Sights of Lublin - TOP places worth seeing
Lublin is one of the largest Polish cities with a long history and many valuable monuments. Atmospheric streets that could be successfully played in many films, multicultural traces found both on a walk and on a plate, and the magical aura of magicians and "seers".
There are so many interesting places in the city that even two full days off are not enough to see all the sights of Lublin. However, during this time you can see a lot, and plan a trip to Lublin both on your own and with a guide.
What to see around the Old Town of Lublin?
1. Old Town in Lublin
We suggest starting your adventure in Lublin from the Old Town, which is one of the most beautiful and best preserved old towns in Poland. Most of it (about 70%) is made up of original buildings with numerous monuments, such as: the Crown Tribunal, two gates and a tower (relics of non-existent city walls), Platz po Farza, the Trinitarian Tower or the Cathedral.
Lublin can surprise you with an unexpected art installation, an intriguing facade with cats, an alley with poems by Zuzanna Ginczanka, or a backyard where time has stopped. The old city is clearly undergoing a gradual transformation and is far from perfect, but following these changes, as well as getting to know the “raw” places, gives us a lot of joy. Don't forget to return to the Old Town even after dark - in the gentle light of a lantern, the heart of Lublin gives a completely different impression...
2. Market Square and the Royal Tribunal
The heart of the Old Town is the Market Square, marked on the occasion of the founding of the city in 1317 - its lines are based on the outlines of the former embankments, which is why the facades are not perfectly perpendicular to each other. In its central part is the Old Town Hall, which since 1578 served as the seat of the Crown Tribunal - the highest court of appeal for Lesser Poland nobles. The current form was designed by Dominik Merlini himself, the court architect of King Stanisław August Poniatowski, who designed, among other things, the Royal Lazienki in Warsaw.
In turn, around the Market Square are historical, often decorated with graffiti, colorful apartment buildings - the current building style is the result of the reconstruction of the city after the great fire of 1575 (there were several fires in Lublin) and the reconstruction of individual "addresses" in subsequent centuries . If you are intrigued by these facades, be sure to read about individual apartment buildings. Their stories feature the names of powerful families (for example, the Lubomelskys, Konopnitsy) or cultural figures (such as the Wieniawskys, Kokhanovskys, Pol). Not all of them have found their splendor yet, often due to disputes over ownership, but even in less well-maintained ones you can see something interesting.
There are several cozy pubs around the Market Square, including the Jewish Mandragora.
Glass negatives were found in one of the apartment buildings during renovations in 2010. The surviving photographs were placed in the windows of the building, and the people of Lublin recognized their ancestors in them. What was originally supposed to be just an aesthetically pleasing form has resulted in a film and a book that combines the past with the present.
3. Farza Square
On the site of the current Plac po Farze, there was once the church of St. Archangel Michael. The technical condition of the building was demolished in 1857. Although there is no trace of the temple, but thanks to the remains of the foundation and a small model of the church, you can imagine what this place looked like with the temple in its central part.
Plac po Farze offers a beautiful panorama of the Lublin Castle, you can even see the donjon and the upper part of the Holy Trinity Chapel.
4. Ku Farze Street and Fish Square
Right next to Plac Po Farze, there is an inconspicuous, narrow street covered with cobblestones - probably a favorite spot for photos. During our stay in Lublin, we came across an installation reminiscent of the tragic death of Zuzanna Ginczanka…
5. City Gate
The Grodskie Gates were built in the 14th century, but, unlike the Krakow Gates, they were heavily rebuilt in the 18th century, losing their medieval appearance and defensive features. The sponsor and the year of reconstruction are marked with the Roman number MDCCLXXXV (1785) and the abbreviation SAR - Stanislav August Rex (Stanislav August King). The gate connects the Old Town and the Lublin Castle, and earlier they were called the Jewish Gate, because the Jewish quarter stretched behind them - so the gate was a kind of bridge between these two worlds and cultures. During the Second World War, a ghetto was created in this area, and then these gates connected the ghetto with Arian Lublin.
