St. Mary's Church (Kosciol Mariacki), Krakow
Upon entering the BASILICA OF THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY from the Market Square, you come across the Vestibule (1750-53) in the shape of the Tomb of Jesus.
Entering from Mariacki Square (enter here to purchase tickets) you will notice the Penitents' Hoop which was placed on the heads of sinners. Of course, a few of us had pictures taken with the hoop around our necks - including Hansi.
In the naves of the Church, there are a number of richly ornamented chapels funded by wealthy noble families. The Holy Mother of Czestochowa Chapel was built in the XV century. The St. Antoni Chapel, also called the Criminal's Chapel as it was the last place for those to be executed, to pray.
The triptych WIT STWOSZ ALTAR, created by Wit Stwosc (1477-1489) is the most beautiful of the interior devotional decorations. It is the largest wooden Gothic altar in Europe. The three parts (triptych) of the Altar are the center piece, representing the Virgin Mary asleep and the right and left wings, six scenes from the life of Mary. When the Triptych is closed, twelve carvings representing the life of the Holy Family can be seen. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. When we were there, it was very crowded with people as they have an opening ceremony every day at exactly 11:50 a.m.
Open Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wit Stwosz Altar opens 11:50 a.m.
Tickets 6 zl
Photo/Video permit 5 zl
Dominating the Main Square, the BASILICA OF THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY or KOSCIOL MARIACKI, was constructed from 1287 - 1320 on the site of a former Romanesque Church which was destroyed by the Tartans. It was built originally in the Gothic Style, with Baroque Chapels and altars.
The two towers of the Church differ in height and style. The higher one is 88 m (the lower 69 m) and when built, did not belong to the Church but was under municipal management. It served as the city guard tower, where lookouts watched over the countryside. When a horn was blown from the tower, this was a signal to shut the gates against approaching enemies. This horn signal is called the Hejnal. Today it is heard every hour from the tower.
For our VT Meet, the Basilica of the Holy Virgin Mary was part of our Medieval Walking Tour. We entered from Mariacki Square at which point you buy your entrance tickets.
Open Monday to Saturday 11:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Tickets 6 zl
Video/photo permits 5 zl
Favorite thing: the tallest building in this beautiful square.. the most visited place in the old city.. always crowded with shops, terraces where relax after the visit.. and the perfect depature place to begin to see around
According to a legend the twin towers of the basilica were built by two brothers. It had been a kind of rivalry between both (hmm...I have a brother and can understand that). However, the one who build the smaller one murdered his brother, apparently jealous that his tower was taller. After a while he couldn't live with that shame and climbed up his tower and throw himself off the roof.
Let's hope my brother and I will never be tempted to build a basilica.
The Gothic St Mary's Church, towering over the Main Market Square of Krakow, houses Wit Stwosz masterpiece: Europe's largest Gothic altar.
From the taller tower of basilica, the bugle call is sounded every hour. This bugle call is conected with one old legend and history of the city.
Fondest memory: EURORE'S LARGEST GOTHIC ALTAR
One church, one Polish name: "Kosciol Mariacki" and hmmm... so many English names:
- Basilica of the Virgin Mary's
- St. Mary's Basilica
- Our Lady Church
OK, Basilica of the Virgin Mary's is located close to NE corner of the Main Market Square.
It has been traditionally the temple of choice of the city’s burghers. It also seems to be the most famous of all Poland's churches.
HISTORY AND ART
The Gothic edifice replaced its Romanesque predecessor by the end of the 13th century. In 1365 a chancel was added and soon its splendid big stained-glass windows, of which three are still in place, were ready as well. By the end of the 14th century the body of the church got the present form of a basilica.
The taller (81 m = 266 ft) of its two towers, with a fantastic Gothic spire of 1478 and a gold-plated crown of 1666, curiously belongs to the municipality and the Krakow signal is played from it every full hour.
The lower tower (69 m = 226 ft ), with the 1592 Renaissance roof, harbors bells. Two of them date back to the late 14th century. In the Baroque front porch of the mid-18th century one finds two early-Gothic holy-water basins.
The basilica of the Virgin Mary's is home to an unmatched giant Gothic altarpiece carved by great Veit Stoss between 1477 and 1489. In 1491 he also sculptured a stone crucifix that now is part of the late-Baroque altarpiece in the south aisle, and probably the magnificent huge crucifix above the nave as well.
