The collection of the 16th-century monumental Flemish
tapestries is matchless.

Wawel Cathedral
Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of superb church art. Its
giant bell of 1520 ranks with the world's largest. Most Polish kings and their family members are buried in the cathedral, its chapels and crypts.

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