The Main Market Square in Kraków is the most important market square of the Old Town in Kraków, Poland and a principal urban space located at the center of the city. It dates back to the 13th century, and – at roughly 40,000 m² (430,000 ft²) – it is the largest medieval town square in Europe. Rynek Główny is a spacious square surrounded by historical townhouses (kamienice), palaces and churches. The center of the square is dominated by the Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall or Drapers' Hall), rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, topped by a beautiful attic or Polish parapet decorated with carved masks. On one side of the Sukiennice is the Town Hall Tower (Wieża ratuszowa), on the other the 10th century Church of St. Wojciech (St. Adalbert's) and 1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument.
Rising above the square are the Gothic towers of St. Mary's Basilica ( Kościół Mariacki ). The main function of the Market Square was commerce. After the city was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1241, the Main Square was rebuilt in 1257 and its commercial role expanded with the Magdeburg rights location of the city by the prince of Kraków, Bolesław V the Chaste. The Main Square was designed in its current state with each side repeating a pattern of three, evenly spaced streets set at right angles to the square. The exception is Grodzka Street which is much older and connects the Main Square with the Wawel Castle.
Originally the square was filled with low market stalls and administrative buildings and had a ring road running around it. It was King Casimir III the Great who built the original Gothic Sukiennice and the Town Hall that filled nearly a quarter of the square. Kraków was the capital of the Kingdom of Poland and a member of the Hanseatic League and the city flourished as an important European metropolis. In addition to its original merchant functions the Main Square witnessed many historical events, and it was used to stage public executions of prisoners held in city Town Hall. It was a place of regal ceremonies as part of the Royal Road (Droga Królewska), frequented by diplomats and dignitaries traveling to the Wawel Castle.
In December 2005 the Project for Public Spaces selected Kraków's Rynek Główny as the World's Best Square. It is the focal point of many public events and festivities, such as the annual Kraków szopka Festival, Lajkonik celebrations, Festival of Military Bands, Juwenalia Student Festival, Gala Concert of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity and the largest New Year's Eve party in Poland. Every year on Christmas Eve, the Adam Mickiewicz Monument (Mickiewicz' saint's name day) is decorated with flowers by the florists of Kraków. The culture of Kraków is deeply rooted in colorful traditions with the Main Square remaining most lively and crowded year-round. Like other notable old-town squares, Main Market Square in Kraków is also known for its large population of Rock Pigeons, florist stalls, gift-shops, beer-gardens and horse-drawn carriages.