You’ve probably seen the picture of Kraków’s Main Market Square a thousand times. After all, it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in Poland. Well, take a look at it one more time and try to imagine what treasures might be hiding a few meters underneath the famous Cloth Hall.
The Main Market Square in Kraków has a long history. It emerged in 1257, rebuilt after the city was destroyed by the Tatars in 1241. In 2005, subterranean excavations began. The interesting artefacts found around the Cloth Hall made people wonder what else might have been hidden under the ground. And what they found certainly brought no disappointment…
Remnants of old merchant stalls, thoroughfares and aqueducts, an old cemetery giving a testimony to the peculiar burial practices of the 11th century (e.g. how to bury a potential vampire), as well as relics of the vivid commercial life, including coins, jewellery, weights and clothes - all this paints a detailed picture of the everyday life of Krakovians over the past centuries.
In 2010, an underground museum was opened on the archaeological site. It combines the old with the modern, presenting Kraków’s everyday history with the use of touchscreens, holograms and smoke machines. At the entrance, you are greeted by a hologram of 14th-century inhabitants of Kraków, projected onto a smoke curtain that you have to walk through.
The museum is very popular and only up to 300 visitors are allowed at a time, so if you are planning to descend the 5 meters under the Cloth Hall and set off on a journey back in time, make sure to buy your ticket for a particular time in advance.