Wawel Royal Castle
The Wawel Royal Castle, perched magnificently on the stunning Wawel Hill is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and historically significant structures in Poland. It is most importantly an emblem of Polish identity. This 16th Century palace has been home to a line of Kings and Queens who kept beautifying it and has also seen troubled times in the form of vandalism and occupation by enemy troops. It was only entirely restored after the Second World War and is now an elaborate museum where one can see the splendid Halls of Deputies and Senators as a section of the State Rooms. Then there are the Royal Apartments and the Treasuries apart from other exhibitions. All of the interiors are spectacular and are brilliant examples of the Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic style of architecture. There are five permanent exhibitions to be seen at the Wawel Castle and there is a different ticket for each one of them: State Rooms: 18PLN from April to October and 16PLN from December to March. Royal Private Apartments: 25PLN from April to October and 21PLN from December to March. Crown Treasury and Armoury: 18PLN from April to October and 16PLN from December to March. Exhibition The Lost Wawel: 10PLN from April to October and 8PLN from December to March. Exhibition Oriental Art: 8PLN from April to October and 7PLN from December to March. The State Rooms, Royal Private Apartments and Exhibition Oriental Art are open from 9:30am to 5pm from Tuesdays till Fridays and 10am to 5pm during the weekends. They are closed on Mondays. The Crown Treasury and Armoury and Exhibition The Lost Wawel are open from 9:30am to 5pm from Tuesdays till Fridays, 10am to 5pm during the weekends and 9:30 am till 1pm on Mondays. It is advisable to book your tickets by calling the reservations office in advance or you could buy them at the visitors centre. Arrive as early as you can and avoid weekends. For more information about the office, the winter timings and the updates for the month of November, visit their official website: https://www.wawel.krakow.pl/en
Perhaps the most important national haven in Poland, the Wawel Cathedral has witnessed the coronation of a line of Polish monarchs and has also been the cradle of their tombs. This gothic, Roman Catholics church houses artefacts of absolute historical and cultural significance. With its silver coffins and crypts, murals and stained glass windows, the Wawel Cathedral is fascinating. The most mesmerizing of them all are the animal bones on the iron doors that are believed to have magical powers. Additionally the Sigismund Chapel on the inside is supposed to be the most beautiful Renaissance Chapel north of the Alps. For those interested, there is also a Wawel Cathedral Museum. Before exiting Wawel Hill, make sure you also visit the Dragon’s Den (a cave that is some 130 steps below) and the Thieves’ Tower for rather hackneyed tales of Wawel’s fabled dragon and brilliant views over the Vistula River. Shelling out 12PLN grants you entry into the Wawel Cathedral along with the tombs and the Sigismund Bell Tower with its 11 tonne bell. You could rent English audio guides for 7PLN if in case you are looking for a detailed tour. It is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, it opens at 9:30am. You would have to pay an additional 3PLN for the Dragon’s Den. Tickets for the Cathedral are available from opposite the main gate and for the Dragon’s Den, a coin-operated machine is located right outside the entrance of the cave.