St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow is the city’s landmark and one of the most important churches in all of Poland. The basilica is one of the top sights in Krakow. St. Mary’s Church, also called St. Mary’s Basilica in German, is located directly on the central square Main Market Square, the largest city square in Europe (approximately 200 x 200 meters). The two towers of unequal height are striking. A great attraction for tourists is also a trumpeter who plays every full hour on top of the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica.
About the different high towers there are different stories. Often we hear that in past centuries a guard stood on top of the tower. He guarded Krakow and tried to see approaching enemies ahead of time. But he could not look completely in all directions, because the other tower would have obscured one direction. Therefore the higher tower for the city guard. The high tower of St. Mary’s Church has a height of 81 meters, the other one is only 69 meters high, so 12 meters lower.
A watchman on the tower existed mainly in the late Middle Ages. In 1241 the city watchman discovered hostile Tatars coming to Krakow. As a warning, the watchman played on his trumpet. However, an arrow from a Tartar hit the tower guard. The trumpeter died in the middle of the song. To this day, the song is played every hour on the hour, up to the point where the trumpet guard died. So even today’s trumpeters play only a part of the piece “Hejnal” every hour and then break off.
The interior of St. Mary’s Church
The interior of the church is beautiful. The biggest sight is the world famous high altar. The altar is by Veit Stoß and was made around 1480. It is made of old wood (carved
by Zygmunt Put, Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
The high altar is gigantic, over 140 square meters. Some figures have a height of over 2.5 meters.
You pay about 4 euros entrance fee if you want to visit the church. The entrance is on the right side of the church, seen from the marketplace. Tickets are available in the house across the street in a ticket store.
St. Mary’s Church Krakow was built mainly in the 15th century in the Gothic style. The full name of the Basilica of the Virgin Mary Krakow is “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary “. Since 1970 the church has been a minor basilica.
The organ of St. Mary’s Basilica is also famous. It was renovated in recent years and equipped with a new organ.