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Szlak samochodowy: Szkoła katów, perła renesansu i lecznicze pierniki

Car trail: The executioners' school, the pearl of the Renaissance and healing gingerbread

Drewniana brama z gontowym dachem.
Tarnów Tourist region: Tarnów i okolice
We make no secret that the following tour is one of the most colourful and exciting tours in the region. Medieval towns, legends and stories, the interweaving of worlds and history, and even the invention of the bulletproof vest! Check out below where such attractions await you!

Piktogram długość trasy Z Krakowa do Krakowa 62 kilometres

Piktogram z miejscem startu trasy Z Krakowa do Krakowa Tarnów

Piktogram z dojazdem do szlaku Z Krakowa do Krakowa from east and west along the A4 motorway, from which you should exit at Tarnów Zachód junction, from where you take road no. 975 to Wojnicz to enter national road no. 94 in the direction of Rzeszów. When you see signs directing you to the centre of Tarnów, turn right and continue straight along Krakowska Street (approx. 5 km) until you reach the railway station, where there is a large car park on Dworcowa Street.

From the north: take road no. 73. Once you reach the A4 motorway, follow the directions above or continue along road no. 73 towards the centre and use the navigation prompts to reach the above-mentioned car park.

From Nowy Sącz: take road no. 975 to Wojnicz, and from there, follow the above directions.

Tarnów - a pearl of the Renaissance

The first mass transport of prisoners to KL Auschwitz set off from Tarnów railway station on 14 June 1940. The building, whose history dates to the beginning of the 20th century and whose renovated interior brings back memories of the 20th interwar period, is worth a moment's look.

From the proposed car park to Market Square – the destination of the walk – is less than 1.5 kilometres. You start there along Dworcowa Street in the direction of Krakowska Street. At the crossroads, turn right and go to the northern side of the road. In a moment, at Księdza Jerzego Popiełuszki Square, you will see the only space fountain in Poland depicting the Solar System.

Krakowska Street is a pearl of Art Nouveau. The carefully restored tenement houses evoke the atmosphere of Imperial Royal Tarnów from the turn of the 20th century.

Closer to the centre, your attention will undoubtedly be drawn to Brama Seklerska / the Seklerska Gate, named after Józef Bem and Sandor Petöfi. It is a gift of the Hungarian Irott Szó Foundation and the town of Sepsiszentgyőrgy to Tarnów (there is a similar structure in Poland only in Stary Sącz).

A little further on, to the right, is the former inn and now the Ethnographic Museum, with its exhibition on the history and culture of the Roma. From here, it is only a few steps to Sobieskiego Square, with its characteristic café in the tram car and to Market Square, which you reach via Katedralna Street.

The Old Town in Kraków is called 'the pearl of the Renaissance'. It has one of the most beautiful Renaissance architectural layouts in Poland.

Let's start with the Basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a monumental building from the 14th century. Its furnishings are notable for the Renaissance tombstones of the Tarnowski family, a two-storey monument to Hetman Jan Tarnowski and what is considered the most beautiful Renaissance sculpture of a woman in Europe: the tombstone of Barbara Tarnowska, née Tęczyńska.

The Basilica is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows, to which pilgrims come primarily because of the 17th-century Pietà carved in wood and located in one of the side altars. Art historians note the similarity of the Tarnów statue to the painting 'Lamentation' by Van Dyck.

After leaving the temple, we suggest walking eastwards through Market Square, with the Town Hall standing in the middle on your right, to enter Żydowska Street, where the Bimah stands, a rostrum and space for reading the Torah, the only trace of the Old Synagogue from 1630. Making a small circle around the tenements and backstreets of Tarnów, you pass fragments of the city walls, the Monument to General Joseph Bem and the Statue of Roman Brandstaetter, who, leaning against the corner of a tenement house, smokes a pipe and watches passers-by from behind his spectacles.

Piktogram z opcją wycieczki z Krakowa do Krakowa

From the Monument to the ‘Polish Edison’ to the Joseph Bem Mausoleum

Turning at the figure of Roman Brandstaetter into Goldhammer Street, after 300 metres, you will reach a square with a fountain and a monument to Jan Szczepanik, known as the ‘Polish Edison.’ He was the inventor of colour photography and the bulletproof vest.