When heading through the Gate to the castle, it is worth stopping by the exhibition of the Grodskie Vorota-NN Theater Center entitled “Lublin. Memory of a Place”, which tells about the Jewish page of the city's history, cruelly torn out of the annals. This place does a phenomenal job of collecting information on the over 40,000 Jewish residents of Lublin. The discovery by Jewish photographers of more than 2,700 pre-war photographs made it possible to save people's faces from oblivion. The Grodzka Gate-NN Theater is trying to restore their identity.
6. Lublin Cathedral
St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist is the most important and one of the largest churches in Lublin. The huge cathedral was built in 1604 in the Baroque style for the Jesuits who came to the city. After a fire in the eighteenth century, it was covered with frescoes that we can still admire today. Powerful organs and decorative paintings are impressive inside.
Entrance to the church is free, but after purchasing a ticket (PLN 6 for a regular ticket) you can visit additional premises:
- Acoustic sacristy in which, thanks to a well-designed vault, the voice carries fantastically throughout the room.
- A treasury with valuable liturgical objects located next to the sacristy.
- Crypts with the graves of bishops of Lublin
7. Trinitarian Tower
Next to the Lublin Cathedral stands the Trinity Tower, which, acting as the bell tower of the cathedral, is an excellent viewpoint of the Old Town in Lublin. You should definitely climb to its top to admire the panorama of the city - after all, this is the highest point of the Old Town of Lublin. The very name of the tower comes from the trinitarian order to which the cathedral belonged, to which the tower adjoins. It was rebuilt in the 19th century and now, in addition to its viewing function, it also serves as the Archbishop's Museum of Religious Art.
8. Dominican Basilica
This is one of the oldest temples in the city, recently celebrating its 750th anniversary. Dominicans appeared in Lublin already in the 13th century.
There used to be relics of the Holy Cross in the temple, but in 1991 they were stolen - still not found. The exterior of the church is an example of the so-called "Lublin Renaissance", which you can learn about from Kazimierz on the Vistula. The main nave is surrounded by 11 chapels, each of which is a separate floor. We recommend that you pay special attention to the Shanyavsky Chapel - it was there that the famous image of the Lublin fire of 1719 was painted, to which the Lublin underground path belongs. The picture refers to the legend, according to which it was thanks to the prayers of the Dominicans to the relics of the Holy Cross that they managed to control the fire.
Recently, the interior of the church has undergone a thorough revitalization, so we can admire the interior of the temple in all its splendor.
9. Krakow Gate, Museum of the History of the City of Lublin and the Gothic Tower
The Krakow Gate is one of the most valuable monuments of Lublin and its symbol. It was built in the 14th century as part of the city walls surrounding the Old Town, but, unlike the Grodsky Gate (the second city gate in Lublin), it has retained its medieval appearance, despite numerous rebuildings in later centuries.
At the Krakow Gate is the Museum of the History of the City of Lublin, where history from early settlement to the Second World War is presented on five floors. In addition, on the top floor there is a reward for visiting the museum - an observation deck.
If you are coming from the Market Square, turn left onto Shambelańska Street, the last street before the Krakow Gate, and you will reach the Gothic Tower, also known as the Semicircular Tower due to its cross section. This tower, reconstructed in the 1980s, is the only such building in Lublin. Next to it you will find a fresco with a 17th century Lublin panorama.
10. Lublin underground route
A visit to Lublin and a good way to systematize knowledge about the history of the city can be supplemented with a walk along the Lublin underground route. A walk through the labyrinth of cellars of the Old Town, used to store goods for trade, is made more pleasant by models of the city showing the stages of Lublin's development. The most memorable is the model depicting a great fire in the city in 1719.
Visiting the Lublin Castle - what about the history?
11. Lublin Castle
When leaving the Old Town through the Grodski Gate, the Lublin Castle immediately attracts the eye with its characteristic brick tower (donjon) crowned with white loopholes. In our opinion, this building next to the Old Town is the second symbol of Lublin - and not only because of the characteristic silhouette that dominates the area.
The defensive beginnings of the Lublin Castle date back to the 12th century, when the residence of the Lublin castellan was erected on this site, to which a defensive donjon was eventually attached. After the invasion of the Tatars in 1341, Casimir the Great ordered the construction of a stone castle, and the peak of its splendor came in the 16th century. At that time, the castle was rebuilt into a royal residence in the Renaissance style, and a few decades later the Sejm was held here, proclaiming the Union of Lublin. Here another feudal ruler of the Duchy of Prussia paid tribute to the last Jagiellon, Sigismund Augustus.
