Royal coronations at Wawel Castle

Historic Royal Coronations in Krakow

Wawel hides within its old walls not only architectural masterpieces, but also the extraordinary history of royal coronations. Ceremonies that became a permanent part of the annals of the Polish monarchy began on this picturesque hill. This place became a witness and participant in ceremonies that shaped the fate of Poland, shaping its history over the centuries. The last act of this extraordinary story also took place here.

Coronation at Wawel

After the unification of all Polish lands and with the consent of the Holy See, on January 20, 1320, Władysławthe Elbow-high became the first monarch crowned at Wawel. This extraordinary event took place in a charming cathedral on a historic hill. It was the first documented royal coronation in Krakow. From that moment on, Wawel became not only the place of coronation, but also the soul of Polish power, a witness to breakthrough moments in our history.
Starting with the first crowned king, Władysław the Elbow-high, subsequent rulers such as Władysław II Jagiełło, Sigismund the Old and John III Sobieski continued this tradition, sealing their power at Wawel. On January 7, 1734, the last royal coronation of Augustus III took place in the Cathedral.

The coronation process

The traditional coronation ceremony included four days of celebrations. Friday and Saturday preceded the coronation day, which fell on Sunday. The coronation ceremonies themselves began with an oath taken by the king, who knelt before the primate. He was asked about serving the faith, defending the Church, just government and defending the Kingdom.
The primate’s anointing of the king with holy oils was a key moment of the ceremony. Then the king received a sword with which he cut the air three times, making the sign of the cross. He was successively given a crown, a scepter and an orb. After the coronation, a holy mass was celebrated, during which the king made an offering of bread and wine and kissed the reliquary of the Holy Cross.
Polish coronation insignia, i.e. the crown, orb, scepter and sword, were symbolic signs of power, dignity and royal status. Today, we can admire these valuable artifacts in the Crown Treasury at Wawel, where they are ceremonially stored.

cloisters at the Wawel Castle

Royal Tombs at Wawel

On Wawel Hill, in the crypts of the Cathedral, there are the graves of kings, queens and distinguished dignitaries, creating a place full of majesty and history. There are crypts in the Cathedral whose beauty and history attract the attention of every visitor. In these underground spaces, the remains of outstanding figures are buried, including John III Sobieski, King Sigismund III Vasa and King Sigismund II Augustus. This is the place where monarchs and their loved ones were buried, gaining eternal memory.

Here are the Crypts located in the Cathedral on Wawel Hill:
Crypt of St. Leonard
Stefan Batory’s crypt
Crypt of the family of Władysław IV
Sigismund’s Crypt
Crypt of Sigismund the Old
Vasa Crypt


Crypt under the Tower of Silver Bells The Royal Tombs are not only the resting place of the ruler, but also a work of sepulchral art. Their decorations, tombstones and sculptures present the richness of Poland’s artistic heritage. Visitors can admire the beauty and detail of the decorations, which often depict figures of the deceased.

wawel royal castle

Wawel within reach

Walking in the footsteps of royal coronations at Wawel, we discover not only the past, but also the beauty and majesty of this unique place. For those who want to immerse themselves in the history of Poland, Wawel becomes an extraordinary journey through the centuries.

Online tickets to visit Wawel facilitate access to this historic complex. In addition to the impressive Cathedral, it is also worth seeing the Royal Castle and the Crown Treasury. These places open the door to fascinating history for visitors. A guided tour can also enrich this journey, revealing not only architectural details, but also hidden nooks and crannies full of extraordinary stories.

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