The dragon sculpture noisily breathes fire every few minutes, thanks to a natural gas nozzle installed in the sculpture's mouth.

The Hill seen from the north.  The monument of Tadeusza Kościuszki is seen in the center.

The Hill seen from the north. The monument of Tadeusza Kościuszki is seen in the center.

Wawel Cathedral

The Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus, also known as the Wawel Cathedral (katedra wawelska), is a Roman Catholic church located on the northern part of Wawel Hill. More than 900 years old, it is the Polish national sanctuary and traditionally has served as coronation site of the Polish monarchs as well as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Krakow. Wawel Cathedral is also the burial place of Polish monarchs.

Karol Wojtyla, this controversial (for many) person of 20th century ecclesiastical and political history, the day after his ordination to the priesthood, offered his first Mass as a priest in the Crypt of the Cathedral on 2 November 1946, and was ordained Kraków's auxiliary bishop in the Cathedral on 28 September 1958.

Monarchs who resided at Wawel participated in Holy Masses and other religious services at Wawel Cathedral. There was a special passage from the castle to the cathedral, accessible only to the king and his family.

Once the royal throne stood on the right of the altar, but when Poland lost her independence in the 18th century, it was replaced by a 17th-century throne of the bishops of Cracow. Over the throne hangs a canopy which was placed here on the occasion of the coronation of King August III, the Elector of Saxony, in 1734.

The current, Gothic cathedral, is the third edifice on this site: the first was constructed and destroyed in the 11th century; the second one, constructed in the 12th century, was destroyed by a fire in 1305. The construction of the current one began in the 14th century on the orders of bishop Nanker.

Admission to the Cathedral is free as regular masses take place here, but there is an Admission fee of 12 zł (7,00 zł reduced  fee) to enter Sigismund Bell, Royal Tombs, Cathedral Museum. 

Wawel Cathedral.

Wawel Cathedral.

Inside the Wawel Cathedral (pictures are not allowd inside the Cathedral).

Inside the Wawel Cathedral (pictures are not allowd inside the Cathedral).

Wawel Cathedral.

Wawel Cathedral.

“We are all well aware that to enter this Cathedral cannot be without emotion. More I say, you cannot enter it without the internal tremor, without fear because it contains in it – as in almost no Cathedral of the world – the enormous size, which speaks to us in all our history, our entire past”. Kardynał Karol Wojtyła, 8 marca 1964.

“Here, everything is Poland, every stone and every little thing. Whoever enters it, becomes himself part of Poland, part of its construction. Here we add a measure to this body – and only now, within these walls, are we Poland ourselves”. Stanisław Wyspiański, 1902 (polish patriotic writter, who is considered the creator of the modern polish drama).

Self-portrait of Stanisław Wyspiański and his wife (1904).

Self-portrait of Stanisław Wyspiański and his wife (1904).

Inside the Wawel Hill complex.

Inside the Wawel Hill complex.

The Wawel Castle

The Wawel Castle is a castle residency located on the eastern part of Wawel Hill. Built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great, it consists of a number of structures situated around the Italian-styled main courtyard. The castle, being one of the largest in Poland, represents nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance and baroque periods. The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in Poland.

Wawel Castle from the south.  The tower is Baszta Senatorska. In the foreground is the road that leads to the entrance of the hill complex.

Wawel Castle from the south. The tower is Baszta Senatorska. In the foreground is the road that leads to the entrance of the hill complex.

Wawel Castle seen from the east (Grodzka str).

Wawel Castle seen from the east (Grodzka str).

For centuries the residence of the kings of Poland and the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums. Established in 1930, the museum encompasses ten curatorial departments responsible for collections of paintings, including an important collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, prints, sculpture, textiles, among them the Sigismund II Augustus tapestry collection, goldsmith’s work, arms and armor, ceramics, Meissen porcelain, and period furniture. The museum’s holdings in oriental art include the largest collection of Ottoman tents in Europe. With seven specialized conservation studios, the museum is also an important center for the conservation of works of art.

Comments

03.11.2019 04:15

Rob

What a great adventure.

15.10.2018 08:50

Jane

The first time I read such an interesting review on Krakow.