In the 17th century, catastrophic wars swept over Poland. As a result, foreign armies destroyed the castle again and again. After the Swedish Flood, it fell into disrepair, and in the 1820s it was decided to create a prison for the Kingdom of Congresses in the castle. What was left of the castle was rebuilt in the English Neo-Gothic style.
From a historical point of view, the two most valuable buildings of the Lublin Castle are the donjon and the chapel of the Holy Trinity. In addition, the castle serves as the seat of the National Museum, including the Gallery of Polish Painting. It is here that you will see, for example, the well-known from textbooks and very "local" painting by Jan Matejko "The Union of Lublin".
12. Fortress in Lublin Castle
If you are looking for vantage points in Lublin, you must go to the top of the castle, that is, to the tower, which has both a defensive and residential function. The tower was probably erected in the 13th century and today remains an extremely valuable example of Romanesque art not only in Lublin, but throughout the region.
The tower initially served as a defensive role, and over time it became a prison for the nobility, as evidenced by the inscriptions carved on the bricks. It performed the same function during the partition of Russia (national uprisings), German occupation and communist terror until 1954. For this reason, its lower floor is dedicated to the memory of prisoners. From the very top you can see the castle, the Old Town and the center of Lublin.
13. Chapel of the Holy Trinity
The chapel was built by Casimir the Great, but the murals in the Byzantine-Ruthenian style were financed by Vladislav Jagiello, in whose family Eastern rites played an important role - he received Roman Catholic baptism only later. This grandiose artistic task was undertaken by artists from Rus', who completed their work in 1418. Experts see Novgorod, Tver and even Balkan influence in the paintings.
The Chapel of the Holy Trinity is said to be a meeting of Eastern art and Western architecture. The task of artists from the East must have been to adapt typical Byzantine painting schemes to the interior of a temple of classical Latin form. Traditionally, in an Orthodox church, heaven and God are placed in a dome - and here the artists had to face the challenges of the ubiquitous Gothic arches.
No less interesting is the history of the frescoes, which were plastered in the 19th century - at that time the chapel served as a prison place for prayers. Valuable frescoes were rediscovered only at the beginning of the 19th century. 1920s, and conservation was completed in 1997. The effect is impressive - this is one of the most valuable monuments of medieval art in Europe.
What are the attractions outside the Old Town?
14. Krakow Suburb and Racławice Alley
Leaving the Old Town through the Krakow Gate, you pass Władysław Loketek Square, which leads into the Krakow Suburb, one of the most important streets in Lublin. At present, it has been turned into an embankment on a large plot and is the gastronomic and commercial center of the city. Here you will take a breath and see how and where the inhabitants of Lublin spend their free time.
As viewed from Krakow Gate, the promenade opens with the (New) Town Hall from 1828 . It was erected on the site of the former Carmelite monastery, which burned down and was not restored. To this day, the city administration of Lublin is located here, and every day at 12.00 a bugle sounds from the balcony of the town hall.
Next to the building is the Church of the Holy Spirit, one of the oldest buildings in the Krakow suburb, built in the 15th century and rebuilt after a fire in 1608.
At this point, a leisurely walk along the street. Krakow suburb towards Plac Litewski. There are plenty of food outlets on both sides of this promenade, from ice cream and fast food to restaurants, so everyone will find something to suit their needs.
15. Lithuanian Square
A natural extension of the Krakow suburb and another place worth visiting is Lithuanian Square. It was founded in the 19th century and was originally called Military Parades, after military parades were held here. According to legend, it was here that the nobility of Poland and Lithuania met before the approval of the treaty, hence the modern name of the square.
An interesting fact is that in the second half of the 19th century, Russian invaders built an Orthodox cathedral on the square. Such buildings were erected in many Polish cities under tsarist rule - for example. in Warsaw and Czestochowa. They were not only a temple for Orthodox officials, but also a symbol of royal power. After the restoration of independence, the cathedral was demolished.
Despite the current concrete trends, there is still some greenery left in the square, so you can sit on a bench in the shade and relax. In the central part of the square, there is a multimedia fountain surrounded by several monuments, including an obelisk commemorating the signing of the Polish-Lithuanian union in 1569.
