St. Florian’s Gate - History and Facts | History Hit

St. Florian’s Gate

Krakow, Poland

The Florian Gate is a 13th century fortification in Krakow in Poland.

Lily Johnson

12 Feb 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About St. Florian’s Gate

St. Florian’s Gate (Brama Floriańska) is a Gothic 14th century tower in Krakow’s Old Town, and is the only remaining medieval gate in the city. Along with the Barbakan, St. Florian’s Gate is a physical reminder of Krakow’s medieval past and the vast set of defensive walls that once surrounded it.

St. Florian’s Gate history

Built under the orders of Prince Leszek II in approximately 1285, St. Florian’s Gate was one of 8 towers that formed the city’s new defences, and was itself protected by the adjoining Barbakan gateway. Named after the nearby Church of St. Florian, the gate became the main entrance into the Old Town.

It was the starting point of the Royal Road in Krakow, through which many monarchs, foreign envoys, coronation processions, and distinguished guests progressed to the Main Square and eventually towards Wawel Castle over the years.

In 1660, St. Florian’s Gate was extended to include a Baroque roof, raising its height by one metre. The medieval walls stood until the 19th century, when they along with the other 7 medieval towers were removed in the ‘modernisation’ of Krakow.

St. Florian’s Gate today

Today, St. Florian’s Gate measures around 33.5 metres in height and provides visitors a snippet of medieval history amongst Krakow’s busy streets. An 18th-century bas-relief of St. Florian decorates the front of the gate, while a small neoclassical altar to Our Lady of Piasek may be admired inside. A tour of the gate takes approximately half an hour and can be visited together with the Barbakan.

In the tower itself is a hidden chapel accessible via the City Defensive Walls museum, and once inside visitors are afforded a picturesque view over Florianska Street below. Musicians often play here in the daytime giving the area a lively atmosphere, and visits to St. Florian’s Gate are only amplified in the evening when the site is lit up against the night sky.

Getting to St. Florian’s Gate

St. Florian’s Gate is situated in the north of Krakow’s Old Town at the end of Florianska Street, and is a short 5-minute walk from the Main Square. It is a 15-minute walk from Krakow’s train station, and the nearest tram and bus stop is Stary Kleparz, a 5-minute walk away.

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