Krakow Sights

Kościół Mariacki (Church of Our Lady)

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Published 01/21/2016

Fodor's Review

Dominating the northeast corner of Rynek Główny is the twin-towered Church of Our Lady, which is also known as St. Mary's Church. The first church was built on this site before the town plan of 1257, which is why it stands slightly askew from the main square; the present church, completed in 1397, was built on the foundations of its predecessor. You'll note that the two towers, added in the early 15th century, are of different heights. Legend has it that they were built by two brothers, one of whom grew jealous of the other's work and slew him with a sword. You can still see the supposed murder weapon, hanging in the gate of the Sukiennice.

From the higher tower, a strange bugle call—known as the "Hejnał Mariacki"—rings out to mark each hour. It breaks off on an abrupt sobbing note to commemorate an unknown bugler struck in the throat by a Tartar arrow as he was playing his call to warn the city of imminent attack. The church's main showpiece is the magnificent wooden altarpiece with more than 200 carved figures, the work of the 15th-century artist Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss). The panels depict medieval life in detail; the figure in the bottom right-hand corner of the Crucifixion panel is believed to represent Stwosz himself.

Sight Information

Address:

Rynek Główny, tourist entrance from side of plac Mariacki, Kraków, Małopolska, Poland

Sight Details:

  • Church free, altar zł 10
  • Altar Mon.–Sat. 11:30–6, Sun. 2–6

Published 01/21/2016

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