The feminist exhibit was a temporary showcase at one of the many museums on the square. Selections of art depicting female character over the past 400 years were on display. It was interesting to see the evolution of the “ideal” woman depicted as a subservient home-maker and child-bearer to a hard-working #1 fan of the man of the house. Only in the past 100 years has art started to truly reflect the strength and virtues of the female other than the reproductive and subservient variety. To a largely illiterate population, art served as a form of marketing for various purposes from the church to the common person. For centuries, artists were commissioned to paint women doing household chores and taking care of children while men were shown winning contests and galloping off to war. Thank goodness I was born when I was.
My favorite contemporary piece of art was a pair of high heel shoes with pins inserted all over the sides. Extremely painful looking, I’m not sure why I liked this piece so much. It just seemed to make the point that existence based on appearance and beauty is vain and that there are many things in life much more important than knowing how to walk in heels.
My next stop in the Rynek was the massive Town Hall Tower. I climbed up the 100 steps or so in a super narrow old staircase to get to the top and enjoyed a nice view over the Cloth Hall and Rynek area. The very top of the clock tower was closed for renovations, but at least I got to go up inside of the tower.
With a little bit of time left before my Rynek Underground Tour, I decided to stop into the Cracow Chocolate Factory on a main street right off of the square. The factory was packed with chocolate in every shape and form possible. I bought several truffles to snack on which were delicious!
The central historic area of Krakow is fairly compact, so I walked over to tour the Barbican, the old fortress of Krakow which was built in 1498. The Barbican served as the historic gateway leading into the old town of Krakow. I smacked my head – hard! on one of the low ceilings… Medieval Polish people must have been short, I had to sit down for a minute to get my bearings.
It was (finally!) time to head back to tour the Rynek Underground. Hyped up and advertised as the hot and happening museum of the moment all over town, I was intrigued to see what is was all about.