Krakow Attractions

Wawel Cathedral

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Overview

The Wawel Cathedral, over the centuries it was the royal coronation church and the resting place of outstanding Poles. In the cathedral there are extremely beautiful wall paintings, valuable works of art, rich museum collections and the most famous bell in Poland, named after its founder, King Sigismund I the Old.

The construction of the Krakow Cathedral began around 1000, but the present form of the three-nave Gothic basilica dates back to the 14th century. In the central place there is an altar and the relics of St. Stanisław, bishop and patron of Poland. Above the entrance to the Cathedral, there are bones of a whale, a rhino and a mammoth, because it was formerly believed that these remains would protect the temple from evil spirits.

Of the nineteen chapels surrounding the cathedral, the Sigismund’s Chapel, covered with a golden dome, deserves special attention. It is the most outstanding Renaissance work in Poland, also known as the “pearl of the Renaissance north of the Alps”. It is worth seeing the Świętokrzyska Chapel with the marble tombstone of King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk carved by Wit Stwosz and the Vasa Chapel built in the Baroque style.

The crypts beneath the Wawel Cathedral hold the tombs of Polish kings, national heroes, generals and revolutionaries. They were buried here, among others, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Józef Piłsudski, Juliusz Słowacki and Adam Mickiewicz.

From the outside, the Cathedral is surrounded by three towers cut above Wawel hill. The Clock Tower is crowned with a baroque dome designed by Kacper Bażanka, while in the Silver Bells Tower, the bells hanging there contain an admixture of silver. In the north there is the most famous Sigismund’s Tower, with the “Zygmunt” bell. Its sound can be heard on the occasion of holidays, church ceremonies and important national events. Supposedly, whoever enters the tower and touches the heart of the bell, will always return to Krakow.

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Contact

Wawel 3
31-001 Kraków
www.katedra-wawelska.pl
12 429 95 16

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