Lanckorona Main Market Square
Lanckorona was a royal town founded by Kazimierz III Wielki and was initially intended to be his hunting home. The King did not spare a penny, as he planned to build an impenetrable fortress here; eventually, a town was established under Magdeburg Law, with many privileges. Its name is German in origin and means “the country’s crown”. Lanckorona lost its city rights in 1934.
It became a famous summer resort in the interwar period. It was visited by such people as Józef Piłsudski and Ignacy Mościcki. To this day, painters and photographers, art lovers, actors and architects come to visit. One of them is Kazimierz Wiśniak – an outstanding painter, draftsman, stage designer and co-founder of the Krakow "Piwnica pod Baranami". The artist edits and illustrates the local newspaper "Kurier Lanckoroński".
As the town is situated on a mountain slope, it has an unusual, steep market square, with a slope of nearly 10% – as they say, the steepest market on the Bursztynowy Szlak (Amber Route) with dimensions of 90 x 110 metres. It is surrounded by a network of streets with wooden houses from the end of the 19th century. In 1869, a huge fire destroyed 79 houses around the square, but stylised new houses were soon built in their place, which we can admire today. The best preserved are located on the eastern frontage of the market square and on Świętokrzyska, Zamkowa, Krakowska and Piłsudskiego Streets. The historic buildings also include the parish church of St. John the Baptist. Above the church, among the trees, the ruins of the castle are hidden.
The Main Market Square, surrounded by wooden arcaded houses, is one of the most beautiful complexes of old wooden architecture in the country. The charming, beautiful, one-story houses are shingled, with protruding attics, porches with truss railings and picturesque deep arcades where merchants used to display their goods. The characteristic roofs protruding beyond the perimeter of the buildings are a direct result of the interpretation of local law that states that the property ends at the roof line. The houses are separated by copper bars (narrow passages between buildings). Wide entrance gates often hide beautiful, extensive gardens behind them.
Among the buildings, there is the impressive Antoni Krajewski Regional Chamber, established in 1967. It is located in a small wooden hut, that was miraculously saved from the great fire of 1869. The exhibition presents the history of Lanckorona, archaeological excavations from the area of the castle, exhibits presenting the everyday life of the inhabitants and, most importantly, a model of the market square from before the fire. Part of the exhibition is devoted to the Bar Confederates.
Cyclical events have been organised in Lanckorona for years: the Jarmark Wielkanocny (Easter Market), the Jarmark Świętojański (Midsummer Fair) and the December festival Anioł w miasteczku (Angel in the Town).
Lanckorona is often called the Miasteczko Aniołów (Town of Angels), because they can be found almost everywhere.
The largest angel, with a cut out heart, welcomes you in the Market Square. It is a contemporary sculpture made by the Italian artist Enrico Muscetra, who lives in Krakow.
When visiting Lanckorona, we can let ourselves be guided by the words of Marek Grechuta's song,
“The view from the balcony of a villa in Lanckorona is a view of a constant battle; fields which the horses will not drive through until the wheat has been reaped (…) The steep street leads to the bakery, the defeated soil cooling on the shelves. A young baker throws fragrant grains in the shape of lumps of bread to the aviary ...”
On the Market Square, you can also find the well of Marek Grechuta, who is honoured with the title of an Angel.“Lanckorona, Lanckorona, unfolded, where to hide from scorching heat and rain, from the patter of quick things”, he sang in one of his songs. On the well there is a fragment of his most famous song: “Only the days that we have yet to know are important…”.