Poland – Strong Jewish History and Medieval Art
Visit the Rynek Underground, a museum situated below the Main Market Square. The museum presents a parallel preview into the medieval life and times of the Polish in the Main Market Square. Some old market stalls have been preserved in their original form, as well as a collection of artefacts from shoemakers, executioners, and key makers. There are also interactive displays that make the museum just that much more enjoyable for visitors of all ages. If time permits, take the lift up from Rynek Underground to the upstairs Galerie Sztuki Polskiej XIX Wieku, a gallery that contains a collection of 19th century Polish art.
Nearer the Vistula River, our crash course in architectural styles proves handy when viewing the Wawel
Royal Castle. From its exterior, we’re able to point out romanesque, gothic and renaissance styles. We walk around the castle and come across the dragon’s lair at the base of the castle. The Wawel Dragon is famous in Polish folklore and there are various renditions of the dragon being killed by some of Poland’s original heroes. A statue of Smok Wawelski, the dragon in question, spits fire at random intervals right outside its lair. Inside the castle, the most popular exhibit is a single painting on display – Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with Ermine, which came into possession of the royal Czartoryski family in the 1800s.
Another exhibition to check out is the complete set of tapestries that tell the story of Noah’s Ark.
From Wawel Royal Castle, walk the royal route to get to Jagiellonian University.
Established in mid-14th century by King Casimir III the Great, the institution of learning living is where Copernicus first discovered that our solar system is heliocentric. A tour around the school will show visitors famed lecture halls and faculty quarters, as well as awards and memorabilia donated by notable alumnae and dignitaries. Look out for the Nobel prize, Oscar and autographed picture of former astronaut Buzz Aldrin on display.