If you appreciate places where modernity is freely intertwined with a fascinating history, and extraordinary medieval architectural masterpieces are at your fingertips, you will surely be interested in the Gate of Glory. It used to be the beginning of the Royal Route, and today it welcomes visitors to the Krakow Market Square. St. Florian’s Gate owes its new name to the relics of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, steelworkers and chimney sweeps, which are located in the nearby Basilica.
In medieval times, Krakow was surrounded by a solid wall with eight defensive gates. St. Florian’s Gate is the only one that has survived to this day. It used to be the beginning of the Royal Route to Wawel and a part of the route from Kleparz to the Church of St. Florian.
The walls collapsed in the early 17th century during the first years of the existence of the Free City of Krakow. Thanks to the effective intervention of Feliks Radwanski, professor of the Jagiellonian University, the decision on demolition did not include St. Florian’s Gate. The argument put forward by the famous architect was the bad wind against which the gate protected, and, to the delight of enthusiasts, historians and tourists, it does this to this day.
St. Florian’s Gate and the adjacent section of the wall also survived subsequent attempts to raze it to the ground. Their defender was Wladyslaw Czartoryski, who proposed a new function for the historical site – a family chapel. The third and last attempt to demolish the building took place in the 20th century, during the reconstruction of tram lines. Fortunately, it also failed.
St. Florian’s Gate is currently one of the elements of the ‘Defensive Walls’ tourist route, thanks to which visitors can admire it not only from the outside, but also enter the interior of the neo-gothic Czartoryski Chapel. Today, the monument is not only one of the most important symbols of the royal city, but also a must-see on the tourist map of Krakow.