What to see in Tarnow and surroundings

The Galician ambience of the city of Tarnow attracts visitors from every corner of the world every year. Many people are so delighted with this city, that one visit is not enough for them.

When you’re visiting Tarnow, you will be able to recognize the remnants of the past like elements of a colorful mosaic. Here you can feel the presence of people associated with the city’s past, such as Spycimir Leliwita – the founder of the city, General Joseph Bem, who is strictly associated with Poland’s fights for freedom and Jan Szczepanik – an outstanding inventor.

This article will introduce you to some of the major attractions in Tarnow and its surroundings.


The Market Square

The Market Square in Tarnow is located in the centre of the city’s Old Town. It was marked out during the location of the city in 1330. The current buildings of the Market Square include bourgeois tenement houses, created between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Market Square in Tarnow was marked out in a slightly sloping area, which made it easy to drain rainwater.

In the 15th century, local people began to build one-story houses,which were made partially or entirely of bricks. After the renovation, the market square gained a brand new look, and a brick-made town hall was built in its centre.

The Town Hall

The Town Hall in Tarnow is a historical building located in the centre of the city’s market square. It is one of the most characteristic buildings of the city and its meaningful symbol.

The first historical documents mentioning the Town Hall in Tarnow originated from 1448 and 1463. Originally, it might have been a wooden, or wooden-brick construction, which was destroyed during a fire in 1494 along with all the other buildings of the city.

It was most likely replaced with two brick-made, single-story buildings. In the first quarter of the 16th century, the two separate buildings were connected to each other.

The Cathedral Basilic in Tarnow

The Cathedral Basilic in Tarnow is a gothic church with a western tower with the height of 72 meters.

The Cathedral Basilic under the calling of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary was constructed thanks to the efforts of Spycimir Leliwita after the location of the town in 1330 as a parish church.

In 1400, Piotr Wysz – the bishop of Krakow upgraded the church in Tarnow to the rank of a collegiate. The elevation was most likeley the reason to make a decision to expand the church with a presbytery and a tower, which was attached to the western facade.

The Mikolajowski House

The Mikolajowski House is one of the oldestb and most gorgeous gothic-renaissance tenement houses in Tarnow. It was constructed in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, in the alley near

Katedralny Square. This tenement house was most likely acquired and reconstructed by the Mikolajowski family. The interior of the house has elements from the latte 15th and early 16th centuries. The building also has many original architectural details, the most interesting of which are the entrance portal and and two other portals inside the building.

The castle in Tarnow

The castle in Tarnow is a ruined medieval castle located at st. Marcin’s Hill in the city of Tarnow.

Thev castle was constructed between 1328 and 1331 by Spycimir Leliwita – the castellan of Krakow. In 1342, he signed the oldest known document associated with the castle. Spycimir was the ancestor of the Tarnowski family.

The castle was successively expamded by the following owners from this family. Most of the members of this family until the 17th century were also born here. Around the mid-15th century the wooden construction was replaced with a brick-made building.

The Jewish cemetery

The Jewish cemetery in Tarnow is located at Szpitalne street. It is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland.

The exact dates of the creation of the cemetery remains unknown, but based on the surviving documents we know, that it already existed in 1581. The oldest surviving tombstone originated from 1667.

In February of 1988, the Committee of Preserving Monuments of Jewish Culture in Poland was established with the purpose of renovating the cemetery. Since 2000, attempts were made to clean up the cemetery.

The church of Our Lady of the Scapular

The church under the calling of Our Lady of the Scapular is one of the most interesting monuments in Tarnow, located not far from the Market Square. It was consecrated in 1440. The main altar originated from the second half of the 18th century. It has an architectural character with scupltures of st. John the Baptist and another bishop, whose name remains unknown. In the altar there is a painting of Our Lady with the Baby Jesus from the 16th century, which was most likely repainted in the 18th century.

