With 142 churches in Krakow, you are seemingly never out of sight of one.
St. Mary’s Basilica may be THE church to see in Krakow. Unfortunately, it was “closed” for some conservation work, so we could only get a glimpse inside. But the glimpse was stunning:
After being destroyed by Tartar raids in the 13th century, St. Mary’s was rebuilt in the 14th century. Only one of the two towers is part of the church; the other was used as a watch tower by the city. From here you can hear the hejnal, the hourly bugle call, repeated four times, from each side of the tower. The buglers are local firemen, who have to climb 239 steps to the top of the tower. The song ends mid-tune, to honor the legendary watchman who died alerting the town to Tartar invaders in 1241.
Tucked behind St. Mary’s is St. Barbara’s—a charming little church:
Founded in the 14th century as a cemetery chapel, St. Barbara’s was turned over to the Jesuits in the 16th century and became a college.
Copper-domed St. Adalbert’s is Krakow’s oldest church, sitting lonely in a corner of market square:
The earliest parts of the building date to the 10th century (!) Over the years, it has taken on pre-Roman, Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque characteristics. The church is the site of frequent concerts, but we didn’t catch any – another time, perhaps.
St. Francis’ Basilica is home to stunning stained glass and arguably the most colorful church in Krakow:
The Art Nouveau interiors were designed by Stanislaw Wyspianski and feature floral patterns. The centerpiece is the stained glass “God the Father in the Act of Creation.”
The Church of Saints Peter & Paul, built in the 17th century, at first appears to be a government building. But the statues of the twelve disciples (no Judas, but Mary Magdalene) on the fence at the street give it away:
We only saw the exterior of Wawel Cathedral, but it was stunning. Poland’s national church, it is a hodge-podge of architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical: