Small Market Square

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Address:
Mikołajska/Sienna , 31-000 Kraków

Description

The Small Market Square was known under the name forum antiquum, from the trading in used goods that took place here, and alternatively Wendeta or Tandeta.

The Small Market Square was known under the name forum antiquum, from the trading in used goods that took place here, and alternatively Wendeta or Tandeta. It was an ancillary area to the Main Square, and actually was used for the trading of goods that did not look or smell the best: meat and fish. In the Middle Ages it was connected to St Mary’s Square, being separated from it by just a few wooden houses belonging to the vergers serving at St Mary’s, and by a shambles.

It was only when the vicarage was constructed in 1631, that the Small Market Square was fully enclosed on that side.

In the first years of the 19th century, after the demolition of St Mary’s School that used to stand at the junction of Stolarska and Sienna streets, the Small Market Square received its current form. It is worth emphasising that this school was Poland’s first municipal parish school.

The northern side of the Small Market Square is bounded by the house of the Lamelli family, standing by the end of ul. Szpitalna. It originated from the amalgamation of a number of Gothic houses in the latter half of the 18th century. One of the rooms on the ground floor, from the ul. Szpitalna side, has retained a 15th-century polychrome mural. The building owes its late-classicist form to the reconstruction carried out after the fire of 1844. The eastern boundary consists of the harmonious frontages of houses, whose basements and walls are Gothic, albeit their façades have changed in later reconstructions. The most interesting of these, the townhouse of the merchant Herman Fritsch (No. 1), was transformed into the baroque style, and bears the characteristic figure of a knight in the corner niche. The house of the penitentiaries (i.e. fathers confessor) of St Mary’s Church stands at No. 7, and is particularly well known for the courtyard surrounded by a late Renaissance gallery made of wood (!), most probably modelled on Wawel Castle. The galleries are an example of the carpenters’ craft: solid and full of taste. Yet the feature most worth remembering in the Small Market Square is Szoberowska House at No. 6 with its late-Gothic façade. It is here that the oldest Polish newspaper entitled “Merkuriusz Polski” was first printed in 1661. It was published for hardly more than six months, some of which time was in Warsaw; yet it is Kraków that holds the palm of hosting the first example of Polish journalism.

The trading character of the Small Market Square was obliterated by the decision to introduce tramlines here: first in 1902 along ul. Sienna, and later, in 1935, through the very middle of the Square, towards St Mary’s Square. They spelt the definitive end to the centuries-long trading tradition in this location, and even though the tram moved out from the Small Market Square in 1953, the stalls have never returned. There was a car park here creating an eyesore that was removed by the reconstruction carried out in 2006.

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Date: 2012-04-02 Show ticket
News author: ANNA WAŚKOWSKA
News Publisher: Redakcja MPI
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