Wolnica Square and the City Hall of Kazimierz

Plac Wolnica, Kraków


The present Wolnica Square is a part of the old market square in Kazimierz.

The name comes from the Latin forum liberum, i.e. the right to free trade (the name Wolnica is derived from the Polish word wolny, which means "free"), according to which merchants could sell meat (in places other than in the so-called jatki) on the square every Saturday. The market square was laid down with a swing not long after founding the town (1335); at the time, its size was hardly smaller than the size of the Kraków market square. In the west, it used to reach as far as today's Augustiańska Street and in the south – Skawińska Street and the House of Esterka (46 Krakowska Street).

The east and north frontages have remained unaltered. The salt trade leading towards Wieliczka and Bochnia ran through its middle along the present-day Krakowska Street. The Swedish Deluge (1655) and the Great Northern War (1704-1705) severely destroyed Kazimierz. Due to the progressive destruction, the whole urban layout, including the market square, is mostly unclear.

What remained of the former splendour of the town was only a stately, albeit ruined, town hall in the middle of Wolnica square. Initially Gothic (relics of 14th-century walls remained in the cellar), it burnt down twice and was rebuilt each time. During the works conducted in the years 1578 and 1623 respectively, the Renaissance shape of the edifice was consolidated, with a tower topped with a modest roof and crenelated attics, which are rare in Kraków.

After the incorporation of Kazimierz to Kraków in 1800 within an initiative whose purpose was to "beautify" the city, new alignments of streets were laid out and that was when Wolnica Square obtained its present borders. The town hall, completely rebuilt in 1876, became the seat of a school, and after World War II it contained the Ethnographic Museum. In 1907, a plaque was embedded in its eastern wall to commemorate the arrival of Jews in Poland. In 1970, a fountain was placed on the square, with a sculpture entitles Three musicians by Bronisław Chromy.

Source: krakow.travel

Translation: Summa Linguae

Date: 2013-06-17 Show ticket
News author: Weronika Dulowska
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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