Sanok - the most interesting attractions of the royal city

Open-air museum in Sanok

What to do when it rains in the Bieszczady Mountains?

I have heard and read it more than once. The idea for a trip to Sanok appears when a rainy day is announced in the Bieszczady Mountains. Then in the evening there is a "family war council" combined with brainstorming and eureka !!! An idea appears: let's go to Sanok! We will visit something, we will see something, we will go to the market square and the open-air museum, and when it rains, we will go to the museum in the Royal Castle.
Paradoxically, it is very possible that in Sanok the most tourists come during bad weather, because most mountain hikers come here from their quarters in the Bieszczady Mountains, when it is impossible to go to the mountains.
Anyway, just look at the photos from the reports available on the Internet. Most of them are either heavy clouds or rain.
Well, with regret and a heavy heart, I must admit that we too fell victim to this way of thinking. Sanok remained a victim of a sunny day and a beneficiary of a rainy weather forecast. What a pity! Shame!
The city did not deserve to be a clog of the Bieszczady by the weather. It is beautiful, interesting and besides the outstanding rain attractions, it has a lot to offer when the sun is shining.
Don't go our way! Don't do it to Sanok and yourself! You will regret it. See Sanok in the sun! Necessarily!!!

The Royal Free City of Sanok

This is the correct, official name of the city. Isn't it beautiful? According to the statute of Sanok The City Council is the Council of the Royal Free City of Sanok, and the mayor is the Mayor of the Royal Free City of Sanok. Worthily and importantly.
Of course, the reference to freedom and royalty is not accidental. The castle, where the Historical Museum is located today, was hosted by Polish kings many times, and in 1417 the wedding and wedding feast of Władysław II Jagiełło and Elżbieta Granowska took place here.
The city is located on a hill and if you want to visit the historic center of the city, you always have to go uphill… in Sanok, it's uphill everywhere. There are stairs from the castle to the square, but the opposite of what you would expect. I'm used to the fact that the castles are on a hill and dominate the area. The opposite is true in Sanok. The market square towers over the castle. So by going up the stairs from the castle to the market square, you will be climbing. A nice change.
The characteristic location of Sanok makes it possible to observe the panorama of the city from the vicinity of the market square on the hill. A very pleasant prospect.
The city is not big and it would seem that you can visit it in a few moments. Nothing could be more wrong. It is true that the city only has a few attractions, but they are dangerously addictive and I have lost control of the passage of time several times. Suddenly it turned out that not a few, several dozen minutes had passed. You had to concentrate your movements, because there was still a lot to see in the plans.
I liked Sanok and I feel very fond of it.

Sanok - what to see?

The easiest way is to show everything on the map. That is why I prepared a special map, actually two maps of Sanok. On them, I marked attractions that are really worth seeing.
The first map covers the area of ​​Sanok city center. The second map covers a wider area. It shows the location of the open-air museum, and the red square marks the area covered by the first map (the map of the center of Sanok).
Below the map you will find short descriptions of attractions, and the numbers on the map correspond to the numbering next to the descriptions.

Map of the center of Sanok and the location of the attractions described by me:
1. Castle in Sanok
2. Historical Museum at the Castle in Sanok
3. Gallery of works by Zdzisław Beksiński
4. The Market Square and the Old Town in Sanok
6. The Bench of the Good Soldier Švejk
background map source:
The red square is the center of Samok, visible on the first map, on the number 5 at the top of the map is an open-air museum in Sanok
1. Castle in Sanok

The castle in Sanok was very lucky. It already existed as a wooden stronghold during the reign of Casimir the Great. It was successively expanded and rebuilt. Of course - like most buildings of this type - it has been damaged over the centuries, during skirmishes and wars. It was destroyed and plundered, but never completely ruined. The reconstruction of the damaged parts of the castle, carried out since 2010, brought it to the state that we can admire it today.
From the castle courtyard you can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding hills and the San River. Some say that the views from this place are the most beautiful after the rain, when a fresh fog rises above the forested heads of the mountains.
Of course, the castle can be visited. It houses, among others The Historical Museum and the Zdzisław Beksiński Gallery, about which you will find a few words below.

In 1940-1941, the German army built a concrete bunker under the castle square. It was part of the so-called fortifications. "Galicia Border Position" creating a defensive point until the Third Reich attacked the Soviet Union. Of course, the bunker is still there today, and the entrances to the bunker are on the eastern and western sides of the castle hill.

The castle in Sanok and the courtyard in front of the castle
2. Historical Museum at the Castle in Sanok

When visiting the history museum, you will see several exhibitions. One of them will be the Orthodox church art collection. The collection is huge and impressive, but its history, and in fact the reason for its creation, is sad. It consists of two words: Operation Vistula.
What was she Operation Vistula? It is a post-war pacification action in the years 1947-1950, consisting in the mass displacement and destruction of entire villages and settlements in south-eastern Poland.
About 140 were displaced. people from over 1200 towns. Huge numbers of these places have disappeared from the face of the earth forever. You will probably come across the remains and traces of some of the villages while wandering around the Bieszczady Mountains.
The sacred art exhibited at the exhibition is mostly a remnant of the Orthodox churches destroyed during the Operation Vistula.

