Gródek history X-XX century
Gródek was one of two early medieval fortified structures within Kraków’s Old Town. It used to be referred to in Latin as ‘castrum.’ Gródek was separated from the town itself by a moat. Within this area, distinct relics of settlements have been revealed. The earliest such settlement most likely dates to the tenth century, yet we have concrete proof of human presence in this area between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The beginning of the fourteenth century (1312) witnessed dramatic events relating to the mutiny of the German burghers, a revolt that was headed by the dastardly Mayor Albert. According to tradition, the Opolian Duke Boleslas I – an ally of the mutinous burghers “fancied that the Mayor’s lodgings, called Gródek, should be his seat (which is now held by the Grabia family of Tarnów, of the Leliwa coat of arms).” Our chronicler adds: “There the Duke erected both the gate and tower of St. Nicholas, and he defended them assiduously, so that he might attain a more agreeable truce”. The Duke had to defend himself from the rightful heir to the Krakow throne, Ladislas the Elbow-High, who eventually suppressed the mutiny and banished the notorious Albert. The seat of the mayor was demolished and the fortifications that had been raised by the Duke became redundant.
The oldest visible relics of masonry at Gródek are the eastern gate that was erected in 1305 as a city gate (still visible on the Planty Garden side of the city walls) and a remnant of a Gothic fortification that is preserved in the vaults of the Dominican Convent. In the year 1312, a gate (later called the Mikołajska Gate) was built into the city walls next to Gródek. Nineteen years later the so called New Gate was opened from the south. These gates were connected by two streets. The eastern street cut through the old area of Gródek (today’s Na Gródku Street), whereas the western thoroughfare followed the arch of the former moat (presently the curving parts of św. Krzyża and Mikołajska Streets). An irregular quarter was laid out in narrow allotments in the middle of the fourteenth century.
The lot of the current Gródek Hotel lies in the central part of the fourteenth century quarter. The moat once passed through this very spot. Two houses that looked onto the street were built in the second half of the fourteenth century, and these were joined together in the year 1878.
Out-buildings have been present in the rear parts of the lot since the medieval era. It was the intention that the new hotel should dovetail with the historical and architectural contexts of the site.
In connection with the construction of the Gródek hotel, extensive archaeological excavations were carried out in the area between the tenement in ul. Świętego Krzyża 7 and ul. Na Gródku. You can view the artefacts that were found as a result of that research in our museum exhibition.