The inner courtyard of the Castle reveals a jumble of architectural styles that we admired only briefly in the rain. Then we headed indoors to visit state rooms, armoury and treasury. We started with the ground floor suites of the Governors of Cracow, with their wonderful ornate wooden ceilings. Up a grand staircase were the guest apartments. The Envoy's room was most impressive with an astonishing ceiling of thirty carved wooden heads looking down at us. The rooms were decorated with original tapestries and paintings.
Next we toured the Royal Treasury, with precious stones dating back to 2 BC, candlesticks, miniatures, chess boards and religious vessels. One of the most impressive items was the coronation sword of Polish kings. Other rooms had spoils of war, suits of armour, jousting masks, swords and ornate ivory inlaid guns. One hunting gun really meant business with a particularly vicious sword attached to it.
The Wawel Cathedral was the coronation site of Polish monarchs and remains Poland's most important national sanctuary. Thanks to its 1000-year-old history and numerous treasures it is said that the Krakow cathedral is the most interesting place in the whole country. The 14th-century walls shelter a great variety of top-class objects d’art, from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque to Classicist to Modern. It is also the burial ground of most Polish royalty, the greatest national heroes, two poets, four saints and countless Krakow bishops.