About the castle
Wawel is a fortified architectural complex. It was built on a limestone Wawel
hill, on the left bank of the Vistula River in Cracow/Krakow/Kraków. The
complex consists of many buildings and fortifications. Wawel is the most
popular Polish castle. It’s on the UNESCO list.
The Royal City Krakow
Krakow is one of the most often visited cities in Poland.
There are many historical monuments, good hotels,
restaurants and recreational opportunities. From 12th to
17th century, Krakow was the capital of Poland and
Wawel castle was a Polish kings' residence.
• The symbols of Krakow are: the Wawel
Castle, main Market Square with Barbican,
the Sukiennice Cloth Hall and St. Mary's
Basilica, Kazimierz – old Jewish district of
the city. Krakow's historic center is also on
the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
History of the castle
• In 10 – 11th century Wawel was a town
built of wood, stone and clay.
• Wawel became an important place
during the reign of prince Kazimierz
Odnowiciel (1034-1058), when Krakow
became the capital of Poland.
• During the reigns of Wladyslaw Lokietek and Kazimierz Wielki the
old, wooden and soil fortifications were replaced by the bricked
• In 16th century king Zygmunt I Stary expanded the castle again,
remodeling and redecorating it in renaissance style.
What happened later?
• After the loss of independence by Poland in 1795, the troops of the invading states:
Russia, Prussia and Austria subsequently stayed on Wawel. The transformation of
Wawel into the barracks resulted in many changes and damages. Some of the buildings
were pulled down (the church of St. George and the church of St. Michael), the
galleries were surrounded with a wall, and the interiors of the castle changed.
• In 1959-1961 some valuable exhibits returned to the collections of the museum, among
others, the arrases and Szczerbiec - the coronation sword.
It’s a big chamber with many arrases, portraits and Wawel heads – carved heads
placed on the ceiling.
Arras is a decorative tapestry which is
used to decorate walls. The name
comes from French town in which it was
Arrases usually show scenes from
mythology or the Bible. Tapestries were
brought from Italy to Poland by Queen
Bona in the 16th century. They were
embroidered with gold or silver metallic
In the castle’s
treasury you can
see Szczerbiec – the
sword used during
types of weapon
and many beautiful
works of art.
Near the castle, on the Wawel hill you can
Wawel Cathedral was the coronation place of most of the Polish kings .
There are famous Poles’ tombs in the crypts below the cathedral. The
Zygmunt Chapel has a golden roof and it’s consider to be one of the best
examples of Renaissance architecture outside Italy.
This massive bell was funded by King Zygmunt Stary in 1520
and named after him. It weighs over one ton and can be heard
within the vicinity of 50 kilometers. Eight people are needed
to put it in motion. The bell tower, which was once a part of
the fortress surrounding the royal castle, is now the part of the
royal cathedral and can be accessed from there.
The bell announces the most important moments of Polish
history – it rang after the death of pope John Paul II, who used
to be the Archbishop of Krakow.
The Cathedral was a place where rulers
of Poland were crowned, while in its
crypts kings, national heroes and great
artists were buried. You can find there
tombs of Zygmunt Stary, Zygmunt
August, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Józef
Piłsudski, Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz
Słowacki and many others. After the
plane crash in Smolensk, in April 2010,
the presidential couple – Lech Kaczyński
and his wife, Maria – was buried there.
• Dragon's cave – is a great
tourist attraction of Krakow.
The cave is situated under the
Royal castle. Its entrance is in
the castle and the exit is at the
foot of the Wawel Hill, near
the Vistula River. Next to the
exit there’s a statue of a
dragon. There's a legend about
The legend of the Wawel Dragon
• Once upone a time there was an awful dragon, who lived
in a cave near the Wawel Royal Castle. He ate people and
destroyed their houses. He also ate animals. The people
of Cracow tried to stop him but they didn't know how.
Finally the King said: „ The brave man who kills this
terrible creature will marry my beautiful daughter”.
• One day , a poor shoemaker had a clever idea. He put a
lot of sulfur into the sheepskin sack. Then he put the sack
near the dragon's cave. Soon the dragon found the
sheepskin and ate it, because he thought that it was a
real sheep. Later, he started to feel very thirsty. He drank
half of the Vistula River and at last exploded with a loud
BANG! This is how the shoemaker saved the city of
Kracow. The boy married the princess and they lived
happily ever after.
Thanks for watching!!!
Pawel, Rafal, Agnieszka, Dominik