Europe18: A week in Krakow, Poland

July 7, 2018 | 6 Comments

Last week, Esther Semmens (from Edinbrugh) and I had a week sketching in Krakow Poland. We wanted to find a sketchable location which we could easily fly to from Edinburgh and Krakow was the winner. I didn’t have any time to do much research, so it was a case of arrived and responding to the place instinctively.

Krakow has an absolutely stunning Old Town built around a large square – Rynek Glowny which has the long elaborate Cloth Hall in the middle of it. On one corner there is the Town Hall Tower and on another a diagonally placed church – St Marys Basilica. Krakow also contains an impressive castle – Wawel Castle – which is very significant historically. I will save the my sketches of St Mary’s and the castle for separate articles.

I’m going to let my sketches do the talking…

Rynek Glowny

As it was our first sketch in a new town,we started with the simplest building in the square – Church of St. Wojciech.

While Esther finished off her sketch, I did this one of the corner of the Cloth Hall.

The Cloth Hall – from the comfort of a cafe table.

The Town Hall Tower with the Cloth Hall behind – also from the comfort of a cafe table.

A direct watercolour sketch of the tower as seen through the colonnade of the Cloth Hall – at a restaurant!

The church of St Barbara which is placed behind St Marys. It was rainy at the time so there are some lovely expressive lines in this sketch.

Other buildings

Although I could spend an entire week sketching in the main square we also tracked down some other buildings. This one – the Barbican – was a lot of fun.

The tower at the northern end of the Old Town Wall – St Florian’s gate

The courtyard of Collegium Maius – a university dating back to medieval times.

SS Peter and Paul (modeled after the Gesu in Rome) – Direct Watercolour version 1.

Direct Watercolour version 2 – being much more selective in what I painted.

Kazimeirz – the Jewish Quarter

We didn’t end up spending much time here – just one sketch of Synagoga Izaaka during lunch.

Schindler’s Factory

We also visited the museum in Schindler’s Factory.

There was a great film on what he did to help the Jews during the war but most of the exhibition was on Krakow/Poland during the war. It was good, but I would have liked more about the factory. I got excited about the staircases since they looked original!

Our visit here was a good introduction to our day trip to the Auschwitz camps which we did the next day – I will share about this is a separate article.

This sketch of the front of the building has greatly exaggerated the curve of the facade and the colour of the windows

Hanging out with local Urban Sketchers

On our last sketching day in Krakow, we met up with a lovely group of local Urban Sketchers. We ended up sketching the castle – so I will share more about that in my next post. Stay tuned for that!



  • Magdalena French says:

    I’m absolutely loooooooving your posts from your travels – I’m imagining myself in all the wonderful places you’ve been… sketching along with you of course…

  • John Flames says:

    Krakow is really an stunnishig town to draw. Comfortable and beautiful. I look forward your post about the Wawel Castle.

    Hope to see you in Porto in one week.

  • Rodney Huot says:

    Hi Liz,
    I really enjoyed reading and looking at your trip to Poland. My wife is Polish and we visit various parts of Poland every year. Your stories and paintings bring me back to where I visited and loved every moment of it, part of my heart is still in Poland
    Thanks for sharing your adventure and I look forward to reading more from you.


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