A fragment of the exhibition at the museum in Sanok
Icons from non-existent churches - museum exhibition in Sanok
3. Gallery of works by Zdzisław Beksiński

I was waiting for this point of the program the most. The bar of expectations was very high. I was hoping that the exhibition would be unique. And what? I was crushed! The exhibition turned out to be fantastic! I plunged into it, it took me deeply, and even for a moment I did not think to swim out and take a breath. I watched everything with bated breath. A perfectly prepared exhibition makes the viewer move to the world of Zdzisław Beksiński (he is even in his apartment for a while) and it stays that way until the exit door of the museum… it's a pity to leave.
I can be a bit biased here, because I am a fan of Beksiński's work, but what the hell! I describe my own emotions, and they were just that.

Original furnishings of Zdzisław Beksiński's Warsaw apartment, transferred and reconstructed at the Castle in Sanok. The view in the window is a photo taken from the window of Beksiński's apartment.
painting from the exhibition of Zdzisław Beksiński's paintings at the museum in Sanok
title: The Blue Profile
painting from the exhibition of Zdzisław Beksiński's paintings at the museum in Sanok
title: AC73
painting from the exhibition of Zdzisław Beksiński's paintings at the museum in Sanok
4. The Market Square and the Old Town in Sanok

The Market Square and the Old Town in Sanok have something about them that makes you like them at first sight. It is a really nice and recommendable place. The main square, promenade, renovated but retaining the original character of the buildings. Everything is as it should be here. A great place to relax and unwind (it can be on the Good Wojak Szwejk Bench - No. 6 on the map - which you will find on the promenade, 200 meters from the market square).
If you look around you will find some great places to eat and drink craft beer.

See below a panoramic photo of the market square in Sanok. The photo can be rotated around its axis and zoomed in.

The market square in Sanok has a regular square shape with a side of 100 meters. It has had various names throughout its history. During the German occupation (1939-1944) it was named after Adolf Hitler, and later, during the Polish People's Republic (until 1989), it was called October Revolution Square, and until 1967 it housed a bus station.

The market day in Sanok was Wednesday. At that time, crowds of traders, farmers and craftsmen flocked to the market square. The crowd was so large that the security services were unable to control it.
Photo taken between 1908 and 1913.
Source of photos:
San H01 buses on the market square in Sanok.
The photo was taken in the years 1958-1961
photo source:
5. Open-air museum and Galician Town

A real firecracker lurks under the modest word "open-air museum". The Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok (because that is the full name of the open-air museum) is another real absorber and enjoyer of time. Beautifully situated, a huge collection of over 100 buildings, spread over 38 hectares, gives a lot of fun to explore. Families with children will be especially happy.
Children - because you can go everywhere, look into every hole, everything is different, strange and interesting. You can fly, run, play.
Parents - because they have peace of mind. They do not have to deal with entertaining whining children, because delighted children in the open-air museum have a great time. And the smiles on parents' faces are even wider than those of children 🙂
And those who came without children? They will also be pleased. Nothing is pretend in the open-air museum. The exhibition is well thought out and implemented without compromise. Real life goes on in the buildings. When there is a watchmaker's hut, there is a real watchmaker. He sits, fixes and winds up his clocks. And they are ticking, chirping, chiming, moaning, making ... wonderful! Shoemaker, baker, apothecary, doctor ... pets, goats wandering somewhere, and even one of the oldest oil wells in the world. Revelation!
2 hours pass again and you don't even know when! And the fussy kids, fresh rolls straight from the baker on the Galician Market, cut in the chips until the chips fly ... and again I see this joyful expression on my parents' faces.
Nobody wants to leave the museum and come back to the hotel.
If only it wasn't raining! Therefore, do not leave Sanok for a rainy day! Don't make my mistake.

A watchmaker in the open-air museum in Sanok
A fragment of the Galician Market Square in the open-air museum in Sanok
One of the interiors in the open-air museum in Sanok

Accommodation in Sanok

If you are looking for accommodation in Sanok, start by searching the database by clicking on the link below. It has been prepared in such a way that it limits the search results to the Sanok area, eliminating unnecessary content.
link to the accommodation base: Check the accommodation in Sanok - [click]

Below you will also find some interesting, specific accommodation offers in Sanok, selected by me.

Apartment Skowronek Centrum

The Sanocki Inn

Useful GPS coordinates

Parking at the Castle in Sanok, GPS coordinates:
49°33’44.0″N 22°12’28.5″E
49.562210, 22.207905 - click and route

Parking at the Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok, GPS coordinates:
49°34’26.1″N 22°12’23.6″E
49.573921, 22.206541 - click and route

The market square in Sanok, GPS coordinates:
49°33’40.0″N 22°12’25.3″E
49.561109, 22.207017 - click and route

The Bench of the Good Soldier Švejk, GPS coordinates:
49°33’35.9″N 22°12’18.7″E
49.559979, 22.205205 - click and route

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