After Plac Litewski, the embankment ends, and the Krakowskie Suburb turns into an ordinary street with car traffic.
16. Saxon Garden
The Saxon Garden is the most representative city park in Lublin, whose name is associated with the famous garden in Warsaw, on the Saxon Axis. In addition to natural and recreational value, it is also a historical place. It was founded in 1837 and from the very beginning was popular with the inhabitants of Lublin. Up to 300 different types of plants were planted here, and the gardener of the Czartoryski family, Piotr Vernier, was in charge of the project. Saki Park suffered the most during the period of the People's Republic of Poland, when a party house and a stage were built in it, but no cleaning work was carried out.
17. Center for the Meeting of Cultures
Opposite the Saxon Garden you will see a modern, intriguing quarter. Those interested in more modern architecture and culture should head to this place - the Center for the Meeting of Cultures. The size, shape and architecture of the building distinguish it from the rest not only from the outside, but also from the inside. There is something for everyone here, from art exhibitions and theatrical performances to concerts and film screenings.
By the way, the history of the construction of this building was very turbulent - the concept was created in the 1970s and was supposed to become part of the new, socialist district of Lublin, with the seat of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party. and the communist Arc de Triomphe. For a long time there were not enough funds to complete the work, and the place was nicknamed "Theater under construction". Although one concert hall was built in the 1980s, it was only in recent years that the center was completed and fully functional.
18. Regional Onion Museum
Thinking about the symbols of Lublin, most people will probably point to the goat on the coat of arms or... the famous beer brand :). As for the culinary symbols of the city and the Lublin region, it is onionarz, wheat pancake with onion and poppy seeds. The recipe dates back to the 19th century and was originally baked by Lublin Jews. Today, onions are an official regional product protected by European Union law (Protected Geographical Indication), as is oscypek cheese. An interesting fact is that, thanks to EU protection, there is a European Commission regulation that clearly defines the appearance of these pastries, also with the information that the onion must have a "golden color and smell and taste characteristic of fried onions." :).
Because there are museums of St. Martin's croissants and Krakow scallops, the Regional Onion Museum was created, where we went to learn more about the history of this local delicacy and see how the history of onions compares to similar museums in Poland.
The location of the museum is not far from the Old Town, on Shevskaya Street. The concept is no different from other "living" museums in Poland. Expect a dose of history, some humor, and the opportunity to make your own bow on the spot. This is definitely a fun attraction for kids, but adults will also have fun. It is good to book a place for a show in advance - especially in an era of restrictions, it is more difficult to get to a selected hour on a weekend.
19. Cinema "Perla"
Perla open-air cinema at the Perla brewery on Bernardinskaya street. Sun loungers, movie screenings, local beer and something to eat after a day of sightseeing in Lublin, you will have a great rest.
20. Roof gardens by Tarasa Zamkova
Don't let the name fool you - Tarasy Zamkowe is "only" a mall. However, there is a curiosity on its roof - green roofs from which you can admire the panorama of the Old Town of Lublin. The idea of the architects was to recreate the green area on the roof where the object was built - such a creative "compensation" of investments.
21. Lublin frescoes
And if you like street art, you will find many interesting murals in Lublin. Until now, we have never followed in their footsteps, but along the way we met a couple. The panorama of Lublin at the Gothic Gate, showing the city at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, is striking. at the peak of development and wealth. The look that inspired the painting comes from a 1618 work by Brown and Hogenberg titled "Civitates orbis terrarum". On the other hand, a fresco at 47 Zamojska Street shows a panorama of Lublin in the 19th century, more precisely “Entry of General Zaionczek into Lublin”.
22. House of words
The House of the Word is a potentially interesting museum dedicated to typography and the written word - unfortunately the pandemic prevented us from visiting the interior. In the old printing house you will see an exhibition about the art of printing or the meaning of freedom of speech. Those interested in this topic will be lured by the offer of a master class, where you can, for example, create your own notebook.
