Wawel Castle

  Wawel Hill ,   Old Town          (+48) 12 422 51 55 (ext.219)     21 Jun 2024
Wawel’s prominence as a centre of political power predates the building of the first Cathedral on the site in 1000AD. Evidence shows that Wawel Hill was being used as a fortified castle before Poland’s first ruler, Mieszko I (circa 962-992), chose Wawel as one of his official residences. The first Polish king crowned in Wawel Cathedral was the teenage Władysław the Short (1306-1333) on January 20, 1319, beginning a tradition that would see a further 35 royal rulers crowned there up until the 17th century. All of these rulers used the Castle as a residence, and all of them added their own architectural details to the building. The moving of the capital to Warsaw in 1596 and Poland’s subsequent decline and partitioning saw the Royal Castle fall into a state of disrepair. The occupying Austrians used it as a military hospital and even went so far as to demolish several buildings, including a number of ancient churches, on the site. Restoration works began once Poland regained independence post-WWI, only for Nazi Governor General Hans Frank to famously make it his headquarters during the German occupation of WWII. Today’s Castle complex is a beguiling muddle of styles including Medieval, Romanesque, Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque. The inner courtyard with its delightful colonnades is a true architectural masterpiece, and the treasures contained within do much to contribute to Kraków’s rightful status as a truly world-class city. While almost all exhibits require a ticket, there is no charge to stroll and admire the castle grounds and courtyards.
Wawel Castle


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Open 06:00-20:00.

Price/Additional Info

Admission free for castle grounds; tickets required for various interior exhibits.

Associated Venues


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The tours are very interesting and the guides are very good. The souvenirs stores, at least some of them, have better prices than the stores closer to the Main Market. It is better to arrive the earliest which is 9 am so you have time to explore as much as possible as it is difficult to still get tickets after 2 pm. I was fortunate to be able to take the tour to the Open Gardens and Architecture which is a seasonal tour and very nice.
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