Jo’s Monday walk : Podziemia

Beneath Rynek Glowny, Krakow's main square

Beneath Rynek Glowny, Krakow’s main square

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, while window gazing in Krakow, I mentioned a museum beneath Rynek Główny.  I was intrigued by the thought of what might lay beneath Europe’s largest market square, and thought that you might be too.  Just a thought- this walk will not be suitable for claustrophobics.  Welcome to Podziemia! (which means ‘under the ground’)

1000 years of the city’s history are represented here, in a project that took 5 years to excavate.  A medieval cemetery was uncovered and you can take a fascinating walk back in time.

Just inside the entrance you look down at a miniature world

Just inside the entrance you look down at a world in miniature

But then you step back into the past

But then you step back into the past

Between the solid walls of an underground world

Between the solid walls of an underground world

To look at how life used to be

To look at how life used to be

It’s a slightly eerie but amazing experience.  At first I was a little disoriented, trying to decipher Polish signs.  But as I looked closer I realised that there were interactive touch screens that would tell me the whole story (and in English, too!).  I scrolled back, fascinated, then peered over the shoulders of a family intensely reading, eager for my turn at the next exhibit.

There were numerous videos to distract you, and a wonderful small children’s theatre.  Probably my favourite!  A chance to take the weight off your feet and listen spellbound as the crow narrates his story.

Video footage of the Jagiellonian University

Video footage of the Museum of Pharmacy

Dress a medieval lady- interactive play for the young at heart

Dress a medieval lady- interactive play for the young at heart

The crow tells his tale

The crow tells his tale (beware the scary dragon!)

The interactive screens are beside each exhibit

The interactive screens are beside each exhibit

Some of which are very beautiful

Some of which are very beautiful

Like these glass horses

Like these glass horses

After the walk-through there is a tunnel with a sequence of mini theatres and you can sit and absorb more of the history, with English subtitles.  I found the whole experience quite enthralling.  Maybe I would have enjoyed it more by joining a guided tour, but the museum was quite busy that day (a wet one), and I preferred to wander.  If you’re ever in Kraków, I could recommend it.

How the square looked during the excavations

How the square looked during the excavations

I had very little time to put together this walk, so I’m hoping it won’t seem too rushed.  I didn’t want to disappoint and I have some lovely shares for you, but I may not be able to respond.  I am unexpectedly in Nottingham when you read this (I have scheduled it, optimistically!) and will chat with you as soon as I possibly can.  Much thanks for your patience.

walking logo

The logo will direct you to my Jo’s Monday walk page and tell you how you can join in.  Huge thanks to all my contributors.

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Remember ‘ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross’?  Read about it with Debbie :

Of Cock Horses and Cock-up Bridges

Let’s sashay through the desert with Drake, shall we?

Walk spiced by palms

If pootling about in East Lothian is your kind of thing, you’ll love this, from Anabel :

East Linton to Hailes Castle

Still pootling, but looking for tadpoles?  Geoff’s your man!

The Thames Path- Bablock Hythe to Tadpole Bridge

Beautiful architecture but the plants are the star of this show.  Thanks, Pauline!

A Walk in Windy Wellington 

Here in the UK we still have bluebells.  Yay!!!  Cheers, Elaine :

Looking for bluebells 

Stunning landscape and lovely prose!  Don’t miss Laura’s travels with a donkey :

In the shadow of the Guadarrama

It wouldn’t be Monday without Jude, would it?  Come and drool over this beach!

Kynance Cove and beach

And Jaspa completes his study of a little known part of our world :

A stroll through Old Panama City, part 2- Casco Viejo

Say hello to Paul and find out what a ‘broch’ is.  It’s always good to welcome a newcomer :

A walk through history

Happy Bank Holiday Monday in the UK and have a great week, the rest of you!

 

125 comments

    1. I’m back on the bus this weekend, Lucile. Takes me much longer to get around 🙂 Thank you for your enthusiasm. I wasn’t too sure when I first went below ground, but I did find it fascinating too.

  1. This is a fascinating walk Jo right up my street! I just love anything to do with history and the story of a place and I always enjoy interactive exhibits – it brings it all to life somehow. When I was back in Yorkshire recently I went down into the Undercroft at York Minster for the first time in years with my dad. I could have spent hours there but we were meeting my brother later so had to go round in quite a hurry. Thanks for sharing the photos to the secret medieval world of Krakow! 🙂 Here is the link to the post I did a couple of weeks ago on the Englischer Garten Munich http://wp.me/p4rCVl-JR Sorry it’s taken me a while to send you – just use it if you like no problem if not or you are inundated with walks for the next week or so! I’ll edit it to link to your Monday Walk if you want to use it. Hope all’s well and wishing you a good week! 🙂

    1. I’m just putting final touches to my walk, Rosemay, so I’ll include it in this week. Next weekend I’m away again and it gets more complicated 🙂 Many thanks!

      1. Thanks Jo that was a prompt reply! I’ll just go and edit it now to add the link to your Monday Walk. Have a good week and a nice time away next week thanks again! 🙂

    1. The cemetery aspect wasn’t so visible, Draco. The focus was more on the lifestyle of the times, but it was certainly an atmospheric place (and a good escape from the rain 🙂 )

  2. Glad the people of Krakow had the vision of preserving a historical part of the city for the future generation. What would we be without history. We are what we are because of our past, of what our ancestors went through. Nice walk!

  3. Hi Jo. I’m just catching up after a weekend away and poor internet.
    Sorry to hear all is not well in Nottingham. Great that you could be there to supply hugs though, and managed a fascinating walk for us too.
    No walk from me this week I’m afraid, but hopefully I’ll have one for you next week.
    Take care, hugs to all xx

  4. How fascinating, Jo! This reminds me of that fabulous American documentary TV series ‘Cities of the underworld’. I don’t recollect them featuring Podziemia though. I really enjoyed the glimpses into the past. Very interesting indeed. 🙂

  5. Jo, this certainly looks like an interesting time, although I have to admit I’m a little claustrophobic so I’m not sure how I’d do. I like that the museum had interactive exhibits in English; I’m sure you were happy about that too. It does look like a great place to explore. 🙂

    1. Hiya Cathy 🙂 It’s been a traumatic weekend so I’ll be catching up slowly, but I hope to come and spend time with you later. Life is a bit of a roller coaster right now, but the good news is that the sun’s shining as if it means it today 🙂 I shall ignore all my chores and head for the garden after t’ai chi.

      1. I’m sorry you’ve had a traumatic weekend, Jo. At least the sun is shining, so that makes your outlook always a bit cheerier, even under the worst of circumstances. I hope you enjoyed your t’ai chi and your garden walk. 🙂

    1. I was astounded that this colossal square had been dug up in this fashion and even more so that the museum had been created. It really was a superb place for a rainy afternoon. 🙂

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