OUR CITY IN THE PAST AND NOW – MAIN MARKET SQUARE

by Marta Barankiewicz (1996), Anna Matyja (1995), LOK Krakow/Poland

The Main Market Square in Krakow is the largest medieval square in Europe. The greatest monuments are Mariacki Church, Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall), St Adalbert’s Church and the town hall tower. On the Main Market Square there is also Adam Mickiewicz’s monument.

Today in the heart of Krakow we have beautiful and colourful houses around the square, but in the past they were very shabby and dilapidated. In 1951 the authorities decided to liquidate the tracks in the Market Square, because earlier trams could go there. In 1940 the Main Market Square was called Adolf-Hitler Platz, but on 18th January 1945 it returned to its previous name. On 4th January 1979, the Main Market Square closed for cars.

And how is it in your countries? How has your area changed?

4 Responses to “OUR CITY IN THE PAST AND NOW – MAIN MARKET SQUARE”

  1. I liked this article. I have never visited Krakow, but one day I’ll do it. I think it’s very fascinating town.

  2. Just like Krakow also my hometown, Assisi, has changed over the centuries and many archaeological ruins that have been found in this area can attest it. Assisi was first settled by the Umbrians and was sorrounded only by fields and woods. Afterwards it became an Etruscan center until 295 BC when it was conquered by the Romans. Today we can still find Roman remains such as the city walls, a theatre, an amphitheatre and a forum, now the Piazza del Comune, which was the heart of the town and where there was the temple on Minerva. Over the following centuries the city began to expand outside the roman walls in fact the Rocca Maggiore, a medieval castle, was built on the top of the hill on which Assisi is situated and today it is possible to visit it and be able to have a complete view of the valley. Other elements that led to an expansion of the town are the churches as for example The Basilica of St. Francis(which is divided into lower and upper church where there are frescoes, depicting the life of St. Francis, by renowned artist like Cimabue and Giotto). Obviously toghether with the different buildings many new towns and houses were built outside the city walls in fact they are much more modern compared to the ones we can find in the historical center. Today Assisi with its ruins is a world center of art(that leaves its visitors amazed) and always tries to remain connected to its history, in fact every year during the first weekend of May there is a medieval festival, Calendimaggio, in which all the participants dress up with medieval dresses and recreate the atmosphere that we believe Assisi enjoyed in the Middle Ages.

  3. I live in Assisi in Italy, and here the situation is very different from the one you have described in the article: first of all Assisi is a medieval city, so it is characterized by a great number of old buildings like old houses, churches or temples. There is also a great number of squares and for each square there is a church that is dedicated to a saint. As a medieval city, on the highest part of it there is a fortress with long walls that surrounded the city: these walls represented a way to preserve it from external attacks.
    The most interesting part of the city, according to me, is the Foro Romano, it corresponds to the old roman square that is now placed under the new square: here you can see how the old central square was structured and also some finds of the roman time.
    The central square is called “Piazza del Comune” because the town hall is placed there, the other squares have names of saints, for example we have: piazza Santa Chiara, with Saint Claire’s church, piazza San Francesco with the basilica and piazza San Rufino with the church of the patron saint of Assisi.
    Differently from your city, Assisi has not changed in its internal structure, there are the same squares, the same temples and the same churches, the only aspect that is very different from centuries or years ago is represented by the external part of the city, in which initially only few houses were built. Now there is something like a new city: there are schools, offices, supermarkets and facilities.
    For me the fact that assisi has not changed its real and old aspect is important because today the city represents a heritage that we must protect.

  4. Very nice article. I love this city and this place of Krakow.