St Francis of Assisi Church, Krakow
Basilica of St Francis built in 1237 is well known for the stained glass window created by young Cracovian Stanislaw Wyspiansky's. In 1850 the church and monastery went up in flames. Several years later there was a competition to redecorate the church. Wyspianski won the competition. At the age of 28 he was an established artist and playwright when he took up the Franciscan commission in 1897. At the entrance is one of his famous works “The Creation” which shows God emerging from the cosmos in the act of creation but due to time factor I didn't get to see his creation.
The Church of St Francis of Assisi (Kościół SW. Franciszka Asyżu) holds the rank of a minor basilica. Interestingly, like my first impression of the St Mary's Basilica, it was totally unassuming on the outside, you could easily miss it altogether walking towards the castle. Most of the church is of fairly newer construction, but it is a gorgeous church, particularly the stained glass windows
The original brick Gothic church was there in the mid 13th century. The church fell victim to fire in 1850 was rebuilt slowly after that. Perhaps that was incredible timing. The murals and stained glass windows were both designed by Stanislaw Wyspianski, the multi talented arist and designer.
When you are walking outside the Church you probably won't even notice, because in Krakow it is absolutely not unusual to see priests and seminarians. Right next to St Francis Church is a large Fransiscan monastery, that explains it:
The St. Francis of Assisi's Church (Kosciol sw. Franciszka z Asyzu) is one of the oldest Gothic churches in Krakow. It was inaugurated in 1249.
In 1563 a belfry was added to the structure, but later in 1816 it was demolished again. According to legend this was because the prussian resident couldn't sleep due to the stroke of the clock.
Together with the Franciscan monastery, the St. Francis of Assisi's Church is situated just south west of Krakow's market square (Rynek Glowny).
Address: St. Francis of Assisi's Church, ul. Franciszkañska 2, 33-332 Krakow
This 13th century church was built as part of a Franciscan Monastery established here in Krakow in 1237. However most of what we see today dates back to the mid 19th century as the church had to be largely rebuilt after a fire gutted it. Structurally that re-build followed the Gothic style of the original, but when it came to the interior the monks made a brave decision and commissioned a local Krakow artist, Stanislaw Wyspianski, to design it. His murals cover much of the wall space – swirls of colourful flowers and other elements from nature, reflecting the Franciscan love of nature.
But the highlights of this church are undoubtedly Wyspianski’s stained glass windows, created between 1897and1902. There are six in the chancel, depicting the four elements and the saints Francis of Assisi and Salomea of Krakow, but the most striking of all is probably the one above the entrance, known variously as “Creation”, “Let it Be” or “Our Father”. It depicts God emerging from the cosmos in the act of creation. I have seen this described as “the world’s arguably greatest modern stained-glass window” which is a very big claim. As I haven’t seen anything like all the modern stained glass in the world (and nor I suspect has the author of this claim), I can’t say if it is correct, but I can say that I was very much taken with this and the other stained glass windows in the church – so much so that I went back for a second look.
By the way, if you like Wyspianski’s work you might like to pop into the unusual modern building opposite the church, which houses a tourist information centre but was built to showcase three more of his windows, one of which can be seen in my 4th photo. These were originally commissioned for Wawel Cathedral in 1900, but never installed there, instead finally finding a showcase here in 2007.
Meanwhile back in the church head to the left-hand chapel to see a replica of the Turin Shroud, reputedly Christ’s burial shroud (photo 3).
The church was constructed in the first half of the 13th century, when Franciscan monks were brought to Krakow from Prague. This church is famous for it’s 8 Art Nouveau stained glass windows designed by the artist and playwright Stanislaw Wyspianski, which he designed around 1895. He covered the walls with motifs inspired by nature, including huge dandelions.