Tarnów is a picturesque city packed with history and architecture, located in southeastern Poland, just 80 km from Krakow. With plenty of well-preserved Gothic and Renaissance buildings, Tarnów has been hailed by historians as the “Pearl of the Renaissance”.
The origin of the Tarnów can be traced to 1330, but the city was the private property of the affluent local Tarnowski family for several centuries until the 18th century. During the Renaissance periods, the city became a trade center on the busy route between Krakow and Kyiv and prospered. Although much of the town has retained its Galician atmosphere, many of Tarnow’s finest monuments were indeed raised during the Renaissance. One of the highlights in the city is a Gothic red-brick Town Hall dating to the 15th century, sitting in the heart of its Old Town Square which is one of the prettiest in Poland, surrounded by the Renaissance tenement houses. The town hall features a 30-meter tower and the oldest hand-winding clock in Poland.
There are also several interesting museums close to the market square offer truly unusual collections like the Ethnographic Museum, which is one of the very few museums presenting the history and culture of Gypsies. Additionally, there are several superb churches in Tarnów and the surrounding area. The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was considered one of the finest there, as well as the biggest building in the town. This Gothic church near the Old Town Square features an iconic statue of Pope John Paul II, for it was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1987.
For culture lovers, another good option is to spend half a day traveling to the nearby village of Zalipie, where the building was completely covered in flower art. It was considered the prettiest village in Poland, only 35km north of Tarnów. This small village is known for its unusual tradition that the house inside and outside decorated with lovely floral patterns, even the church.
With its rich history, amazing local places of interest and fascinating culture, Tarnów has a lot to discover and will bring you many unforgettable moments.