The Wawel Cathedral and the Wawel Castle in Krakow

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow ©Terrazzo/Flick

Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland with a population of over 750,000 inhabitants. Located in the Valley of the Upper Vistula, now the capital of the principality, the port city that is one of the few places where the inestimabilele works of art collected during the centuries were not destroyed during the World War.

Krakow has a long history of nearly 1000 years. There is the former residence of the Polish kings that attracts more than 7 million tourists annually and the old city center is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1978.


The Wawel Cathedral

The Wawel Cathedral is possibly the most historic place of Poland. The style is mostly Gothic dating from the reign of King Wladyslaw the Short (1306-1333) and Kazimierz the Great (1333-1370).  St. Peter of Westminster left more historical baggage to the cathedral. The Wawel Cathedral is the national sanctuary of Poland, it was the coronation site of the Polish monarchs. It is probably the most exciting place in the country along with the adjoining Wawel Royal Castle.

The Wawel Cathedral and the surrounding builidngs

The Wawel Cathedral and the surrounding builidngs ©Terrazzo/Flick

Its walls from the 14th century give place to a wide variety of works of art, from Gothic to Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and modern. The Gothic body of the church was later surrounded by 18 chapels in Renaissance and Baroque style. The Wawel Cathedral posesses the largest bell in poland with a diameter of 2.48 m and made in 1520 to the request of King Sigismund I.

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow is also the burial site of almost all the royal people of Poland and of many heroes, two poets, four saints and a bishop of Krakow. The center of the cathedral is occupied by the mausoleum of St. Stanislav dating from 1630, who is considered the patron saint of Poland. Ther you will also find the burial place of the bishop of Krakow murdered by King Boleslav II in the 11th century. The silver coffin of the martyr is adorned with 12 scenes in relief that happened during his life and posthumous miracles. The marble tombs of four Krakowian prelates from the 11th century accompany the tomb of the Bishop.

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow ©Terrazzo/Flick

The Wawel Castle

The Wawel Castle in Krakow was originally built in Gothic style, but it was transformed by Sigismund I between 1507-1536 in an imposing Renaissance style royal residence. Between the 14th and the 16th centuries the building played the role of a presidential palace of the Polish monarchs, it was also the coronation place and necropolis of the kings. Today the Wawel Castle houses the “National Art Collection,” that exhibits woven fabrics, tapestries embroidered with gold thread, paintings, ceramics, an impressive collection of weapons and the treasure of the Crown, including the coronation sword of the Polish kings and an Oriental collection, of which the most remarkable is one of the richest collection of tents from the 17th and the 18th century.

The Wawel Castle in Krakow

The Wawel Castle in Krakow ©Arian Zwegers/Flick

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