Archive for March 28th, 2020

March 28, 2020

Mariacki is Krakow, Poland!

So let me get back to Krakow, Poland. It was a surprise visit not planned but end up there somehow. It has given me many nice souvenirs and friends since 2017. I had the opportunity to walk all over the center and of course have other posts on the city. However, I think should give more credit to St Mary’s square or Mariacki and the basilica  and nice buildings there. Therefore here is my brief story on Mariacki in Krakow, Poland.

Mariacki Square is in the Old Town adjacent to the Main Square. In the center of the square is the St. Mary’s Church. The square was created after 1802 on the site of the liquidated parish cemetery at St. Mary’s Church. The area of the former cemetery is now lined with white cubes. The southern part of the square is decorated with a “pigeon well” with a bronze figure. The well and the figure is an enlarged replica of one of the sculptures of the prophets from the frame of the central wardrobe of the altar of the Church.. It is a gift of Krakow craftsmen for the city made in 1958. The Mariacki square (St Mary) which adjoins the Notre-Dame (St Mary) Church was from the Middle Ages to the last years of the 18C, the burial place of many generations of Kracovians (local residents).


There are several buildings at the Plac Mariacki: Some of the most relevant for me were

At No. 2 – tenement of St. Mary’s penitentiary priests, was built at the end of the 14C. In 1637, penitents purchased this tenement house from the Ryniewicz family. The final appearance of the building was given in the second half of the 19C.

No. 3 Hipolitów house – a burgher’s tenement house. Many old architectural details have been preserved: stone Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque portals, beam ceilings, rich stuccoes, paintings from the 18C. Once the facade was decorated with graffito decoration. The name of the house comes from its former owners – an Italian merchant family.

No. 4 at corner with Szpitalna str is the Prałatówka residence – built in the 17C for the archbishops of the basilica; the only example of an early Baroque-style residence in Krakow that has not undergone any changes: its portal is adorned with the Latin phrase Pateat amicis and miseris, meaning that this house is open to friends and the poor   Inside the house there are chambers, wooden ceilings, and antique stuccos in the hall.

The square also accommodates a second, smaller house of worship: the gothic Ste Barbara Church, dating back to the 14C and sitting atop the remains of Jakub Wujek, a 16C Jesuit priest who was the first person to translate the Bible to Polish. Behind the Church Ste. Barbara’s facade actually faces Maly Rynek no. 9 is the Ogrojec, a Late Gothic annex once serving the function of a cemetery chapel.

No. 8 – Dom Pod Ogrojcem, formerly it was decorated by the statue of Veit Stoss “Christ in the Garden”. Before WWI, the owner of the house, a well-known Krakow merchant and social activist, offered it to the National Museum, and replaced it with a copy that stands today.

No. 9 – at the corner of Mariacki Square and the Main Square stands the house of Cielcie, where Stanisław Wyspiański lived and wrote before the reconstruction . This fact is commemorated with a plaque . The house standing here is currently treated as an example of Art Nouveau architecture.


However, the main monument here and a must to see stand alone is the St Mary’s Basilica.

The St. Mary’s Basilica , also Our Lady (Notre Dame) Basilica built in the 14C in the former capital of Poland; Krakow. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. The church, with its mixture of Gothic architecture and Renaissance style, stands on the market square. Built of handmade bricks, the building has three naves. It is particularly renowned for its wooden altarpiece and its cloth market 13C. The basilica has two towers of different heights: the north tower, which measures 81 meters, as well as the south tower, which measures 69 meters and which constitutes the bell tower of the church with its five bells sheltered under a dome dating from the 16C. The largest Gothic wooden altarpiece in Europe, the large altarpiece, adorns the main altar: it is considered one of the masterpieces of sculpture from the early Middle Ages. The official webpage in English is here: Official St Mary’s Basilica

The tourist office of Krakow in English: Tourist office of Krakow on things to see

The city of Krakow in English on heritage: City of Krakow on heritage

The tourist office of Poland on Krakow in English: Tourist office of Poland on Krakow

There you go folks, a nice wonderful walks full of architecture and history of Poland all around you. Hope you enjoy the tour of St Mary’s square in Krakow!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,
March 28, 2020

Torre Mangana is Cuenca!