Crossing the square diagonally to the left and heading west along Mickiewicza Street, you will pass the characteristic building of the Ludwik Solski Theatre. Turning into Piłsudskiego Street, you will reach the Strzeleckiego Park with its interesting fountain with lions, the Sensory Art Garden and the General Joseph Bem Mausoleum, where the remains of the Polish and Hungarian hero are buried.

The numerous references to Joseph Bem are not coincidental, as the general was born in Tarnów in 1794. At the square that bears his name today, there is a plaque commemorating this fact on one of the tenement houses.

We return to the centre along Piłsudskiego Street, passing the largest seminary in Europe. At the end of the street, by the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, you turn left and go up the stairs to Wałowa Street, heading right.

Continuing along Wałowa Street, you will reach Ławeczka Poetów / the Poets’ Bench, where Agnieszka Osiecka, Jan Brzechwa and Zbigniew Herbert rested. On the way, there is a square with the Monument to King Władysław Łokietek. Note: touching the king's shoe with your right hand is said to bring luck and fulfilment of dreams!

Let's go to Tuchów

From the car park, take Dworcowa Street to Krakowska Street, turn right and follow the signs to Tuchów. After about three kilometres, you will reach the town bypass, where you will see signs that you are on road no. 977.

Entering Tuchów, look out for a car park at the foot of the hill, on which stands the Sanctuary of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Stanislaus the Bishop and the Martyr.

Piktogram z parkingiem na trasie Z Krakowa do Krakowa on the left, by the street or higher, by the monastery.

The temple is located on a hill called Lipie. According to legend, there used to be a pagan temple here. An old Benedictine tradition maintains that a wooden church was built on its site before 1079 and is said to have been consecrated by Bishop Stanisław Szczepanowski.

Pilgrims are attracted to Tuchów by the 16th-century miraculous painting of Our Lady of Tuchów. In 1641, the Bishop of Kraków, Tomasz Oborski, appointed a commission to investigate the miracles taking place and, having studied the results of its work, declared the painting miraculous a year later. Many pilgrims left numerous votive offerings at the shrine in thanks for the blessings they had received. When Emperor Joseph II ordered the requisition of valuables from the churches in 1785, 16 carts laden with them left Tuchow!

The brick Baroque temple dates to the 17th century, as does the Monastery of the Fathers Redemptorist, which takes care of the Sanctuary and was built in the 19th century.

While visiting, it is also worth visiting the Redemptorist Missionary Museum, where a moving Christmas crib is a curiosity, the Sanctuary Museum related to the cult of the Virgin Mary and the Ethnographic Museum. Market Square in Tuchów is also worth a stroll. Its shape was marked out in 1341 and has survived to this day. In the centre stands the classicist town hall from 1874, next to which there is a statue of St. Florian, founded in 1781 by Benedictine Abbot Florian Amanda Janowski.

If you continue along road no. 977, you reach Gromnik, where it is worth turning off to road no. 980 (in the direction of Zakliczyn) to see the wooden Church of St. Martin the Bishop, located about 300 metres from the crossroads, from the turn of the 16th century and has Baroque furnishings, a papal oak tree, and to follow the Way of the Cross by the new church, whose stations are built of huge boulders, on each of which a pebble from a place associated with the life of Jesus is placed.

Piktogram z parkingiem na trasie Z Krakowa do Krakowalocated slightly to the right of the road, next to the vicarage.

Driving south from Gromnik, after a few minutes, you cross the bridge over the Biała River and find yourself in Ciężkowice (34 kilometres from Tarnów). Turning left, 3 Maja Street leads you to Market Square in Ciężkowice. On the way, we suggest visiting  Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Manor House in Kąśnej Dolnej (about 2.5 kilometres).

Piktogram z opcją wycieczki z Krakowa do Krakowa

Go straight ahead, and after a kilometre, you will see signs leading you to the manor house. This is the only preserved residence of the great composer and Prime Minister of the Second Republic, who lived and worked here during the summer months from 1897 to 1903.

The interiors have been recreated with a drawing room, Chinese room, the master's study, bedroom and drawing rooms. Today, it is a concert centre and museum of the great composer, where you can see, among other things, the Czech Petrof piano on which he played and composed. Return to Ciężkowice along the same road.