Jewish Lublin - a separate chapter
23. Lublin Memorial Lantern and the former Jewish Quarter
There used to be a Jewish quarter between Lublin Castle and Podzamche. As in other parts of the country, Jews were not allowed to settle within the city walls until the 19th century - Christian merchants were afraid of competition from Jewish entrepreneurs. This state of affairs was changed only by the order of the Russian separator in the 19th century.
Founded in the Middle Ages thanks to a privilege granted by King Casimir the Great, the district was destroyed during World War II, during which the entire network of streets was demolished by order of the German occupiers. All that remains of the streets, houses and the synagogue is a large concrete square, and in some places the foundations of old buildings. In 2004, in memory of the Jewish residents who created and developed Lublin with their labor over the course of several centuries, a lantern was lit, which has been continuously shining for several years - both day and night.
24. Yeshiva Chachmey Lublin and Synagogue
You certainly didn't know that! Yesliwas Chachmej Lublin (Lublin School of Wise Men) was once the largest and most prestigious rabbinical school in the world. It was built in 1930 thanks to Rabbi Mayer Sapira, who raised funds by traveling through Europe, the United States and Canada. Thanks to these funds, he managed to build a large six-story building, which included a library, lecture halls, a synagogue and a hostel for students. In the first year of the school's operation, up to 200 students were accepted.
Why such a place in Lublin? Since the 16th century, Lublin has become an important religious and scientific center of the Jewish diaspora. Some Orthodox Jews even believed that the Messiah would appear in Lublin. Torah and Talmud were studied in Lublin, and the city was sometimes called "Jewish Oxford". At the beginning of the 20th century, it was decided that the time had come to raise education to a higher level, so that the elites educated in Lublin could enter into a dialogue with Christians and build mutual understanding between the two groups.
During the German occupation, the building was destroyed, and a rich collection of books was destroyed. School personnel were killed in the Belzec camp. After the war, the building passed to the Medical Academy, and in 2003 it was returned to the Jewish community in Poland, which began renovation work. In 2007, a synagogue was opened, located on the second and third floors, as well as an exhibition dedicated to the school and its founder. In addition, the Ilan Hotel operates in the building. You can visit the synagogue and the exhibition for free - look for the entrance to it on the right side of the building.
25. Jewish cemeteries
If you are interested in Jewish Lublin, you should also visit the Old and New Jewish Cemeteries in Lublin. There are several very valuable tombstones in the old cemetery, for example, the famous seer of Lublin and the oldest matzeva in Poland, standing permanently in its original place since 1541.
Interesting Lublin - what to see further from the center
26. Museum of the Lublin Village
A few kilometers north of the Old Town is the Lublin Village Museum. On the territory you will find many historical buildings - from peasant huts, windmills, forges and barns, to churches and noble mansions.
Established in the 1970s, the open-air museum has been divided into seven sectors. Three familiar sounding lands: Rastocze, Podlasie and Lublin Upland, in addition, you will get acquainted with Nadbuzh, Lublin Powisle and the manor-philistine sector.
27. Botanical Garden and Kosciuszko Manor
If you are already in this part of Lublin, you should consider visiting the Botanical Garden of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University. It was built in 1965 partly on the site of a former farm, one of the elements of which is the Kosciuszko Yard - Tadeusz's uncle used to live here.
The location of the garden on a slightly hilly area made it interesting to arrange rock gardens and greenery. Natural loess gorges with a 40-meter height difference, about 7,000 plant species and interesting plant compositions at different times of the year make the Lublin Botanical Garden a place to relax while exploring the city. The atmosphere of the place is also created by a pond with a bridge, a footbridge and a walking path around the water.
The Botanical Garden is visited from spring to autumn, and in winter you can come and admire the light illumination.
28. State Museum in Majdanek.
Although the Holocaust is a very complex topic, it should not be run away from. Being in Lublin, you have a unique opportunity to see the oldest museum in Poland dedicated to this subject - a concentration camp operated on this site until July 1944, and in November of the same year a scientific and educational center was opened, which in the beginning focused on the preservation and systematization of objects and documents found in Majdanek.
What is worth seeing outside of Lublin?
Lublin is a great travel destination, but it can also be seen as the "gateway" to the entire region. The Lubelskie Voivodeship is an ideal place for summer and autumn walks in the fresh air, and lovers of culture and history will find something for themselves in this Voivodeship.