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If you had to pick one spot from which to get a great panorama of Poland’s history, culture and lure, Wawel Hill, the site of a castle, cathedral and fortress is the place to see. The spot is easily discernible and essential for the Krakow visitor. Poland’s history is long and full a many geographic shifts and power struggles and this is the best place to get a sense of all of it.
The Wawel Castle since the 11th century preserved the home and collections of the Polish kings and ruling classes. Today it is the site of royal tombs, artwork, a treasury, armaments, relics and objects of devotion. The visitor to the grounds can expect general operating hours daily from April through September between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and from October through March between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. To access the overall grounds is free, however each exhibition inside has its own admission price and operating hours. Certain exhibitions are free Mondays–April 1: October 31 (9.30 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Sundays–November 1: March 31 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Cathedral Access to the Cathedral itself is free, however be aware that ceremonies and masses can disrupt the flow of tours. Touring around the many altars and tombs one can observe the ornate and rich prominence of faith in the history of Poland. For an extra fee one can visit the crypt and tower, however the church itself gives plenty to be seen for a regular visit.
State Rooms -These fantastic historic rooms on the first floor of the Castle have Renaissance carved ceilings as well as portals. Portraits and a collection of fine European art and furnishings awaits the visitor.
Royal Private Apartments -These guest facilities boast renaissance and gothic themed attractions which include use of silver, porcelain, wood and fine Italian furnishings.
Crown Treasury and Armory, The room that once held all the emblems of Polish rule was sacked by the Prussians, however some of the essential coronation artifacts remain such as the Szczerbiec coronation sword. There are 4 rooms of ceremonial weapons and a well stocked basement full of armaments too.