And back to my beloved Spain, nowdays more than ever solidarity is stronger. I have many souvenirs of living in Spain and visiting over my life, and Cuenca has a strong case to be one of the most memorable. My family followed me here and my dear late wife Martine really enjoy it so much. We had many memorable moments in Cuenca, Provincia de Cuenca, Autonomous Region of Castilla La Mancha, Kingdom of Spain

One of those memorable moments was climbing to the Torre Mangana tower; it has steep steps and rolling street. I was on point and the rest of the family follow begging to slow down lol! We always had a joke about this walk. Let me share it with you, the Torre Mangana of Cuenca.


We came looking for the Torre Mangana tower and we did! This is a huge tower on the upper part of the city.  The tower is from 1565 and the clock and Cross were added in 1532. This clock mark the official time of Cuenca even today! There is ongoing excavations below it closed to the public, as  the base of the tower on the plaza de Mangana,was where the neighoborhood of Arabs and later the Jewish quarter in medieval times and finally the Christian area of  Santa María(Saint Mary). Today it is a symbol of the city of Cuenca.

During the second half of the 19C, it was decided to change the top of the tower; which, despite the restorations, it is known that in 1862 it was in a terrible state. In 1926, the appearance of the tower will change considerably. The walls were covered with a rich and colorful decoration in plaster, inspired by Islamic motifs, mainly North African; while the staggered battlements that finished off the tower refer us like the mosque of Cordoba.

But this picturesque and exotic neo-Mudejar tower would not be the definitive one, the Torre Mangana was once again remodelled in 1970. With this restoration, it was intended, as stated in the project’s memory, to dignify a tower that, although it could not be considered a artistic monument of the first order, had great importance for Cuenca, as it had become one of city’s symbols. This project encase the tower and give it a fortified and defensive character that, as part of the old wall, it had originally had ; it provided the construction with a very powerful corbel, and finished it without a roof.

Let me go on on the Torre Mangana a symbol of the city of Cuenca.

By starting in Plaza de la Merced, you can already see the Torre Mangana tower looming before going to the Plaza de Mangana. You will do good to stop to contemplate the façade that is carved in stone that is just before reaching the tower, which belongs to an entry from the Cuenca Seminary: Mangana means machine in Arabic. It is known that in the 16C this 28-meter-high tower was remodeled or perhaps was built, in which a cross, a weather vane and a spire crowned this tower, and in which the clock was installed giving the time to the residents of the city. or more surely is that the Mangana Tower was part of the wall of this Arab fortification.


Already in the late 18C and early 19C it had to be repaired due to the damages of the war of independence against the French and in the 20C, specifically in 1926, the tower was remodeled in the Mudejar and African style. The Tower that we see today is from the last reform, in 1970, in which a corbel was put to make it look like a defensive tower.

The great Alcazar of Cuenca, was built here. A great building of which little is known and of which little remains today, which are the archaeological remains that are in the same square and the wall cloths in the streets that surround this area of the old town of the city. There is still the part of the ruins of the old alcazar and the old Church of Santa Maria.   When the city of Cuenca was reconquered by king Alfonso VIII, the Muslims who remained in the city and the Jewish community settled in the neighborhood where the tower is today. In this space a Synagogue was built and in the 15C the Church of Santa María, a one-story church with a tower with two bells, the only thing that remains of that church is the Montemayor tomb, transferred to the Cathedral. The church was demolished at the beginning of the 20C. In the archaeological excavations of the Plaza de Mangana in Cuenca we can see remains of this church.


Ou have wonderful viewpoints from the Mangana square or Plaza de Mangana where the tower is also: The new city area, the Hoz del Júcar river and the old town of Cuenca in different perspectives. You can look out or you can also sit on one of the banks of the Plaza de Mangana to contemplate the beautiful landscape of Cuenca.

You see more and more info on the Torre Mangana in these webpages, hope it helps you come and visit here, it is recommended

See the Cultural Center Cervantes in Spanish on the Torre Mangana; Centro Cultural Cervantes on Cuenca torre Mangana

The tourist office of Province of CuencaTourist office of province of Cuenca

The tourist office of Castilla La Mancha in english on Torre Mangana: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Torre Mangana in Cuenca

There you go a symbol of Cuenca and worth the climb to see it and see the city from there, the torre Mangana is worth the detour indeed. Enjoy the walk and tower.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: