Rynek Glowny, Krakow, Poland
The Sukiennice Krakow Reviews
Nineteenth Century Art and a View Aug 25, 2013
The Sukiennice Museum, part of the National Museum of Krakow, is the 19th century art collection in the Cloth Hall in the centre of the Great Market. There are two reasons to visit this museum. The first is if you are a fan of Polish Nineteenth Century Art, and the second is that it is a Sunday, the museum is free on Sundays, and you want to get up onto the roof of the Cloth Hall to see the view of the square.
I’ve marked the price as average, which it is when you have to pay. Free is better.
The museum itself is quite small, consisting of a few rooms, all of which are well curated. The information boards are in English as well as Polish, and I learned a lot about Polish history. This is one of the reasons that I go to art museums, in fact – you learn quite a bit about countries from paintings, in terms of the historical events they choose to paint, the fashions depicted, and the sort of buildings and ships, at least until the twentieth century when you start to learn that Andy Warhol liked soup. Art works range from the Romantic era – with lots of national heroes looking moodily into the distance – through lots of paintings that a Brit would think of as “Victorian” (dying orphans, that sort of thing) to the more Impressionist end of the century. I definitely liked the more Impressionist looking works the best. The museum is well curated and interesting, and it is not its fault that I am not that into nineteenth century paintings compared to earlier and later art.
However, I am into looking at the view, and the museum has a viewing terrace looking out over the square. It is a really nice way of looking at the cathedral side, and you get a close up view of the Grotesques on the roof of the Cloth Hall, and an aerial vantage point for the street musicians and puppet shows in the street below.
On those grounds, I think it is well worth going on a Sunday. I don’t think I would bother going if I had to pay. It is a nice museum, but very small, and I’m afraid that for me the main attraction was the view.
The Sukiennice itself is beautiful, and literally unmissable - there's no real way to avoid seeing it if you go to central Krakow. There is a nice alleyway of tourist shops, selling amber, woodwork and Polish pottery. I might have bought some boxes if I hadn't had such a tight baggage limit, as prices aren't bad. It's very touristy, but quite lovely. Entrance to the shopping alley is free.
Part of the Poland travel blog
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UNESCO world inheritance from the 15th century Jul 13, 2008
The Sukiennice or Cloth Hall is probably the most famous building of Krakow, standing in the middle of the old square. The hall was build in the 15th century and is on the UNESCO list of world inheritance. You simply cannot miss it when in Krakow.
The building itself is long and tall, and mainly of Renaissance architecture due to restorations in the 16th century. Similar cloth halls are to be found in Europe, yet this is one of the most outstanding examples.
Sukiennice was what you could call the first shopping center of it's time, where goods were stored and sold by merchants. Today also, you can find souvenir shops below the arcades. The first floor is supposed to be a museum, but is closed for the moment due to maintenance works. If I'm correct it is bound to reopen somewhere in 2010.
Part of the Poland 2008 travel blog
Part of the list UNESCO World Inheritance