Ciężkowice – charming market square and Skamieniałe Miasto (Petrified City)

The first mentions of Ciężkowice come from the document of Cardinal Idzi from 1125 when the village belonged to the Benedictine monastery in Tyniec near Kraków. The location privilege was granted to the settlement in 1348 by King Casimir the Great. The medieval urban layout and wooden houses with arcades supported on four posts from the turn of the 18th-19th century (one of the best preserved is marked with the number 12) and the brick Town Hall from this period have survived until our times. To the northwest of the square is a brick neo-Gothic church of St. Andrew, which is the Sanctuary of Lord Jesus Merciful. From here, it is still worth going to the Spa Park, the latest attraction in Ciężkowice.

Piktogram z parkingiem na trasie Z Krakowa do KrakowaThere are extensive car parks P1 (below, free) and P2 (above, paid) in the park. Note: Finding a free space at weekends isn't easy, especially on Sundays.


Maps by the car park provide the location of the attractions. First and foremost is the Skamieniałe Miasto / Petrified City Reserve, with rocks of fanciful shapes and equally exciting names, e.g. Cyganka, Maczuga, Borsuk / Gypsy, Mace, and Badger. According to legend, the area was once a town cursed for its inhabitants' misdeeds, and it is said that evil forces still reside there today. Perhaps, they influenced the local people, who protested the idea of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who wanted to buy the area of Skamieniałe Miasto / Petrified City, combine it with his manor house and build guesthouses for summer visitors at the foot of the rocks. It was feared that the guests' skimpy outfits would offend the locals.

In addition to the reserve, the Czarownic Gorge, with its picturesque waterfall and the Spa Park, is worth a visit, with recreational and tourist facilities available, including hydrotherapy (water therapy) facilities, Alpine garden (a garden made of rocks and earth, complete with mountain vegetation), greenhouse (dendrological garden), paddling pools with mineral baths, a network of alleys, a heath, an outdoor gym, a playground, water gardens, a graduation tower and a sensory garden.

Time to move on

Continuing on your way, take the same route downhill, heading right. After about a kilometre, turn left to Rzepiennik Strzyżewski. The road requires the driver to pay extra attention due to the numerous bends.

In Rzepiennik Strzyżewski, turn right and follow road no. 980 from there. The first several kilometres are full of bends; we remind you to be careful and observe the speed limit.

Piktogram z opcją wycieczki z Krakowa do Krakowa

On the border of Rzepiennik Strzyżewski and Rzepiennik Biskupie, the road to Tura turns right and leads to the private Queen Jadwiga Astronomical Observatory, created by Magdalena and Bogdan Wszołek.

It is the largest facility in Poland and the second largest in Europe. The location of the observatory is not accidental –– it has some of the best conditions in Poland for observing the sky.

The location of the observatory: φ=49º46'36".16 N, λ=21º05'22".27 E Due toits popularity, it is advisable to make an appointment in advance.

The facility's main attraction is a 9-metre American radio telescope, a satellite dish previously operated at the Satellite Centre in Psary near Kielce. An American satellite earth station with a canopy diameter of 5.4 metres was located at the military-owned Satellite Regional Operations Centre in Komorowo before it was brought to Rzepiennik.

A wooden gem in Binarowa

After driving 57 kilometres, you reach Binarowa, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the wooden Church of St. Michael the Archangel, built around 1500.

Piktogram z ważną informacją o szlaku Z Krakowa do Krakowa

A visit to the church is possible by prior arrangement with a guide.

Piktogram z parkingiem na trasie Z Krakowa do Krakowa  on the left side of the road.

The walls and ceiling of the temple are covered with paintings, including 17th-century Baroque cycles with scenes from the New Testament and views of Binarowa at that time. The interior of the church is also attractive: the painted confessionals and pulpit, the celebrant's throne, the Gothic sculptures and bas-reliefs in the altars and the stone baptismal font with a Baroque lid. A short film convinces visitors that it is worth a stop here.

We should add that Binarowa is also the Marian Devotion Centre. On the left side altar is a painting of Our Lady with Child (Piaskowa), famous for exceptional blessings. The work of art dates from the 17th century and is a replica of the miraculous image of Mary from the Carmelite Church in Kraków. There were pilgrimages to the painting as early as the 18th century. Today, a novena in honour of Our Lady of the Sand is celebrated every Wednesday, combined with the reading of petitions and thanksgiving.

