Want to see one-of-its-kind architecture while vacationing in Krakow? Would you like to know where the city’s main wealth lies? Visit Krakow churches. Despite its modern age, Krakow never forgets its root. The town maintains its rich culture and traditions evident in its churches and other religious sites. Krakow churches are plentiful; hence it is impossible to explore all.
On the city’s touristic map, there are over 350 churches listed for you to choose from. Equally impressive is the fact that no two church has similar features. Each church boasts its own unique feature, so there’s something to admire.
Here are the best five churches in Krakow recommended to visit.
1. Wawel Cathedral
For those planning a pilgrimage trip to Krakow, the first stop is obviously Wawel Cathedral. It is a must-see. Designed by architect and sculptor Bartolomeo Berrecci, Wawel cathedral is renowned for its rich history. No other monument in Poland can match the history it possesses.
The chapel holds status as the vessel of national history. The crypt of the cathedral is used as the final resting place of virtually every king and national hero in Poland, among them Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Jozef Pilsudski.
Historians and culture vulture will be struck in awe at not just the history but also the beautify of the chapel itself. You can even take a tour of Wawel Cathedral and discover the burial site of Polish kings and see the famous Sigismund Bell.
2. St. Mary Basilica
A trip to St Mary’s Basilica takes you to one of Poland’s most important shrines. Overlooking the Market Square, St Mary’s Basilica is a 13th-century attraction that’s hard to miss. Its original building was built even before Krakow became officially recognized as a city in 1257.
Many times, the cathedral has suffered significant structural damage due to war. The church’s interior is ravishing and beautifully adorned, from the stain glass designs to the starry polychromic vault ceiling. This is where you’ll find St Mary’s Altar, one of the most revered artworks of Wit Stwosz. Yet another attention-grabbing feature is the chapel’s two towers with different heights.
The bell tower stands at 69 meters from ground level while the hymn tower stands at 81 meters in height. Wondered why these towers have unequal heights? Legends have it that the towers were built by two brothers. One of them took the life of the other for fear of not constructing a tower smaller in height.
Filled with guilt and remorse, he ended up committing suicide shortly after. Want to know more about the murder incident? You’ll find more detailed information at the Sukiennice gates where the murder weapon is housed. If you wanna get more out of your trip skip-the-line and get your ticket here.
3. Church of Saints Peter & Paul
Built in the early 17th century, Church of Saints Peter & Paul is one of the most famous churches in Krakow. It prides itself on being the first Baroque-style church in Krakow. At the church’s entrance are the twelve apostles – one of the most striking features of the chapel.
The crypt is home to the National Pantheon for Poles Distinguished in the Arts, Science, and Culture. The ravishing interior has undergone extensive renovation, and in the center of it is an altar. On the walls are paintings that narrate the death of Peter & Paul. Admire the beautiful paint works, sculptures, and figurines found here.
Here’s a great tip about visiting the Church of Saints Peter & Paul: try to attend one of the classical music concerts it promises to be a fantastic experience. The concerts takes place weekly except Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays by 8 pm.
Photo credit: Mach240390 Wikimedia Commons
4. St Joseph’s Church
St Joseph’s Church is a popular attraction for architecture lovers. Designed by Jan Sas Zubrzycki, the cathedral’s construction took four years to complete from 1905 – 1909. This neo-gothic church is a beauty to behold. Featuring a clock tower standing at 80 meters in height, well-carved gargoyles and sculptures of saints and lovely masonry dressing, St. Joseph’s Church has one of the richly decorated facades in Krakow.
The exterior boasts lovely architectures. Inside, you’ll find an altar with a sculpture of Saint Joseph. Right next to it are sculptures of other saints, including Saint Joachim and Saint Anna. At night, the bright lights illuminate the skies and surroundings. Whether or not you’ve checked it out during the day, plan a second trip to St. Joseph’s Church at night – it’s beautiful.
Photo credit: Jakub Hałun Wikimedia Commons
5. Church of the Holy Saviour
The Church of the Holy Saviour is one of the oldest churches in Krakow. As a matter of fact, research has it that the site has been around since the 10th century. Many historians believe that the Church of the Holy Saviour is the country’s first Catholic site.
Going back in time, the site made its way to the history books in 1148. And ever since, the site has been damaged and rebuilt severally. The building on the site today was rebuilt in the 17th century.
The interior takes you back to the time of old. It is adorned with lovely frescoes, which date as far back as the 16th century. Just around the corner is a burial ground and the final resting place of the Sister, who took care of it.
Photo credit: Jakub Hałun Wikimedia Commons
6. Church of St Anna
Looking for a fine example of Baroque architecture? Church of St Anna is the right place to be. Located in the city centers, the church is renowned for being among the loveliest chapels dating back to the 17th century. Inside the church are lovely paintings, artworks, and designs, including marble columns and alabaster décor.
On the nave are beautiful designs of six chapels. At the high altar, you’ll find paintings of St Anna Samotrzec and sculptures of St Adalbert and St Stanislaus.
Photo credit: Zygmunt Put Zetpe0202 Wikimedia Commons
On your next trip to Krakow, find your way to these religious sites. These churches have something for everyone, from its ravishing interior to its breathtaking exterior and everything in between. There’s hardly a local in Krakow who doesn’t live close to a church in Krakow.
Remember to dress modestly while exploring these churches. Be respectful, and if you must visit while a service is ongoing, be sure to follow the rules.