Architecture Around the World ......................Poland - Table of Contents

South façade, Wawel Cathedral
Cracow (Krakow), Poland

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

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Right: Renaissance Sigismund's Chapel; left is the Baroque Vasa Chapel

17th century Renaissance style pedimented entrance

14th century Renaissance style pedimented entrance

Acroterion includes religious imagery

Corinthian capital

Built 1619 A.D.


Scroll buttress

Baroque Vasa Chapel ... Renaissance King Sigismund's Chapel

Renaissance King Sigismund's Chapel





Gilded cupola

Gilded cupola

Dragon gargoyle

Renaissance King Sigismund's Chapel

Wawel Cathedral the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Stanislaw and Vaclav - and Castle stand on Wawel Hill, a 15-acre rocky limestone outcropping on the banks of the Vistula River, dominating Old Town Krakow. The hill is a natural point for fortification on the otherwise flat Vistula Plain.

In the 8th century Wawel Hill was topped with a tribal stronghold; since the 10th century it has hosted a royal residence and the seat of the bishops of Kraków. From 1037, when Kraków became the capital of Poland, Polish kings were crowned and buried in Wawel Cathedral.

The present cathedral, the third to stand on this site, was begun in 1320 and completed in 1364. The original austere structure remains mostly unchanged today, save for some Renaissance and Baroque chapels that now huddle up against it.

Two chapels flank the entrance (they were both built as funerary chapels):

Photos and their arrangement © 2008 Chuck LaChiusa
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