Usually, it is true to say that the heart of every old town in Poland is its market square. They were marked out in most Polish cities and some villages which received their location rights in the Middle Ages. However, later cities do not have them, especially those that developed and obtained city rights in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Market squares were most often drawn on a quadrilateral plan, although some of them have also the form of a triangle or a widening street. From the times of the Renaissance, symmetrical polygonal squares were sometimes designed as well.
The market square was a space for trade and a place where roads leading to the city converged. The town hall was located here or the seat of the municipal authorities. In its vicinity, most often we can also find the main temple of the city. In today's Poland, the spatial layout of the market square, its function and tasks were related to the adoption of German (most often Magdeburg) law. Other buildings typical of the market square are cloth halls, stalls and bread benches, scales, as well as a pillory and a well. In current times we quite often find here also fountains and various monuments, most often connected with historical or literary figures.
Krakow’s Old Town is probably the most impressive cluster of historical monuments in the country. This is also a very important reason why Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland. It has also received the highest tourist privilege, it was inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage List. The top attractions of the Old Town by ITS DMC Poland include the Main Market Square, Clothes Hall, St. Mary’s Church, Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, Wawel Dragon’s Den and its blowing fire monument, Florian’s Gate, Collegium Maius, Slowacki Theatre, Barbican, St. Pauls and Peter’s Church, St. Andrew’s Church, Franciscan Church, the Main Market Square Underground Museum and Czartoryskich Museum.
It has the second biggest market square in Poland with beautiful town hall in the middle of it. Tourists will also find here modern fountain, Aleksander Fredro monument and the local curiosity many small figurines of dwarfs that can be found in all tourist spots of Wrocław centre. Around the Market Square, there are 60 decorative, historic tenement houses. The Old Town in Wrocław also includes historic Ostrow Tumski district. One of the most beautiful monuments of Ostrow Tumski is the Gothic cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Holy Cross. A popular meeting place and tourist attraction is the Tumski Bridge between Wyspa Piaskowa and Ostrów, also known as the Lovers' Bridge. The lovers hang padlocks on it as a sign of their love. There is also the Archdiocese Museum in Ostrów Tumski. ITS DMC Poland also advices to take a steam boat cruise in Ostrów Tumski area to admire Wroclaw panorama from a river.
Poznan’s Market Square is famous for its colourful tenement houses but first and foremost, for its beautiful Renaissance Town Hall with figurines of two goats that everyday at noon fight at the top of the historic buildings to the delight of tourists. Poznań Market Square is the third biggest square in Poland just after Krakow and Wroclaw. It its vicinity tourists can also find Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mary Magdalene and Saint Stanislaus, which is one of the most valuable monuments of Baroque art in Poland. ITS Poland DMC also recommends visiting Ostrów Tumski district in Poznań with historic Poznan Cathedral and modern Poznań Gate Museum and also recently renovated and restored Poznan Castle.
Gdansk is slightly different than the previous cities as it is a Hanseatic city it doesn’t have a square shape market square but rather wide main street Długi Targ. Still, it is the core of the beating heart of the agglomeration along with Długie Pobrzeze that opens the city to the sea. The main tourist attractions by ITS Poland DMC include: the Town Hall, Neptune Fountain, Artus Court, St. Mary’s Basilica, Great Armoury, Green Gate, Golden Gate, High Gate Crane, Marine Museum and Amber Museum.
The Polish capital’s Old Town is different than any other. This is why it was enlisted at prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List. Warsaw is often referred to as the phoenix city as it arose from the ashes of WWII. The same applies to the Old Town which was entirely reconstructed after WWII. Everything that tourists can admire nowadays had to be meticulously rebuilt after the end of war. The main tourist attractions by ITS DMC Poland include: the Royal Castle with Royal Square and Sigismund’s Column, Warsaw’s Archcathedral, Barbican, Market Square with tenement houses and Warsaw’s Mermaid Fountain and Royal Route with Presidential Palace. It is quite curious to see the Old Town that was rebuilt in such an extraordinary way.
Summing up, almost all Polish big cities have interesting old towns with market squares, old, historical tenement houses, town halls and prestigious churches that are really worth to be discovered. Most of them apart from historical value offer numerous cafes and restaurants in which tourist can relax, taste delicious Polish cuisine and feel the historic atmosphere and bustling energy of these cities’ centres. Sightseeing of these areas are definitely the main highlights of any sightseeing tours. If any of the above places caught your eye and imagination, feel free to contact ITS DMC Poland professional group specialists that will help you to make your Polish dream come true. Don’t wait any longer, start your adventure still today!
Author Agnieszka Szwedzińska