Biecz – little Kraków or Polish Carcassonne? Let’s check.

After you reach the crossroads in Biecz, turn right and after less than a kilometre, you reach Market Square. Due to its architecture, Biecz is called 'little Kraków', and the well-preserved defensive walls have led it to be known as 'the Polish Carcassonne'.

Piktogram z parkingiem na trasie Z Krakowa do Krakowaon Market Square or in the adjacent streets.

The first mention of the town dates to the beginning of the 11th century, in the chronicle of the German Bishop Thietmar. Biecz was granted town rights in 1257. The town developed rapidly thanks to its location on the Hungarian trade route and royal privileges, ordering passing merchants to put some of their goods on sale here.

Looking at the small size of the town today, it is hard to believe that there were as many as three castles and an extensive manor house, where kings from the Piast and Jagiellon dynasties spent a lot of time. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the largest towns in Małopolska, surrounded by defensive walls with numerous towers, three of which have survived.

The importance of the town is shown by the fact that from autumn 1311 to spring of the following year, King Władysław Łokietek stayed in Biecz, having taken refuge here during the rebellion of the alderman Albert. Queen Jadwiga, who founded the Holy Spirit Hospital, also visited here.

In the middle of Market Square is the Renaissance Town Hall with a 56-metre tower (you can climb to its top), covered with a characteristic sgraffito mosaic. Additionally, noteworthy are historic tenement houses, including the House of Becz the Bandit, the legendary founder of the city, standing on the western frontage of Market Square, or the building of the former synagogue (Rynek 20).

A walk along the street leaving the market square. Kromera Street allows you to experience the atmosphere of the town, and it leads you to the Museum of the Region of Biecz and the medieval defensive walls with the ruins of the Barbican.

You must visit the collegiate church in Biecz, the parish church of Corpus Christi, one of the most valuable monuments of Gothic religious architecture in Poland. The oldest part is the presbytery, which dates from 1480, but its construction began in 1326. The interior is full of valuable monuments: a late Gothic bronze baptismal font, a 15th-century scene of the crucifixion of Christ on a rood beam, and richly carved Renaissance stalls. In the main altar is a painting called ‘The Descent from the Cross’, one of three of its kind worldwide. It is worth adding that there are relics of Saint
Jadwiga in the Oratory of Saint Jadwiga, where the queen often prayed.

Piktogram z ważną informacją o szlaku Z Krakowa do Krakowa

The temple opens to the faithful 30 minutes before the service. It is also possible to visit the church with a guide of the Museum of the Region of Biecz for a fee.

You can easily find all the town's attractions using the interactive map, available on the Town Hall website.

Piktogram z ciekawostka o szlaku Z Krakowa do Krakowa

Executioners' School and gingerbread

Centuries ago, the city was the seat of the Higher Court of German Law, whose judgments were often carried out in Market Square. In 1616, Biecz received the 'right of the sword': the right to employ an executioner and carry out death sentences. The executioner master had apprentices, called executioners, torturers or executioner's henchmen, whom he trained in their profession. The executioner had to be able to read, write and know anatomy to choose the appropriate torture. The latter had to be painful but not so great that the villain would die or be permanently disabled. Nor could torture during execution cause premature death.

The school location was not accidental: the city attracted many criminals due to its strategic commercial location. This required decisive action to maintain order. The executioners from Biecz had a lot of work and plenty of opportunities to improve their skills, so they were often 'hired' by other cities.

The second interesting fact concerns more recent times. In 1959, the 'Kasztelanka' Confectionery Factory was established in the city, which quickly gained fame for its flagship product: 'Kasztelan' gingerbread. After its collapse at the turn of the 21st century, the gingerbread tradition could not be revived.

However, Biecz's gingerbread traditions go back far into the past. The house with a tower (1 Węgierska  Street) housed the first pharmacy in the area, founded in 1557 by pharmacist Marcin Barian Rokicki. In the past, pharmacies produced gingerbread as a medicine for many diseases.

The described trail can be the first stage of an expedition to the amazing Beskid Niski. It can be combined with getting to know the charms of this region during the trip ‘In the footsteps of the Lemkos’ and hiking the trails ‘Around Bartne’ and ‘On the trails around Wysowa Zdrój’, the starting points of which are, respectively, in the towns of Bartne and Wysowa Zdrój.

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