Secrets of the Wawel Cathedral

The Archcathedral Basilica of Saint Stanislaus and Saint Wenceslas, also known as the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, is one of the most important sanctuaries in Poland. This monumental work of Gothic architecture impresses not only with its beautiful facade, but also hides secrets, which makes it worth exploring its history.

It is not only a coronation place, but also a burial place for many outstanding figures. Kings, queens, saints, poets and national heroes found their final resting place under the walls of Wawel Cathedral. It was here that the coronations of almost all kings took place, and each of their steps on Wawel constituted an important chapter in the history of Poland.

The history of Wawel Cathedral dates back to the 12th century, and its architectural evolution is a testimony to the changes and events of the past centuries. We are transported to a world where every detail hides a story. Visiting this extraordinary place is not only a journey back in time, but also a deeper understanding of Poland’s rich culture and heritage.

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Crypts of Wawel Cathedral

Entering the mysterious nooks of the Wawel Cathedral, we discover fascinating and mysterious crypts, which are not only the final resting place, but also the pantheon of great Polish figures. Each crypt is a separate story.

Crypt of St. Leonardo, one of the best-preserved Romanesque interiors in Poland. Figures such as King John III Sobieski, Prince Józef Poniatowski, Tadeusz Kościuszko and Władysław Sikorski are buried here.

Stefan Batory’s crypt, where work on the tin sarcophagus lasted for a year and a half, which is now a memorial site for this outstanding ruler.

The crypt of the Władysław IV family, where members of the Vasa family are buried, including King Władysław IV Vasa, Queen Cecilia Renata, Prince Sigismund Kazimierz Vasa and Princess Anna Maria Izabela.

Sigismund’s Crypt, where King Sigismund the Old intended a place for his family. Among those buried are King Sigismund II Augustus, Queen Anna Jagiellon, Queen Anna of Austria and Prince Alexander Karol Vasa.

The crypt of Sigismund the Old, adjacent to the previous one, is the final resting place for King Sigismund I the Old and his son Olbracht. Bartolommeo Berrecci designed a sarcophagus decorated with a medallion, which today tempts with its historical beauty.

Under the Tower of Silver Bells there is another crypt, where King Sigismund III Vasa, Queen Constance of Austria, Cardinal John Albert Vasa, Queen Louis Maria Gonzaga, King John Casimir Vasa and Prince John Sigismund Vasa rest.

The last crypt under the Silver Bell Tower was designed by Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz. It was here that Marshal Józef Piłsudski found his final resting place, transferred from the Crypt of St. Leonard.

It is worth noting that in the vestibule of this crypt are also buried President Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, who died in a plane crash in Smolensk.

Secrets of Wawel Cathedral – Wawel Dragon

Following the Legend

Near the crypts where outstanding figures are buried, we also find a fascinating trace of the legend – the Wawel Dragon. It is said that Wawel was once a place where a powerful dragon lived, terrorizing the local residents. Although it is hard to believe from a scientific point of view, this dragon certainly leaves its traces in the history of the cathedral. Legend has it that the bones hanging next to the entrance to the cathedral belong to the Dragon. According to the story, when the bones fall to the ground, Wawel Hill will disappear under the surface of the earth and the end of the world will be inevitable.

Did the dragon really exist?

According to folklore, the Wawel Dragon was a menacing beast terrorizing the city, devouring livestock and demanding sacrifices from the people of Krakow. Fear gripped the land until one day, a clever shoemaker named Skuba devised a plan to vanquish the dragon and save the city. The victory over the Wawel Dragon became a symbol of Krakow’s resilience and ingenuity. To this day, the legend is celebrated annually during the Dragon Parade, where locals reenact the tale with colorful costumes and performances.

The Wawel Dragon has left an indelible mark on Krakow’s culture and identity. Its likeness adorns souvenirs, artwork, and even the iconic Wawel Dragon statue, which stands proudly near the entrance to the dragon’s den.

We invite you to discover this extraordinary story about the dragon with a guide who will lead you through the nooks and crannies of the Wawel Cathedral and explain the history of the Dragon.

Guided tours

Wandering through the nooks and crannies of Wawel Cathedral, we discover not only its architectural beauty, but also the secrets written within its walls. However, to fully understand and appreciate every side of this unique place, it is worth taking a guided tour.

A guided tour is a unique opportunity to learn not only historical facts, but also anecdotes, secrets and contexts that create a fascinating mosaic of the past.

Moreover, to facilitate access to this place, it is possible to purchase tickets online. This is a convenient solution that allows you to plan your sightseeing in advance, avoiding long queues.

We encourage you to use this option to focus on a full and deeper immersion in the mysteries of Wawel Cathedral, whose history, legendary figures and dragon tales constitute Poland’s true heritage.

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