The Cracow Gate is one of the architectural symbols of Lublin. Its name derives from the fact that the gate is directed towards the historical route that led to Cracow, the then capital of the state.
It was erected as a fortification within the defensive walls surrounding the city. It happened after the invasion of Tatars in 1341, during the reign of King Casimir the Great. The main framework of the gothic walls was built of brick and limestone and arranged in a checkerboard pattern visible on the outer walls. The superstructure was built of vitrified brick. The octagonal, plastered tower was built in the mid-16th century. The building is covered with a baroque helmet with the "SAR" monogram (Stanislaus Augustus Rex) on its top and the date 1782, marking the period of reconstruction carried out by Dominik Merlini.
The present form of the Cracow Gate is a result of a renovation works in the years 1959-1964, which restored the original appearance of the gate and adapted its interiors for the needs of the Museum of the History of Lublin.
The Cracow Gate was a representative building through which the processions of monarchs and envoys entered the city. The gate was also an observation point for the fire brigade. It was the place where the city bugle-call was played from. A watchmaker who operated the clock also lived here.
The scenes from the Polish historical series "Black Clouds" were filmed at the Cracow Gate. Currently, the gate can be spotted almost every day on the weather services of nationwide television, when live snapshots from various places in Poland are shown.
Inside the Cracow Gate there is the Museum of the History of Lublin (branch of the National Museum in Lublin). The entrance to the museum is from Łokietek Square.