Faith helped to shaped the urban landscape of Krakow and its streets are filled with architectural masterpieces of ecclesiastical history. The physical embodiments of over 1,000 years of craftsmanship and art, these amazing churches are all worth a pilgrimage.
The Kazimierz high monastery, Corpus Christi Basilica is attributed to the Gothic style and upholds a dazzling interior of iconic Baroque splendor. Notable is its structure that is a mismatch of different eras, yet combines the red brick pointed arches and tall towers typical of the region with several sided chapels on the outside.
Looking over the Market Square in Krakow, St. Mary’s Basilica is a sumptuous church from the 13th century. The overall chapel has the brick structure in a Gothic style and its ravishing interior bears changes over time, from the 18th century adornments in a Baroque style to wooden carvings from an earlier age.
The eminent architect and sculptor Bartolomeo Berrecci designed this chapel at the beginning of the 16th century, in a ravishing Tuscan Renaissance style to serve King Sigismund I the Old as a mausoleum. The chapel encapsulates several architectural styles and had been rebuilt over centuries since its first foundation. Nowadays, the central dome illustrates the complexity of its history, bearing witness to coronations, celebrations and funerals alike.
Having settled in Krakow at the beginning of the 18th century, the Piarist order, known for their free Catholic educational activity for poor children, rose this lavish Baroque structure now located on Pijarska. The Piarist fathers have maintained their educational classes inside the church, as well as through the college that stands beside it.
The Roman Catholic Saints Peter and Paul Church is the first intact ecclesiastical structure of Baroque origin in the town. The striking façade cannot go without mentioning as it captures the Jesuit statues sculpted by Dawid Heel that guard the gates. The ravishing interior, meanwhile, adorned with stucco, is the work of Italian Giovanni Battista Falconi, and the magnificent altar touching the ceiling is designed by the Polish Baroque architect Kacper Bażanka.
Known also by the name of the Church of St. Adalbert, this petite church stands on rectangular stones, its foundation dating back to the 10th century. Practically in the middle of the market square, its curious position is because it preceded the current Market Square. The church is one of the oldest ecclesiastical buildings in Europe.
One of the more modern architectural structures in Krakow, The Lord’s Ark church is a contemporary symbol of the ecumenical role, as it was used, since its construction in 1967, for demonstrations and political activities that were advocating human rights during the communist times. Its design resembles Le Corbusier’s Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp.