Rising high above Krakow’s Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Tower hosts a tradition that started in the Middle Ages. Every hour on the hour, a trumpeter plays a tune to the four corners of the globe.
When Emese and I first heard it, we craned our necks to see the bell of the trumpet peeking out of the tower window. All of a sudden, the melody stopped and a hand waved from the window. We heard the melody again from another window with its same abrupt stop. This happened two more times, but it wasn’t a mistake. It represented the legend of the trumpeter.
Throughout history, trumpeters have played at the start and end of the day and to sound the alarm for Krakow residents. Legend claims that a trumpeter was warning residents of an attack when he was killed by a Tatar arrow, hence the abrupt ending.
No matter where we were—winding down in our flat, relaxing with a drink on the Main Market Square, or bustling through the Old Town streets—we couldn’t help but smile when we heard the trumpeter. I’m smiling right now just thinking about it.