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Photographer's Note

Hi TE friends

Today, I decided to recover some old pictures from my collections... This is the Rynek (Market Square) in the lovely Krakow

The Rynek was laid out in 1257 after the Mongol hordes swept through Cracow. At two hundred metres squared, it became the largest market place in Europe. It really is vast - and beautiful - to say the least. And yet it never feels too big, as the Cloth Hall, which runs right down the centre, provides a sense of balance. Some of the great dramas of Poland's history were played out here, and it remains one of the most vibrant and inspiring places in the country.

From its beginnings, the Market Square was the commercial and social heart of Cracow. It was an emporium of the Black Sea trade, and a spring-board for Poland's links with the West. Besides this, it was a place of festivals and public gatherings. Although people are rarely executed there today, the Rynek is still used as an arena for parades, both religious and secular. Above all, the Square is the place for Cracovians to meet, young and old. In this respect it is the city's drawing room. The phrase 'Pod Adamem' meaning 'under Adam' (this being the statue of Adam Mickiewicz - Poland's greatest bard and a serial philanderer) is regularly used to mean 'meet up under the statue'.

The Rynek has a great sense of majesty about it. And to lap this up, there are several vantage points from which one can view the square. Many of the buildings are very grand, as the aristocracy wanted their palaces here. They went to town in this respect, lavishing money on their architects. During the summer, when the cafes bring out their chairs, the entire ring pullulates. It is a good place to sit and watch the world go by. Indeed, with its buskers and flower-sellers, its mad pigeons and mime-artists, its wonderfully lively and varied architecture, the Market Square is never a dull place. It is one of the real joys of Krakow.

jhm, ktanska, siamesa, Cretense, JT50, danos, pablominto has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Aires dos Santos (AiresSantos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6708 W: 209 N: 14053] (56155)
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