St Mary's Basilica or St Mary's Church with its asymmetrical facade dominates the Old Town Square. It dates back to ... More
St Mary's Basilica
St Mary's Basilica or St Mary's Church with its asymmetrical facade dominates the Old Town Square. It dates back to the 16th Century and was the most important church in the city for many centuries. In the lower tower five bells are housed while the higher tower served as as a watch-tower since the Middle Ages. From here you can hear a trumpeter playing the Hejnal on the hour every hour. The trumpeter stops abruptly half-way through as, legend has it, a trumpeter was once shot in the throat by Tartar invaders. Inside St Mary's is a valuable collection of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque furnishings but the most famous art work is certainly the wooden altar built by Wit Stwosz in the 15th Century.
The church reflects the whole religious attitude of the Poles. The facade has just been recently renovated and been brought to its original splendour. Listening for the trumpeter is a highlight. You just feel the ambiance of history projecting form the inner sanctum of this wonderful building.
The outside of the church has a gothic style with two unequal spires. A trumpter plays the "hejnal" every hour at the top spire. Tourists are invited to climb to the top and visit the trumpeter if they wish. The inside is one of the most striking churches in the world.
St. Mary's is a basilica. The interior is absolutely stunning. Not a square inch of bare stone or brick is visible, from the floor up to the vaulted ceiling. The art and decoration is nearly overwhelming. This is a large church, and contains several chapels, lots of beautiful stained glass windows, and of course the amazing three-paneled altar piece. It's interesting to compare with the Wawel Hill catheral.
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