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Czartoryski Museum in Krakow / Muzeum Czartoryskich 

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Krakow’s Princes Czartoryski Museum

The Czartoryski Museum (Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich aka Muzeum XX. Czartoryskich), which dates back to 1801, is the oldest museum in Poland. The museum can boast the country’s most valuable collections of art, ancient handicrafts, and memorabilia connected with historical figures. Its best know exhibit is Leonardo da Vinci's famous ‘Lady with an Ermine’, a superb portrait of a teenage mistress of Lodovico Sforza il Moro, Milan's ruler of the late 15th century.


The Princes Czartoryski Museum occupies three old buildings at the corner of Pijarska and Sw. Jana street on the northern edge of Krakow’s Old Town historical center by the medieval city walls. The 19th-century neo-Gothic palace of The Czartoryskis aristocratic family and the 18th-century former monastery opposite contain permanent expositions, while the adjoining 16th-century municipal Arsenal holds temporary shows downstairs and an exhibition of ancient art upstairs. 

Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

'Lady with an Ermine' by Leonardo da Vinci in Krakow's Czartoryskich Museum 

Permanent exhibitions of The Czartoryski Museum 

The museum consists of four parts called respectively Gallery of European Painting, European Decorative Arts and Pulawy Memorabilia, Armoury, and Gallery of Antiquities. They reflect the diversity of collections garnered in The Princess Czartoryski Museum. 

The Gallery of European Painting shows old masters such as paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt among outstanding works of art by other Western European artists. Exhibits represent the continent’s artistic glories from the Middle Ages through the 18th century. 

The European Decorative Arts and Pulawy Memorabilia is an exhibition that combines exquisite masterpieces of the Western European handicrafts from the Renaissance to the Baroque with items formerly owned by the great men of the past or otherwise connected with them. The exhibits include richly decorated luxury goods, porcelains, period furniture, tapestries, glassware, etc.

The Armoury displays ancient weapons and armor – European, Polish, and Oriental.

The Gallery of Antiquities shows artifacts dating back to the ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman Empire.

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National Museum in Krakow and the Princes Czartoryski Museum

Up to 2016, under an intricate arrangement between the Krakow National Museum and The Princes Czartoryski Foundation the former had custody of The Czartoryskis Museum and its collections. The Princes Czartoryski Museum has been organized as a branch of the National Museum in Krakow and its exhibitions included also possessions of the National Museum alongside exhibits owned by The Princes Czartoryski Foundation. In December 2016 the Polish government purchased The Princes Czartoryski Museum and The Czartoryski Library with the intention of incorporating them into the National Museum in Krakow.

History of The Czartoryskis Museum

The museum has developed from the private collection of art, objets d'art, and various curiosities amassed by Princess Izabela Czartoryska nee Fleming (born 1746, died 1835) in her vast and opulent country estate in Pulawy. In the face of looming confiscation by the Russian invaders, the family’s movable possessions were taken to Paris in 1831. Princess Izabela’s grandson and heir, Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski (born 1828, died 1892) brought the collections to Krakow in 1876. Its city council donated the building of the former municipal arsenal to facilitate the creation of a museum available to the general public. Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski added the adjacent former Piarist monastery he purchased and two buildings opposite, which he bought and turned into a palatial residence. The buildings were converted into a museum complex meant to house both the collections and The Czartoryski Library. In 1961 the library has been moved to a purpose-built building situated a block away, at 17 Sw. Marka street.

In 1950 the Princes Czartoryski Museum as well as the Czartoryski Library and Archives were incorporated into the Krakow National Museum. In 1991 former possessions of the Czartoryski family have been transferred to a charity founded by Adam Karol Czartoryski, the heir of the previous owners yet the National Museum in Krakow retained the custody over the collections. In December 2016 The Princes Czartoryski Foundation has sold the museum and the library, complete with all their possessions, to the Polish government for euro 100 million.

Tickets and opening hours of The Czartoryski Museum

Regular tickets cost 35 zlotys, reduced 20 zloties. Also available are family tickets for adults with children priced at 45 zloties that allow to see permanent exhibitions. Group tickets cost 15 zloties per person. Admission is free on Sundays. It's advisable to book tickets online well in advance.

Free admission on Tuesdays (permanent shows only).

The Czartoryskis Museum is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum stays closed on Mondays.

Taking photos and video in the museum

As at other branches of the Nation Museum in Krakow visitors can shoot pictures and films in the Czartoryski Museum with their cameras, video recorders, and smartphones free of charge though it applies to permanent exhibitions only (at least officially). But the use of lights, flashes, and tripods is banned.

Contact information of The Princes Czartoryski Museum

Postal address: Muzeum Ksiazat Czartoryskich, ul. sw. Pijarska 15, 31-017 Krakow, Poland. 

Phone (+48) 123705460 


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