The Etnographic Museum in Tarnow

The Etnographic Museum in Tarnow is located in a monumental 18th-century mansion

at 10 Krakowska street. In the past, the mansion was owned by the Onitsch family, who sold the building in the 1920s for a theatre, which was ultimately created in a different location. The museum presents the traditional folk culture of the Tarnow region. It also has a a colection dedicated to the history and culture of Roma. It was created in Tarnow in 1979, when tPoland’s first exhibit dedicated to Roma was organized here. The time-limited exhibits also invite visitors to get familiar with cultures of other nations.

The Cosmic Fountain and railway station in Tarnow

The Cosmic Fountain in Tarnow is located at Jerzego Popieluszlo square. It reflects the look of the Solarv System. At its centre there is the sun, which was created from steel and glass. The water stream, which get out of the fountain, power the gramite planets, which swirl in steels orbits.

Not far from the fountain thewre is the building of the railway station., which was one of the most impressive objects of its type in Galicia It was constructed based on the design of E. Baudisch and looks like a baroque baronial residence. At each side of the railway station there are pavilions, which used to be the location of a luxurious restaurant and a waiting room.


The castle in Wisnicz

The castle in Wisnicz is located at a forested hill in the village of Stary Wisnicz. It was constructed by Jan Kmita in the second half of the 14th century. The castle has an irregular shape. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries it already had 4 wings and was surrounded by earth fortifications with two gates.

In 1566, the castle was taken over by the Barz family, after the Stadnicki family waived the rights to it. In 1593, the castle was acquired by Sebastian Lubomirski, and between 1615 and 1621 it was expanded by his son Stanislaw.

The castle in Niepolomice

The Royal Castle in Niepolomice is a gothic royal castle from the mid-14th century located in the centre of Niepolomice. This castle is known as „the second Wawel”. It was constructed from the order of king Kazimierz the Great. It was supposed to have a defensive function. This was the starting point of hunting trips to the nearby Niepolomice Wilderness.

During the reign of king Zygmunt August the castle was reconstructed and renovated. The works were organized between 1551 and 1568 under the supervision of Tomasz Grzymala.


Zalipie is a small village located not far from Tarnow, in the malopolskie region. It is a very colorful and pleasant place thanks to the local custom of painting houses in flowery patterns and colors.

The tradition began in the late 19th century, when the ladies living in Zalipie began to preserve their houses. That’s becasue back then houses had open hearths, which covered the walls with soot.

In order to brighten the interiors of the houses, the ladies of Zalipie begna to put lime on walls, and later also paint the houses. Anyone, who visits Zalipie should definitely visit the Painter’s House and Felicja Curylowa’s Farm, where you can learn more about the tradition of painting houses.

The Bochnia Salt Mine

The Bochnis Salt Mine is an inactibe salt mine, which was operating between 1251 and 1990.The monumental objewct is currently open for tourists.

The surroundings of Bochnia were already known for gathering salt way back in the neolithic period. The origins of the salt mine date back to 1248, when rock salt deposits were discovered, most likely during the deepening of already existing brine wells. The salt mine in Bochnia was a royal business, which brought enormous income for Poland. Between the 13th century and 1772, ot was part of the Krakow saltworks.

EnoTarnowskie – vineyards in surroundings of Tarnow

Enotourism is a type of tourism, which is strongly expanding all around the world. In recent years, Polish vineyards have become increasingly popular, and the number of such places is rapidly growing.

The EnoTarnowskie program, which is popularized in the Tarnow, Brzesko and Dabrowa counties, was still not very popular several years ago, but it currently unites 60 larger of smaller vineyards. You might be surprised to learn, that the history of viticulture began in the Renaissance period. Wines were produced by crown hetman Jan Tarnowski, among others. It’s no wonder, that the area of ENOTarnowskie is sometimes called the „Polish Tuscany”.

As you can see, there are plenty of fascinating things to see and do in Tarnow and its surroundings. No matter what you’re interested in – be it historical monuments, old churches, etnographic museums, monuments of Jewish heritage, or something more unconventional, and regardless of how much time you can spend here, the Tarnow region has something special for anyone.

This charming region will surely delight any tourist, regardless of how old they are and what they are interested in. So don’t wait and get ready to discover Tarnow and its surroundings today!

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