Barbican and the city walls

ul. Basztowa, Kraków

Standing between Barbican and St Florian's Gate, we find ourselves at the beginning of the Royal Route, that is the most attractive tourist route in Kraków, leading from Jan Matejko Square, past Barbican, through St Florian's Gate, down Floriańska Street to the Main Market Square, and along Grodzka and Kanonicza Streets to Wawel Hill.

The first model, presenting the Barbican and the best preserved fragment of the defence wall, is situated on the right-hand side of St Florian's Gate, when approaching from the Barbican. In summer a local musical band plays in its vicinity. Approaching the model from the side of the Barbican, we find the text in Braille on the oblique surface surrounding the model. The text in Polish (on the left) is separated from the English (on the right) with the coat-of-arms of the city of Kraków. Situated on the top, over the description in Polish, is the Barbican (known as "the Pot" by locals): a powerful bastion built in the 15th century on a circular plan with an internal diameter of 24.5 m (80ft). Its walls are over 3 m (10 ft) thick. The building is crowned with seven observation turrets, and used to be surrounded by a moat that was 24 m (78 ft) wide, and 3.5 m (11.5 ft) deep. To fulfil its principal role, namely the defence of the main city gate, the Barbican was furnished with 130 embrasures made in its walls. Today it hosts a variety of theatrical productions, stagings, and shows.

Going around the model, on the oblique surface we find the outlines (described in English and Polish in Braille) showing the situation of the Barbican towards the city walls and St Florian's Gate. Touching the objects, we are standing with our backs to the actual defence walls. On the model, above the outlines, we find fragments of the stone defence walls of the city. Soaring above them are three towers and St Florian's Gate in a square tower reaching over 34 m (111 ft) up. Also known as "the Gate of Glory", St Florian's Gate was the most magnificent of the gates leading into the city. Situated above it from the side of the city is the baroque bar relief of St Florian, the patron saint of Kraków, fire-fighters, and foundry workers. To the left from St Florian's Gate, we find the Carpenters' and Joiners' towers connected to the building of the flat-roofed former City Arsenal, whilst standing to the right is the Haberdashers' Tower with the entrance to the tourist route leading along the galleries on the walls that connect the gate to the neighbouring towers. St Florian's Gate used to be connected to the Barbican by the so-called "neck", whose course is marked on the model with a clearly different texture.


Barbican and the city walls (mp3)

Date: 2016-03-26 Show ticket
News author: Karol Róg
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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