Esther's House

temporary exhibitions, office, library

A 14th century gothic tenement building first stood in the spot where Krakowska Street meets Trynitarska. The basements from that time have been preserved. Part of the walls on the ground floor, built later on (the 15th and 16th century) have survived, while some pieces of window stonework dating from around 1430 have been preserved in the garden.

The contemporary name “Esther’s House” stems from legends of Kazimierz the Great’s love for the beautiful Jewish woman Esther, and the house allegedly was the spot of their secret rendezvous.

Bartolommeo Berrecci was the owner of the tenement building in the 16th century. He was an Italian architect and Renaissance sculptor, working at the court of the Polish king Zygmunt the Old. (He acquired Krakowian citizenship, possessed a few buildings in the city, and was even a town councillor. He is buried in a nearby Corpus Christi Basilica). Berrecci left his daughter Anna his tenement house, which she sold to a Kazimierz assessor named Stanisław Fox in 1543. The house was renovated and rebuilt in the 19th century; between 1978–1985 it underwent a thorough renovation, including a reconstruction of the stonework, the framing of the cellar windows and the socle made of sandstone plates. The stonework of the entrance portal originates from the end of the 17th century. During the renovation, the portal was returned to its original form, having been altered in the 19th century.

In 1987, the building was gifted to the Ethnographic Museum of Kraków. Today it hosts temporary exhibitions and educational workshops, and it also houses some of the exhibits. It is home to the Museum’s Library and administrative offices.