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Underground Tourist Route “Rzeszow cellars” - Discover the legend of Rzeszow’s Market

We kindly invite you to visit a unique complex of underground cellars and corridors, one of the greatest attractions of Rzeszow - Underground Tourist Route “Rzeszow cellars”. Network of underground corridors was being built for years by the inhabitants of Rzeszow. It served them as shops, storages, production companies, and finally – during wars and cataclysms - as a shelter. Today these secret, beautifully restored and enriched by a historical exhibition cellars prove resourcefulness, creativity and initiative of the city’s dwellers. The legend of Rzeszow’s market is waiting to be discovered....

Underground Tourist Route in numbers:
Depth: 0.5 - 10 meter under the market sqare and tenement houses on the three levels
Length: 369 metres
Numbers of rooms: 15 corridors, 25 cellars
Period of originating: 14th-17th cent.
Area of the entrance building: 646 m2

Cellars, corridors, exhibition

Underground Tourist Route leads under the tenant houses and market sqare, connecting all its frontages. All corridors and cellars were named to reflect their function and town’s history.
There are many attractions and secrets hidden within the route. You can find there the relics of medieval walls, signs of fire, remains of iron bars and hinges, few hundred’s years old hand shaped bricks, hidden passages.

Cellars’ attractiveness is enriched by historical-educational exhibition which consists of knightly armour copies, cold-steel weapon, fire-arms, ceramics and ceramic toys exhibition which shows what dishes and what everyday, common objects were used by Rzeszow’s dwellers. The view of the Resovian market from the turn of 19th and 20th century is shown on large format photographs placed inside the entrance building. Specific educational path is Coat-Of-Arms Corridor where Rzeszow’s old owners’ coats of arms are placed. You will also find there coats of arms from lands and voivodships on which city was situated, and finally crest of Rzeszow.
We also kindly invite you to an interesting exhibition of Museum of Rzeszow History which is a branch of The Regional Museum in Rzeszow.

Genesis and cellars functions

In medieval Rzeszow, which was founded under the Magdeburg municipal law in 1354 by Casimir the Great, crafts and trade was in flourish. This was facilitated by Rzeszow’s location along trade routes, and due to the numerous granted privileges. The cellars were used as trade storage and “ground shops”, built not only under the tenement houses, market square but also under the neighbouring streets, creating irregular network of rooms and corridors. The cellars were cut in soft loessic rock, then strengthened with oak or alternatively with stones or brick.
Underground storages, provided proper temperature for the groceries, and also sheltered goods from thieves or fires. In perilous moments - wars, Tatar invasions and cataclysms- cellars provided shelter for the town dwellers. Corridors leading to the well, located on the market square, provide a constant supply of fresh water.
Rooms which are currently located superficially under the market sqare are remains of medieval tenement house which relics of brick cross-vault ceiling, stone portal, a stone window and part of the original floor. It is the oldest saved part of our city.
The city’s prosperity lasted till the 18th century.
Dramatic political and social situation of the eighteenth century Poland put town’s trade at a standstill. The cellars became less needed, than before. That is why the majority of the deepest ones were filled in and their entrances were walled in. The others served for many years. During the World War II Jewish people, who managed to escape from Resovian ghetto, fund there shelter. The „ground shops” existed here till the 1970’s.
In 1960’s cellars became a threat for Rzeszow’s market square and tenement houses due to the rainwater and water from damaged pipes of municipal network which penetrated the loessic rock.
The loessic base soaked with water and lost its stability which in turn led to subsiding of the market square and its old tenement houses.
The decision of the Old Town renovation had been made...

Rzeszow’s Old Town reconstruction

There were four stages of works aimed at saving the Old Town since 1960’s to the year 2007.
The first stage began in the 1960’s under the supervision of Professor Feliks Zalewski of Krakow’s University of Science and Technology and it led to elimination of excavations (cellars) underneath southern and eastern parts of the market square. The second stage already involving complex renovation and restoration works begun in the late 1970’s. The same Academy supervised the actions, with professor Zbigniew Strzelecki in charge. The third stage started in 1980’s and secured foundations and basements of most old tenement houses in the market square. It also strengthened and cleared cellars and corridors that existed under the market square. That stage of works was managed by an engineer Andrzej Stronski, who was nominated by the Mayor of Rzeszow to be the coordinator of the market square maintenance.
Properly restored cellars were used to create Underground Tourist Route “Resovian cellars” opened for visitors in April 2001. 213 meters long route consisted of 34 rooms and was managed by The Rzeszow’s Regional Museum.
The final stage of the Old Town reconstruction is a project called “The 2nd part of the Underground Tourist Route Renovation with the reconstruction of the Old Town market’s sqare in Rzeszow”. The project was done in years 2006-2007, and included complex reconstruction of the market square, prolonging Underground Tourist Route by 156 meters and construction of the entrance building for the Route. (There is a stage placed on the building.) The value of the project is 16 million PLN, of which 5 million was obtained from European Union Funds, and 1 million PLN was donated from the State Budget.
The project of the entrance building and market renovation was done by Authorship Architecture Studio CAD Ltd Company from Warsaw, contractors – Resovian MPDiM Ltd Company and Profbud Ltd Company. Designer of the extended route was an engineer Paweł Skrzypiec, contractor – ZELBUD Ltd Company from Rzeszow.
Fragments of 16th - 18th century cellars were discovered and saved with visible traces of fire from 1842.
Archaeological works proved that there are traces of human activity in this area dated for three thousand years b.c. 

Photo galery