Krakus Mound is thought to be the resting place of Krakow's mythical founder, the legendary King Krakus. It has the base diameter of 60 metres and the height of 16 metres. Together with nearby Wanda Mound, it is one of Krakow's two prehistoric mounds, and the oldest man-made structure in Krakow. Nearby are also two other non-prehistoric, man-made mounds, Kościuszko Mound, constructed in 1823, and Piłsudski's Mound, completed in 1937.
The age and the original purpose of the mound remain a mystery, although religious and memorial purposes have been ascribed to the mounds. Excavations conducted in mid-1930s revealed that the mound consists of a solid wooden core covered with soil and turf. Some artifacts dating from between the 8th and 10th centuries were found inside, but no human remains or bones were discovered. According to another hypothesis the mound is of Celtic origin and dates from the 2nd-1st century BCE. Mythical origins are also connected to the mound. Krakus is said to have been constructed to honour the death of King Krakus when mourning townspeople filled their sleeves with sand and dirt and brought it to the site of the Krakus Mound to create a mountain that would rule over the rest of the landscape, as King Krakus had. Originally, four smaller mounds ringed the Krakus Mound, but they were demolished in the 19th century to create Krakow's city wall.
Similar to other ancient structures, such as Stonehenge, the Krakus Mound may have been constructed with astronomy in mind. If one stands on the Krakus Mound and looks towards Wanda Mound at sunrise on the morning of Beltane, the second-largest Celtic feast day, one will see the sun rise directly over Wanda Mound.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.