Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
 

The Rynek Underground Museum: A journey through time under Krakow´s Main Market Square

David Goran

After a team of archaeologists discovered and excavated underground tunnels under Krakow´s Main Market Square in 2005, the Rynek Underground Museum was created – an archaeological site of over 6,000-square-meters  which opened its doors to the public for the first time on 24 September 2010.

Home to many treasures, the Rynek Underground, Source

Home to many treasures, the Rynek Underground, By Jorge Láscar from Australia – Rynek Underground, CC BY 2.0

 

What was discovered was a treasure trove of items and structural remnants that paint a vivid picture of everyday commercial life in Kraków. The subterranean excavation of the square began in 2005, and uncovered not only the remnants of merchant stalls and various everyday objects — such as weights, coins, clothing, and jewelry — but also preserved stretches of medieval thoroughfares, remnants of a settlement that was destroyed by raiding Tatars in 1241, centuries-old aqueducts, and a cemetery showcasing some of the peculiar burial practices of the 11th century.

Upon entering, visitors pass through a wall of smoke and follow a clockwise trail through time. Source

Upon entering, visitors pass through a wall of smoke and follow a clockwise trail through time. By Jorge Láscar/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 

The hi-tech museum is subtitled, “In the Footsteps of Krakow´s European Identity” and plots the evolution of the city from its earliest settlements.

The museum was built to showcase this treasure trove of Krakówian history, and mixes the artifacts and restored archaeological sites with lasers, smoke machines, holograms, and six hundred three-dimensional models of everyday objects.

All via thirty-seven touch screens placed throughout to recreate the atmosphere of Kraków seven hundred years ago. Visitors explore the medieval exhibits by walking over glass gantries that hang over the area.

Suspended glass walkways. Source

Suspended glass walkways. By Jorge Láscar/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 

Clothing. Source

Clothing. By Jorge Láscar/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 

Melting metal. Source

Melting metal. By Jorge Láscar/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 

Visitors to Rynek Underground are first greeted by holographic 14th-century Krakovians projected onto a curtain of smoke, which is parted to reveal an immersive environment representing daily life in medieval Kraków.

Old Polish Cart. Source

Old Polish Cart. By Jorge Láscar/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 

Original leather shoes. Source

Original leather shoes. By Jorge Láscar/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

 

Because of the museum’s popularity, and the fact that it is limited to only 300 people at a time. Source

Because of the museum’s popularity, it is limited to only 300 people at a time. By Robin – originally posted to Flickr as Uncovered History, CC BY 2.0

This part of the museum contains remains of medieval constructions, including: the remains of burned settlements, the oldest of which dates from the eleventh century, a reconstructed 12th-century workshop, former waterworks (aqueducts), a reconstruction of a medieval merchant’s stall and a map depicting distant trade routes among many others.