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Royal Tombs at Krakow Cathedral

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Wawel Cathedral's Crypt of St. Leonard
St. Leonard's crypt dates from the 11th century.

Royal tombs of the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow 

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. 

Most 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 and the crypt of Marshal Pilsudski at the Krakow Cathedral
Vestibule of the Marshal Pilsudski crypt at the Krakow Cathedral.

In 2010 President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were buried in the vestibule of the Wawel Cathedral's Marshal Pilsudski crypt, which created considerable controversy at the time. 

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 Chopin. 

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
Tadeusz Kosciuszko's sarcophagus dates from 1818.


Regular ticket price to the WAWEL CATHEDRAL
(plus the Zygmunt Bell and the Royal Tombs)
is an equivalent of about 2.5 euro
Monday-Saturday open to tourists 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 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 May 1 through September from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. and since October through April 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, December 31, January 1, Easter Sunday and Monday, November 1 and November 11.

The following are permanent exhibitions on the Wawel Hill:
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. 
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

Krakow in Poland

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..

Great Bell
Giant Zygmunt bell is a third heavier and 350 years older than its famed London cousin, the Big Ben.

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.

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