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Krakow, Poland: Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Kościół Mariacki)


The story:

This Church plays a central part of the history of Krakow. Four times each day, on the hour, a trumpet signal—called the Hejnał mariacki—is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary’s two towers, and is suddenly cut off before finishing.

This commemorates the occasion in the 13th Century, when the trumpeter was sounding the alarm before a Mongol attack on the city. He was shot in the throat before he could finish. The noon-time hejnał is heard across Poland and abroad, broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station.


About the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krakow:

The Church was destroyed after the invasion and then re-built in the 14th Century.

Architecturally, the church has several unique items The Church houses what is believed to be the world’s largest high gothic altar piece:  The altar of the Dormition of the Mother of God, carved by Veit Stoss, probably Europe’s greatest sculptor of the period, between 1477 and 1489.

It has five wings, composed of the center part with sculptures, a pair of opening internal wings, and a pair of fixed external wings. Both pairs of wings are decorated with reliefs.

The altar piece underwent restoration in the early 21st century, and is now once again available for viewing.

There is a scaled replica of this altar piece in  Saint John Cantius Church in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1491 Veit Stoss also sculptured a stone crucifix that now is part of the late-Baroque altarpiece in the south aisle.

The Church is open daily. Check their website for the Mass schedule. There is an admission fee to see parts of the Church, and, you will need to work around Mass times.

Getting there:

Address: plac Mariacki 5, 31-042 Kraków, Poland

GPS coordinates: 50° 3′ 41.1120” N 19° 56′ 24.1980” E

Tel: +48 12-422-05-21 ext. 21, fax +48 12-421-07-85

e-mail: biuro@mariacki.com

Click here for the offical website of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Krakow.

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