St. Leonard's crypt dates from the 11th c.
of the Wawel Cathedral in
Whereas Poland's medieval monarchs were
buried under the floor of the Wawel Cathedral below their
sarcophagi, those of the l6th, the 17th and the
18th centuries were laid to rest in its crypts.
That innovation, too, was introduced by King
Sigismund I the Old. In 1533 he transferred the
body of his first wife to a purpose-built vault
underneath the brand-new exquisite chapel named
after him later on. He joined her in 1548.
crypts of the Wawel Cathedral date back to the
l6th and the 17th century and they entomb ten
Polish monarchs together with their spouses and
occasionally children. Then the nation's greatest war heroes were honored with the burial in the
Cathedral's vaults – Prince Jozef Poniatowski
in 1817, Tadeusz Kosciuszko in 1818, Marshal
Jozef Pilsudski in 1935, and General
Wladyslaw Sikorski in 1993.
Vestibule of the Marshal Pilsudski
crypt at the Krakow Cathedral.
2010 President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were buried
in the vestibule of the Wawel Cathedral's Marshal Pilsudski crypt, which created
The remains of
two 19th-century Polish outstanding poets –
Adam Mickiewicz in 1890 and Juliusz Slowacki in
1927 – were buried in the separate "Bards' Crypt"
which contains also a symbolic tomb of Cyprian Kamil Nowid,
another great poet, and a plaque commemorating Frederic
In 1873 royal crypts
were connected and made open to the public. The
entrance is on the left of the nave in the first
chapel of the north aisle. The tour of the tombs
starts in the vast 11th-century Crypt of St.
Leonard's, considered the best Romanesque
interior in Poland.
Tadeusz Kosciuszko's sarcophagus
dates from 1818.