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St. Mary's Basilica, Krakow

Categories: Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.7/5 based on 3,400+ reviews on the web
Featuring two prominent towers, the red brick St. Mary's Basilica dominates the main square of the city's Old Town. Built in the early 13th century, the church features the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world, carved by German sculptor Veit Stoss. The masterpiece was claimed by the Nazis and moved to Germany during World War II. Recovered and restored after the war, it now sits behind the church's high altar. Admire the bottom of the central panel, which depicts the death of Jesus' mother. On the hour, you can hear the trumpet signal play from the top of the taller tower. Using our international travel planner, Krakow attractions like St. Mary's Basilica can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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  • A trumpeteer announces the hour atop the steeple and waves to the crowds below. The history of the trumpeteer is a wonderful tale. 
  • Very beautiful church, the word superfluous, but if briefly. Has an interesting history, open to all, beautiful ceilings and, in General, an interesting atmosphere.
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  • I think it's among the most beautiful churches I have ever seen! I recommend looking at the ceiling which is magnificent
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  • Worth a visit if you want to pray (free), not such a good visit if you are a keen photographer. If you are carrying a camera, several lenses and a tripod it is obvious to most, even a servant of god, that you are not there to pray, so with this in mind, I was happy to confess my sins in that I had no intention of praying but every intention of photographing. So we approached the inner guard brandishing our 10 Zloty note whilst carrying all our camera gear. He refused to take it and pointed us in the direction of the ticket office which was, for some strange reason, in another building, (God works in mysterious ways). They took one look at me with all my camera gear and tripod and happily accepted my money in return for a ticket. We then made our way back to the cathedral and, along with all my camera gear and tripod, we were let in. Once in, I chose my spot for the photograph and unslung my camera, only to be apprehended by the church police who informed me that I needed a photography ticket, I showed him my ticket and was told that it was a visitors ticket, to photograph, we would need a photographers sticker each that, conveniently, he could provide for a further 5 Zlotys. This was duly paid and, sporting my new sticker, I set about extending my tripod. “NO” said the padre provo, “No tripods”. “But I have just paid to photograph your church”, I pleaded, “How can I photograph in here without a tripod?” “No tripods and no flash”, came his reply. So 10 Zlotys to get in, a further 5 Zlotys to get a photographers sticker and ‘after’ taking your money, they inform you that you cannot use a tripod or flash, effectively saying that you cannot take a photograph. I tried my best to keep my camera steady, assuming that they would not have appreciated my using one of their lecterns as a makeshift tripod when, ten minutes in, a further clergy cop stopped us stating that our visit was over as they were setting up for the religious equivalent of a happy hour. Why could they not have told us, whilst taking our 10 Zlotys that we could not take photos or use tripods? It was obvious to all that we had cameras and tripod. Why could they not tell us, whilst taking a further 5 Zlotys for a photography pass, that it was pointless, as you cannot use a tripod or flash, he knew I had a tripod, I had to put it down to get to to my money to pay him? Answer: They would have lost the 15 Zlotys (30 as there were two of us), that they conned us out of! Such a shame that the church is so greedy - by this time we were 30 Zlotys in, I would have (albeit begrudgingly), paid more for the tripod as the shot is ruined without it, but no permission was forthcoming. What is the problem with a tripod?
  • One can visit the Tower and if you time your visit well, one can even witness the trumpeting close-up. Anyway, read about the legend of the trumpeting and why it ends abruptly. Very interesting tale.
  • Another beautiful Basilica that you should visit when in Old Town Krakow, the blue starred ceiling and wooden alter that took 12 years to make is stunning, also it is worth waiting to hear the bugle call ( hejnat marichi ) every hour.
  • If you have the endurance to take on hundreds of stairs, then you MUST go to the top of the tower. It's quite cheap to get in, and you'll be able to see Kraków from the top. It's worth to see the view after climbing to the top.
  • Stunning cathedral representative of the deep Catholic history of the people of Kraków. There is currently a countdown to World Youth Day to be held in Kraków in 2016. Youths from around the world will come to pray with Pope Francis when he visits the city, the hometown of Pope John Paul II when he was a Bishop. Tourists must take a photo here to keep their memories of their visit to Kraków.
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