Saturday, 5 March 2011

Charlie's Holiday in Poland (14) - Krakow's Wawel Cathedral

And so onto the second great complex on the Wawel Hill, its Cathedral. Unlike the castle talked about yesterday, its visitor numbers are not limited, and so you will certainly notice the crowds a lot more than in the castle complex. And just like its Royal neighbor, this is a beautiful building both inside and out!



Again, a massive history to the building. Here's the wiki entry, and here's the official website. The Cathedral is dedicated to St Stanislaus and St Wenceslaus (the same guy from the Christmas carol). For anyone wanting to follow in the steps of Pope John Paul II, it was in the crypt of this Cathedral that he celebrated his first mass and it was in this Cathedral that he would later become the Archbishop of Krakow before his appointment as the Pope.

You could tour this Cathedral in just over two hours, but that would leave very little time to admire the view. Because I was dumb and decided to do both Castle and Cathedral in one day, I was rushed. There is a great museum attached to the Cathedral which I never got to see - nooo! But still, the Cathedral itself was gorgeous and I highly recommend the audio guide that comes with the ticket (for a few Zloty more it is worth it). You see, the history of Wawel reflects a lot of the political history of Poland. If you want to find out more of its history (without reading through the list of incomprehensible names) then this is the place to come. To be blunt, running through this Cathedral was an eye opener because of the amount of information that was visualised. This may be only a church, but the past of Poland is very much intertwined with the building.



Inside, as always, pictures are not allowed as this is an active place of worship. But I highly recommend a jaunt up to the bell tower (included in the admission price). The steps are very rickety and to be honest, the passageway is tight for a tubby six footer like myself. But rest assured, it is a fun part of the Cathedral!



And of course, the views over Krakow from the Bell Tower are impressive!



Practicalities:

Located on the same complex as the Castle, the Cathedral is a lot more accessible with no restriction on visitor numbers. You can enter the main knave for free (as it is a place of worship), but to access the other parts of the building, you need to get a ticket.

It is well worth paying a bit extra for an Audio Guide to the Cathedral - one of the most informative that I have ever used. They usually want some sort of ID as a deposit for safe return. Use your driver's licence, as I would personally hate handing over a passport for this sort of thing.

And take your time. I squeezed the Cathedral into two hours, but never got to see the museum, plus this visit was rushed. Take my advice, you need two days for the Wawel complex!

1 comment:

magiceye said...

very impressive!