Sepulchral monuments of the Krakow rich and worthy fill every corner of the basilica and its twelve chapels. Ornate stalls in the chancel appear an outstanding achievement of the early-Baroque woodwork. The wall-paintings by famous Jan Matejko date back to the 1888-1891 renovation. The treasure-house of the basilica of the Virgin Mary's is rich in priceless objects of art, including some 300 masterly embroidered ancient vestments.
This is St. Mary's Church.
I HIGHLY recommend you seeing it no matter what religion you are.
The stained glass windows, ceiling and blue walls, and altars are spectacular!
Fondest memory: This is a view from the outside of the church with the horse and buggy and street cleaner.
Please see my "Must see activities" for pictures inside the church.
Beautiful structures are plenty around Krakow.
These structures have survived for hundred of years...
The photo shows St. Mary's Church, which is overlooking the Market Square from the east.
St. Mary's Church is considered one of the great artistic achievements because various styles from gothic to Art Neuveau are blended together to make such a sight unlike any church that you have seen before.
St. Mary's Church
It was built in the second part of the 14th century as a parish church. There are two unequal towers: the taller one (81 meters) is topped with a late-gothic spire and the lower one (69 meters) is topped with a manierist cupola. The hights of the towers are explained by the local tradition which tells a story about two brothers who were employed at the construction. The builder of the lower tower, hurt in his ambitions, is said to have killed his brother with a knife and then commited the suicide.
The buggle-call is played every hour from the taller tower window's into the four quarters of globe.
Favorite thing: The St. Mary's Churh is a gothic church in the Market Square. From the tower of St. Mary's Church the hourly bugle-call is played and then dramatically cut, just as it was cut when the arrow struck the trumpeter, as he was sounding the alarm during the Tartar raid.
Photographs are not allowed in the Church so the picture that you can see has been taken from a postcard that you can buy from the shop found at the tourist entrance. The inside of the church is so colourful that I do not think pictures viewed over the web would do it justice, anyway.
Fondest memory: The altar, which is the photo that is shown, dates from 1477-89. The largest altar of its type in Europe, measuring 11mtr x 13mtr, it is completed with oak wood (the structure) and linden wood (the sculptures).
Quite apart from its age, the altar has some history behind it, in the fact that it has not always resided in the Church. In 1939, it was taken apart and concealed from the Germans. However, they found it and transported it to Nurnberg. In 1946, after a campaign to recover the altar, it was returned back to Cracow. It was returned to the Church and its present location in 1957, after a process of renovation and preservation.
Favorite thing: If you approach the tourist entrance from the front of the Church, it is likely that you will miss this statue of Jesus on the cross that is up on the wall above your heads. We certainly did not spot it until we happened to approach the rear of the Church from a side road!
Favorite thing: The main entrance in the front of the Church is for worshippers only. Although you can use this entrance, to be able to view the altar, you must use the tourist entrance, found in the right hand side of the Church. There is a small fee to pay to get into the Church.
If you are tall, like me (I am 1.9mtr ~ 6'3" tall), watch you head as you wander around the room at the top of the tower. Some wooden beams are quite low and can be in unexpected places.
Fondest memory: The picture shows the bugle that is used a the hourly blow. It hangs on one of the beams and is not easily seen when you enter to the room. Have fun finding it if you get to visit this attraction!
St Mary’s Church (known as Mariacka Bazylika) stands in the main square of Cracow and sports two splendid towers. The tallest of these is 81 metres high and the shortest is 69 metres high.
Fondest memory: The Hejnalica bugle call tower (the tallest tower) has an interesting history. In medieval Europe, watchmen announced the coming of dawn to city inhabitants but also warned them of imminent danger. This tower was the watchtower that served Cracow.
Built in the 15th century, the tower’s upper part was given the form of an octagonal “tip”, creating what is now the highest workplace for buglers in Poland. It was from high that the bugle call is sounded every hour to the 4 corners of the world. With a melody of only 5 notes, the bugle call is broken off abruptly. This is said to commemorate an event in the 13th century, when one of the guards spotted the Tatar hoards approaching Cracow. His alarm call was abruptly ended a Tatar arrow which pierced his throat. Nowadays, the melody also breaks off quite unexpectedly, as if someone had suddenly interrupted the bugler’s playing.
The view from the top is spectacular. You can see Wawel Castle, the people sitting on and standing around the steps of the statue of Adam Mickiewicz in the main square, the Cloth Hall across the main square, Florian Gate and the countryside around Cracow.