Katedra na Wawelu Kraków
The Wawel Royal Cathedral, Krakow
The cathedral was most likely founded after the establishment of the Krakow bishopric. The church was consecrated in 1142. The oldest fragments of the building that have survived to this day are the crypt of St. Leonard and the lower part of the south tower. The first royal coronation in the cathedral took place in 1320 when Władysław Łokietek was crowned king of Poland. In the same year, the construction of a new, more magnificent, Gothic church began, which was completed in 1364 with its consecration. It is worth adding that during its construction, the first chapels were already built. However, the most important one, the Royal Chapel, now called the Sigismunds Chapel, was built in the first half of the 16th century by order of King Zygmunt I Stary. Many royal tombstones were also built at that time. The 17th century was a major turning point for the cathedral itself. The interior of the church was almost completely changed. There were new altars, tombstones, wall decorations, as well as the addition of other chapels to the exterior. The 18th century brought changes again. The interior became more orderly and took on a late baroque look. When Poland lost its independence, the cathedral became a symbol of Polishness and patriotism. Important celebrations and anniversaries of many historical events took place there. During this period, the first national heroes were buried in the cathedral: Tadeusz Kościuszko and Prince Józef Poniatowski. Other prominent Poles also found a resting place here. At the beginning of the 20th century, the remains of Juliusz Słowacki, Józef Piłsudski and Władysław Sikorski were also buried here. We owe the present appearance of the cathedral to works carried out at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It was then that the royal tombstones of St. Jadwiga and Władysław Warneńczyk were created, new, valuable works of art were placed here and thorough conservation works were carried out.