History Of St. Mary’s Basilica

About St Mary’s Basilica

One of the most popular and most visited monuments in Krakow, this structure is one of the oldest monuments in Poland, and the St. Mary’s Basilica history is witness to the same. With foundation stones being laid as early as the 13th century, the architecture of this structure is a must-view, and the building is filled with a total of 11 chapels.You can even experience the bugle call from the Basilica, and also can listen to the echoes of bells of St. Mary, which is audible throughout the town. The history of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow narrates the additions and reconstructions this monument went through, and you can view the same upon your visit. Located in the main square, the St Mary's church towers of this church provide a clear view of the Krakow city.

Some of the famous personalities to work on this museum include Veit Stoss, whose work can be seen on the popular wooden carving, which took 12 years to design. The St. Mary’s Basilica is also a great place to indulge in a stroll, since the historical monument also houses some gardens and walking areas. This is one of the best place to visit when with family.

History Of St. Mary’s Basilica

The history of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow, dates back to the early 13th century, when the foundation stones for this structure were laid. Later on, several modifications, and reconstruction work took place, making up for significant parts of the St. Mary’s Basilica history, during the 14th, 18th, and 19th century altogether.

13th Century

The history of St. Mary’s Basilica dates back to the 13th century, and it was built on the foundations of a Romanesque church, which was destroyed when the Mongol invaded Poland. Around the year 1320, the St. Mary’s temple was consecrated. This church underwent several changes and modifications, until, between the year 1355 and 1365, the structure was reconstructed into a spectacular Gothic monument. A significant contribution was given by Mikolaj Wierzynek, who was a wealthy burgher. Moreover, with the addition of stained, tall glass windows, the Gothic architecture of the church stood out distinctly.

14th Century

During the 14th century, the St. Mary’s Basilica was adorned with the single-aisle presbytery, and this period was a significant part of the history of St. Mary’s Basilica. It was during this period, one could find light coming through the highly stained windows. However, only three of them are left now, while the rest of them were crafted by Stanistaw Wyspainski and Jozef Mehoffer, during the late 19th century.

During the years 1477-1489, the main altar was brought to the church. This altar was sculpted by Velt Stoss, and is known to be a famous gothic masterpiece. During the late 14th century, the St. Mary’s Basilica history witnesses the church taking the form of Basilica, with the side aisles being shorter than the main aisle, and the church body under the rib vault.

18th Century

In the 18th century, the history of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow witnessed the church being adorned with Baroque aesthetics. This grand work was supervised by Franceso Placidi, who is also known to create the Baroque galilee during the mid of 18th century. This galilee leads straight to the church, and was a significant addition in the St. Mary’s Basilica history, both architecturally, and politically. Since the church was decorated with open work on its tower, it was believed that this church is a replica of the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

19th Century

The 19th century comes with further modification to the St. Mary’s Basilica history, with the addition of the door of Galilee, made up of wood, and sculpted figures of prophets, apostles, and the saints from Poland, created in 1929, by artist Karol Kukan. Now known as St. Mary’s Square, this area in the history of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow was initially the church cemetery and was deconstructed in the early 19th century. Moreover, massive rebuilding and restoration was followed up by Tadeusz Stryjenski, and the church was decorated with newly painted designs and crafts by Jan Matejko. When visiting the vault, you can notice that it resembles a star-filled night sky, while the paintings are mostly ornamental and heraldic in themes.

St. Mary’s Basilica During World War II

The Altar of Veit Stoss during the war

As the war was ongoing, during the year 1939, one of the most valuable artefact of the St. Mary’s Basilica history, the Altar of Veit Stoss was brought down. The ornamental paintings and objects were hidden in Krakow, while the statues were sent to Sandomierz.

Stolen Works of Art

NIne of the most exquisite paintings by the German painter Hans Suess von Kulmbach were stolen by Nazis,and it is one of the worst times of the St. Mary’s Basilica history.

Missing works of Art

Some of the most renowned works of art from the St. Mary’s Basilica including the Michael Lancz von Kitzingen, Conversion of the Empress, Execution of the Empress, and many more went missing. These paintings were a significant part of the history of St. Mary’s Basilica, and were mostly dedicated to the church.

History Of St. Mary’s Basilica FAQs

How old is St. Mary’s Basilica?

The St. Mary’s Basilica history starts in the 13th century, making it at least seven centuries old, almost 675 years since it was constructed. The foundation stones were laid in the early 13th century, while the construction began during the 14th century.

Who built St. Mary’s Basilica?

The St. Mary’s Basilica was built by few eminent individuals, including Veit Stoss, who is known for carving out the famous wooden altarpiece, and Jan matejko, one of the most famous history painter from Poland, who is known to have carved out the polychrome murals on St. Mary’s Basilica.

How many Chapels are there in St. Mary’s Basilica?

The St. Mary’s Basilica is adorned with 11 chapels, each of it having its own history, since most of them were added with certain gaps in time periods, giving shape to the present day St. Mary’s Basilica history.

What is the best time to visit St. Mary’s Basilica?

The best time to visit St. Mary’s Basilica is during the early hours to avoid rush, as this church is a popular spot to stroll by in the evenings. It is also recommended to check the church timings beforehand in order to avoid any confusion.

Where is St. Mary’s Basilica located?

The St. Mary’s Basilica is located in Krakow city. Address: plac Mariacki 5, 3-042 Krakow, Poland

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