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Floriańska Street leads to the largest market area of any city in Europe. The Main Market, planned in 1257, is 200 x 200 m square. It used to be a place of trade, divided into zones, with many small shops called 'kram', the official municipal scales, food storage warehouses the fish market, coal depot, even a chicken market. This remarkable square with its tourist attractions and places of great interest competes well with the Old Town in Warsaw or Długa Street in Gdańsk.

Cloth Hall

In the centre of the Main Market Square is The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice). It is one of the most important buildings in the city. It has been reconstructed many times and does not resemble the original plan of the building. It used to be a street crossing the market from north to south with shops on both sides. The street was then roofed. The brick Gothic Sukiennice was destroyed in the fire of 1555. It was rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Italian architects living in Kraków - Jan Maria Padovano, Santi Gucci, Jan Frakstijn. Decorations and loggias similar to the Wawel court arcades were added at this time. The last reconstruction by Tomasz Pryliński dates back to 1875-1879. On 7th of October 1879 a decision was taken to open the National Museum in the Sukiennice. In September 1883 the museum became the first Polish public institution in a country divided and ruled by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Today the museum contains Polish XIX century paintings by such famous Polish painters as Matejko, Chełmoński, Gierymski, and Podkowiński. Unfortunately it is now closed for reconstruction. Reopening is planned in spring 2008.

Mickiewicz monument

Not far from the museum, just opposite Sienna Street, there is a monument to the celebrated Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. He in fact never visited Kraków during his lifetime and 35 years after his death, in 1890, his remains were brought from Paris and buried officially in the Wawel. This was the occasion for a tremendous popular demonstration against the three occupying countries. The monument was unveiled in 1898, the 100th anniversary of the death of Mickiewicz. In 1940 it was destroyed by German soldiers and was not seen in the Main Market until its restoration in 1955.
(Source: The Visitor Malopolska)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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