I personally have always been attracted to churches and cathedrals because these monuments inspire so much those gazing upon them. And I’m talking strictly from an artistic point of view. There are so many buildings which manage to move people due to the multitude of elements they encompass within their structure. Whether we are talking about the façade, the size of the edifice or the interior design, there is always something that impresses the visitors.
Wawel Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church which still stands erect in the Polish town of Krakow after almost a century. There is much history behind the monument and many important events have occurred within the building, such as the coronations of monarchs. Moreover, it was in this specific cathedral where Pope John Paul II was ordained into priesthood.
But this type of historical accounts might not stir your interest so we should give a short description of the impressive edifice in order to better pinpoint why you should pay a visit to the Polish church.
First of all, it should be mentioned that the cathedral has a Gothic architectural design and that it guards several ‘jewels’ within its walls. The main altar is located in the main apse of the church and it dates back to the middle of the 17th century. Stepping forward towards the main altar, visitors will see how this is encompassed by 4 pillars made out of black marble which sustain atop a canopy. Moving your eyes away from the canopy and glancing below, one will notice the impressive silver coffin that reigns over the area. It is within this beautifully adorned sarcophagus that the remains of the national patron St Stanislau were laid to rest.
But this is only one of the many tombs which are sprinkled throughout the cathedral. To give another example, the sarcophagus of King Vladislav II Jagiello is located closely to the entrance of the church. It is constructed out of Hungarian red marble and influences of late Gothic art are visible. Even if the different names provided here might not ring any bells, it does not mean that you should dismiss the Wawel Cathedral as an unattractive touristic destination. On the contrary, you could gain some insight into the Polish history, but what is more important, you will be admiring sublime artistic manifestations.
The cathedral is surrounded by 18 chapels, each an expression of art in itself. For example, the Chapel of the Holy Cross has drawn much attention due to the fact that it abounds in Russian frescos from the 15th century. It also prides itself with two exceptional triptychs which have been painted in the Gothic style.
If I have made you even a little bit curious about what this tourist attraction has to offer, then you should not doubt the fact that you have cross its threshold when you visit Poland.