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The Skalka Sanctuary in Krakow 

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Skalka sanctuary in Krakow

Skalka, Krakow's oldest shrine. 

Poland's second holiest sanctuary after the Jasna Gora monastery of Czestochowa lies mostly undisturbed by visitors a five minutes' walk down the Vistula river from the Wawel Royal Castle which swarms with tourists.

Here, on a rocky hillock called Skalka, once stood a rotunda church, where king Boleslav II the Bold put to death Krakow bishop Stanislav in 1079. The king was exiled and the late bishop worshiped as a martyr who had exposed excesses of the tyrannical monarch. In 1253 bishop Stanislav was canonized to become the chief patron saint of Poland. Throughout the Middle Ages his cult was pivotal in forming both Polish nation and the country's political culture with its tradition of the accountability of those in power. And Poland’s kings-elects had to come to the Skalka Sanctuary on their coronation to atone for the sins of the predecessors.

pilgrim guide to Krakow

The Christian pilgrim's guide to Krakow

The present splendid Baroque church of the mid 18th century is the fourth on the site. Nevertheless visitors can still see three dark spots of St. Stanislav's blood on the church wall. Since the 1880s some Polish most illustrious luminaries were posthumously awarded with ceremonial burial in its crypt that is open to the public. The church adjoins a 17th-century Pauline monastery modeled on a Renaissance castle.

Every year on St. Stanislav’s day, May 8, major religious procession led by Krakow bishops gathers Polish notables and immense crowds of the faithful when the saint’s relics are carried from the Skalka sanctuary to the Wawel Cathedral.

St. Stanislaw in the 14th-century stain-glass window
The 14th-century stained-glass window depicts St. Stanislaw

Sanctuary of Divine Mercy
Humble nun’s visions in the 1930s gave rise to a world-wide spiritual movement inside the Catholic Church, ever stronger nowadays, with the center in her Krakow convent.

John Paul II sanctuary

Tyniec Abbey
Hilltop monastery-fortress dates from the 11th century.

Bielany Monastery
Magnificent 17th-century Baroque hermitage complex atop the Silver Mountain hovers over Krakow.

St. Norbert's Convent
Vast fortified complex on the Vistula river is home to Krakow’s once powerful Premonstratensian Sisters since the 12th century.

Cistercian Abbey of Mogila
Mogila Abbey dates back to 1225 and counts among Krakow's most interesting monasteries.

Jasna Gora Sanctuary in Czestochowa is the holiest place of Poland and one of the world’s most important destinations for pilgrims.

With its 42 Baroque churches and chapels of all shapes and sizes in addition to the central basilica and the Franciscan monastery, the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska sanctuary is Europe's biggest Calvary shrine.

Krakow churches
Krakow numerous churches are architectural gems, art hoards, and spiritual hubs

Pilgrimage sites in Krakow

Wawel Cathedral
Poland's impressive national shrine dates from the 14th century and shelters plenty of superb church art. The
Sigismund Chapel is a masterpiece of the Renaissance art and architecture. Giant Zygmunt bell of 1520 ranks with the world's largest. Most Polish kings are buried here together with the greatest national heroes.

Basilica of the Virgin Mary's
Immense Gothic church, the city of Krakow's principal temple since the 13th century, boasts the world's
greatest Gothic sculpture among its many excellent works of art. Huge stained-glass widows of the chancel date from the 14th century.

In the footsteps of Pope John Paul II

Roman Catholic Church
Sunday Masses



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