Wawel Cathedral

Wawel Cathedral
Królewska Bazylika Archikatedralna Św. Stanisława i Wacława na Wawelu
Wawel katedra2.jpg
Wawel Cathedral on Wawel Hill: Sigismund's Chapel (right, with a gold dome) and Vasa Dynasty chapel (to the left)
Basic information
LocationKraków, Poland
Geographic coordinates50°03′17″N 19°56′07″E / 50°03′17″N 19°56′07″E / 50.0546; 19.9354
AffiliationRoman Catholic
ProvinceArchdiocese of Kraków
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusRoyal Arch-cathedral Basilica
StatusActive
Architectural description
Architectural typeChurch
Architectural styleRomanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque
Completed11th century

The Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus on the Wawel Hill (Polish: Królewska Bazylika Archikatedralna śś. Stanisława i Wacława na Wawelu), also known as the Wawel Cathedral (Polish: Katedra Wawelska), is a Roman Catholic church located on Wawel Hill in Kraków, Poland. More than 900 years old, it is the Polish national sanctuary and traditionally has served as coronation site of the Polish monarchs as well as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Kraków. Karol Wojtyla, who in 1978 became Pope John Paul II, the day after his ordination to the priesthood, offered his first Mass as a priest in the Crypt of the Cathedral on 2 November 1946, and was ordained Kraków's auxiliary bishop in the Cathedral on 28 September 1958.[1]

The current, Gothic cathedral, is the third edifice on this site: the first was constructed and destroyed in the 11th century; the second one, constructed in the 12th century, was destroyed by a fire in 1305. The construction of the current one began in the 14th century on the orders of bishop Nanker.

Interior

The Cathedral comprises a nave with aisles, transepts with aisles, a choir with double aisles, and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. The main altar, located in the apse, was founded about 1650 by Bishop Piotr Gembicki and created by Giovanni Battista Gisleni. The altar painting of Crucified Christ by Marcin Blechowski is from the 17th century.[2] Over the main altar stands a tall canopy of black marble supported by four pillars, designed by Giovanni Battista Trevano and Matteo Castelli between 1626 and 1629. Underneath the canopy is placed a silver coffin of national patron saint St. Stanislaus (Stanisław) created between 1669-1671 after the previous one (donated in 1512 by King Sigismund I the Old) was stolen by the Swedes in 1655.[3]

The main gilded altar established in about 1650
Cenotaph of king Władysław of Varna
Sarcophagus of St. Stanislaus
Sacristy
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