One of the most important historical monuments of the region is the Cathedral - the place where St Adalbert is buried as well as the coronation church for many Polish kings. Among them are the first Polish coronations in history: of Boleslaw Chrobry (the Brave) and Mieszko II, both in 1025; Boleslaw the Bold in 1076; Przemysl II in 1295, and Vencelas of Bohemia in 1300.
It is said that the Cathedral was originally built in the 10th century but no one can give exact dates. However we know that reconstruction works were done in the late half of the 11th century giving a three-aisle Romanesque stone basilica with two towers. Later there were more reconstructions and the present Gothic outlay was begun in 1342.
The church has suffered two fires, one in 1613 and one in 1760. After the latter the towers were completed with the Baroque roofs and helms.
The Cathedral is 85 metres long, 22 metres wide, and the towers are 64 metres high.
To the south of the Cathedral, in the square in ul. Laskiego, we find the monument of Boleslaw Chrobry, founder of both the Cathedral and the archbishopric. The statue was unveiled in 1929, but after having been destroyed by the Germans during World War II, it was reconstructed in 1985.
When visiting Gniezno and the Cathedral one should absoloutely not miss the chance to see the 12th century Bronze Doors. They are to be found in the south crypt. The doors consists of two halfs illustrating episodes from the life of St Adalbert. The doors were made circa 1170 - 1180 but the artist is not known.
Due to renovation works when I visited, the crypt was closed. Great disappointment of course.
St. Adalbert, also known as St. Adalbert of Prague (or in Polish as St. Wojtech), was born in 956 and killed in April 997. He is now Patron Saint of Poland. The silver coffin was made in 1662. In 1997 it was moved from its original location at the entrance to the presbytery, where we now can see it.
Gniezno has a beautiful cathedral sitting on Lech Hill. In this cathedral which dates back to to 1324 till 1370 the first five Polish kings were crownd. The cathedral has many amazing things to see. Unfortunately, on Easter Sunday the museum and crypt were closed as well as the tower which you can otherwise climb.
If you have the change make sure you see the original Gniezno doors made of bronze in the 12th century. They tell you the story of Adalbert’s life. The artists are unknown but probably from Germany.
Of course there were other churches on that site at least as early as the 10th century.
Outside behind the cathedral you may see the remains ie the layout of such a church. Also in front of the cathedral you may see the big monument of Boleslaw I. and the broken original bell.
The reliquary of St. Wojciech is placed in the centre of the chancel of the cathedral. I was very impressed by the silver casket with its saint dressed in a bishop’s gown on top. Piotr van der Rennen of Gdansk made this reliquary in 1662. The figures around the casket were made by the famous Poznan sculptor Wladyslaw Marcinkowski.
In 1986 the reliquary was stolen and damaged. It was consequently restored and placed into the cathedral again.
Not far from the cathedral is the lake which is popular with the locals for outdoor activities. There are benches along the shore. On the other side of the lake, hidden in the trees, is the museum about the beginning of Poland. From the other side of the lake you can take lovely pictures of the cathedral in the background. Best to do this in the afternoon because of the sun.
I only had a quick peek inside the church because it was full of wedding guests and the bride and groom were already waiting outside.
The church features a bell play outside which rings twice a day and has a moving St. Adalbert. The church has a gothic tower and a baroque interior. Inside the wall that surrounds the church there is a memorial for the people murdered at Katyn forest. Also you can see the last bit of the city wall that is left in Gniezno.
If you follow the footpath by the Franciscan church then you will see the church also known as the church of “The lord’s Tomb Monks”. This name is taken from the order that was established to protect the Lord’s Tomb during the Crusades in the Holy Land. The church is from the middle of the 14th century and is of Gothic style. Amazingly, it has hardly changed over the centuries. The interior shows ornaments of human faces and frescoes.
The Rynek or market square is rather big in Gniezno. It features a fountain in the center which hopefully works in summer. The tourist office can also be found here. It was closed on Easter Sunday though. On the Rynek you may also see a lot of metal plates in the ground. They are more or less forming a half-circle and show the coat of arms of other towns across Poland. The present lay-out of the square is from 1819 and the houses are from the 19th and 20th century because a big fire destroyed the previous ones.
King Boleslaw the Pious founded this church in 1259 for the Franciscan friars he brought to Gniezno. The tower is what’s left of the Klaryski Konvent Oratory. Unfortunately, when we visited there was a mass going on, so we couldn’t see the high altar with the famous painting of the Holy Mother of Gnizeno which is famous for miracles. The church is considered one of “the” sanctuaries because of “Our Lady of Consolation the Queen of Gniezno”.
The other is the early gothic-baroque Franciscan church and monastery (of the end of 13th century) which was created as the result of connecting two temples: of the Franciscan monks and the nuns of the order of St. Clare, with15th century tower. In the main altar there is a painting depicting Madonna with the baby, called "the Lady of Gniezno". Local people treat it with particular reverence. The Franciscan church also houses the relics of the blessed Jolenta who died in 1279.
Holy Trinity church was founded in 12 century. It one-nave gothic church. After year 1613 underbuilt in baroque style. The church has a gothic tower with baroque helmet. There is a clock with a chime instalated on the tower.
In the church you can see renaissance baptismal font, late-baroque pulpit. The door of sacristy is from 15 century.
One-nave St. John Church of 14th century also deserves particular attention. It has a gothic cross vault and after the cathedral it is most precious historic monument of Gniezno. Te greatest attraction of the church is the interior - historic wall painting of the second half of the 14th century.
Tomb of St. Adalbertus (Wojciech) is situated in the cathedral.
Nice golden decorations tower over the relics.
Adalbertus was a Saint who brought christianity to Poland more then 1000 years ago.