Krakow’s long-awaited history museum finally opened in 2010 and is literally carved out beneath the Old Town’s lovely Rynek Główny, the largest — and arguably most beautiful — medieval square in Europe.
The Rynek Underground (Podziemia Rynku) lies 13.25 ft (4 m) below the square at the level of 10th-century Kraków and, against a backdrop of an excavated medieval marketplace, tunnels and an 11th-century cemetery, narrates the backstory of the city’s development from its early settlement 4,000 years ago right up to the death of Pope John-Paul II in 2005. As one of the most family-friendly museums in the city, this fun-filled march through the centuries is achieved with the help of a host of multilingual interactive displays, special effects, holograms, multimedia touchscreens, short documentaries and 4-D movies. Subjects addressed include trade and transport through the ages as well as vampire burials, and all the hi-tech is augmented with numerous collections of coins, scraps of textile and even a horse’s skull found during excavation of the site. Tickets are available for timed slots; book online at least a day in advance of a visit or go to the ticket office hidden away at the rear of the Sukiennce (Cloth Hall) the day before a visit.
Rynek Główny 1, Krakow. Open Apr–Oct Mon, Wed–Sun 10am- 10pm, Tue 10am–4pm; Nov–Mar Mon, Wed–Sun 10am–8pm, Tue 10am–4pm (closed first Mon of month). Admission adults 19 PLN; seniors & students 16 PLN; younger than 7 go free; family ticket 38 PLN (admission free on Tue). The Rynek Główny is in Krakow’s pedestrianized Old Town and best accessed on foot.