50 exhibitions, 40 online tours and two thousand exhibits have been made available by Google in a virtual collection called Krakow-wow. From now on, all over the world, with access to the Internet, you can go on a virtual tour of museums, “go down” to the Wieliczka Salt Mine or walk around the Wawel Castle without leaving your home. The exhibits included, among others, the youthful armor of Sigismund Augustus, which can be viewed in 3D.
As Google announced in a press release, Kraków is the first Polish city to become part of the Google Arts & Culture project. The collections of 13 Krakow cultural institutions have been made available on the Internet. The Kraków-wow collection includes 50 exhibitions with two thousand exhibits. Internet users can also go on a total of 40 online trips, made available in Google Street View technology.
So far, such collections have been made available, among others, for Parma, Atlanta and Dubai. “The project is a multi-threaded story that takes Internet users on a journey through the streets of Krakow and brings the cultural context of the city closer. Krakow-wow! shows virtually unique places, buildings, works of art, festivals, as well as portraits of famous Krakow artists” – informed Google in a press release.
Wieliczka Mine, Wawel, Krakow museums. Google Virtual Tours
On a special Google platform, you can go on a tour of the Wawel Hill, as well as the rooms of the Royal Castle located there. Internet users can virtually walk through the royal chambers and even go down to the famous Dragon’s Den. Some exhibits are made available in more detail than just photos – for example, the youthful armor of Sigismund Augustus, which can be viewed as a 3D model.
Fragments of other famous cultural institutions have also been made available for virtual tours. Without leaving home, you can visit the main building of the National Museum in Krakow, in the Wieliczka Salt Mine you can look at old mining machines, and in the Cloth Hall you can admire treasures from the collection of the Gallery of 19th-century Polish Art.
You can also focus on individual exhibits. The virtual collections include works by Leon Wyczółkowski, “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci or the 10-meter-high curtain of the Słowacki Theater by Henryk Siemiradzki. Fragments of the latter can be zoomed in places to see the details made by the creator more accurately.
The collections are complemented by artifacts related to the history of the region, such as traditional costumes, handicrafts and even toys played with by little Cracovians.
Krakow legends, festivals and nightlife
As Google representatives emphasize in the announcement, in Kraków-wow you can also learn about the city’s legends, the most famous of which is of course the one about the Wawel dragon. “In the collection, Internet users will also see the parade and decipher the Lajkonik costume and the legend of Pan Twardowski, danced in one of the characteristic spots of Krakow – the mysterious Barbican” – informs Google.
The platform also shows potential tourists interesting events and places where they can spend time. Internet users can learn about the most important cyclical festivals in the city, such as the Film Music Festival, the literary Conrad Festival or the summer festival of music – Wianki. It also shows places where some of the most important cultural events take place, including the ICE Congress Center and the Potocki Palace.
There are also the most important Krakow monuments and points that every tourist should visit. In addition to the Main Square, these include Kazimierz (the former Jewish district), Cricoteka (Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor), as well as the Słowacki Theater and the Vistula boulevards.
The Krakow-wow project also allows you to get acquainted with the work of artists associated with Krakow. Examples can be multiplied: Stanisław Wyspiański, Jan Matejko, Olga Boznańska are just some of them. There are also more contemporary artists, such as Zbigniew Wodecki, Tadeusz Kantor or the legends of Piwnica pod Baranami.
Main photo source: Google Street View