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Giant Sigismund Bell of Krakow 

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Sigismund Bell, painting by Jan Matejko 

Zygmunt Bell - Dzwon Zygmunta in Krakow's Wawel Cathedral

Remember the famous Big Ben's chime? In Krakow you can see, and actually even touch, an equal of the London bell of the Houses of Parliament. Huge Zygmunt (Sigismund) bell, Dzwon Zygmunta in Polish, is nearly 9 feet across too. At the same time Krakow’s Big Sig is a third heavier, weighing 18 metric tons. It is also some 350 years older than its English counterpart, having been cast in Krakow in 1520. 

The giant which ranks among the world's largest bells is one of the many attractions of the Wawel Cathedral (Katedra Wawelska) in Krakow. It's decorated with reliefs of St. Stanislav and St. Sigismund as well as the arms of Poland and Lithuania. It was donated to the Wawel Cathedral by Sigismund I the Old, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, when Krakow was the Polish capital. "Big Sig" still is where it was hung in 1521, i.e. at the top of a 14th-century tower turned into the Cathedral's belfry near the Wawel Royal Castle

The beautifully deep toll of the huge Sigismund Bell is heard far away on important Church holidays and at the historic moments for the nation. And it needs the strength of ten men to ring the giant bell every Christmas, New Year Day or Easter Sunday. 

Seeing the Zygmunt Bell and the Wawel Cathedral

Flocks of visitors buy tickets, queue up at the belfry entrance in the Cathedral and climb several flights of stairs of the Wieza Zygmuntowska tower in order to see the famous Zygmunt and, usually, touch its 660-pound clapper. They say the wish then whispered is to materialize soon. Also the view of Krakow from the belfry seems worthwhile. 

Note: Tickets for the Wawel Cathedral including Zygmunt's Bell and the royal crypts are sold at the box office situated in the building opposite the main entrance to the cathedral. 

Ten bells of the Wawel Cathedral

The Wieza Zygmuntowska belfry's four other bells are somewhat smaller and even older as they date from years 1455 to 1514. The Wawel Cathedral has also a second belfry, called the Tower of Silver Bells (Wieza Srebrnych Dzwonow), with five bells as well. 

The layout of the Wawel Cathedral

the layout of the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

Wawel Hill
Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history and culture.

Wawel Cathedral
Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of superb church art.

Wawel Royal Castle
Home to three dynasties of Poland's monarchs. Its stately halls and exquisite chambers are filled with priceless art, best period furniture and rare ancient objects. The collection of the 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries is matchless.

Sigismund Chapel
The pearl of Renaissance architecture and art. Every inch of its ideally proportioned stone walls and dome is covered with fine sculptures..

Royal Tombs
Poland's medieval rulers are buried under their sarcophagi in the Cathedral's nave. Visitors can also see crypts with the tombs of the Renaissance and later monarchs

Black Christ's Crucifix
650-year-old, 13-foot-tall remarkable sculpture of the Savior provided guidance to Queen-Saint Jadwiga in the 14th century and has heard prayers of the faithful ever since.


Other Krakow Curios:
Prettiest Leonardo da Vinci
World's greatest medieval sculpture
Window of awe
Subterranean wonder world
Renaissance pearl
Miraculous images
8-foot golden crown
Signal trump
Nativity beauties
Krakow mummies
Ice-age rhino


   

Regular ticket price to the WAWEL CATHEDRAL
(plus the Zygmunt Bell and the
Royal Tombs)
is a equivalent of about 2.5 euro
Monday-Saturday open to tourists 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
On Sundays and Holidays open to tourists 12.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m.


The Wawel Hill is accessible to visitors daily since April through September from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. and since October through March from 6.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The Royal Castle's arcaded courtyard is off limits half an hour before the closing time. Exhibitions in the Royal Castle are closed on Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, November 1 and November 11.


The following are permanent exhibitions of the Wawel Royal Castle:
Royal Chambers (State Rooms) - historical interiors, tapestry collection of Sigismund II Augustus, royal portraits, Italian Renaissance furniture, Italian and Dutch painting of the 14th to 17th century. 
Royal Private Apartments - rooms where the Polish royalty lived, period furniture and art.  
Crown Treasury and Armory
- regalia, jewelry, precious weapons, armors and caparisons; Polish and West European.
Oriental Art - Turkish tents and banners, Turkish and Persian weapons and carpets, Chinese and Japanese ceramics.
The Lost Wawel - archaeological and architectural reserve of the early 11th-century church of St. St. Felix and Adauctus' with surroundings; objects excavated by archeologists on the Wawel Hill; ornate stove tiles of the 16th and 17th century. Plus multimedia presentation of the Wawel Hill's history.
Dragon's Den - big cave said to be the fiery monster's hideout.


Admission terms and fees might be subject to changes. For inquiries and booking please contact the Tourist Service Office (BOT), Wawel 5, 31-001 Kraków, Poland, tel.: (+48 12) 4225155 ext. 291, tel./fax: (+48 12) 4221697

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