Dominican Church

The institution is a department:
Address:
Stolarska 2, 31-000 Kraków

Description

The first Dominicans arrived in Kraków in 1222, brought here by the Bishop Iwo Odrowąż.

The first Dominicans arrived in Kraków in 1222, brought here by the Bishop Iwo Odrowąż. The Dominican ideas were brought to Poland by his two nephews, Jacek (Hyacinth) and Czesław Odrowąż, who he sent with such a mission to the founder of the Order, Dominic de Guzmán. Czesław settled in Wrocław, while Hyacinth – later made a saint – initiated the activities of the Dominicans in Kraków. The Bishop donated to the Dominicans the Romanesque Church of the Holy Trinity, which was most probably the first parish church of Kraków before the city’s Great Charter in 1257. The construction of the new, brick church with three aisles of equal height began in the latter half of the 13th century and continued until the 1330s. After a fire in 1462, the nave was made higher, and crow-stepped parapets were added to the façades of the Church. A trace of the former church – a fragment of the arcaded frieze – remained visible on the side of today’s Planty garden ring; a proof of the height of the former church. By the end of the 15th century, the aisles and chancel received a row of chapels. The stately and rich image of the church was further emphasised by the four domed chapels added in the 17th century: Zbaraski and St Hyacinth’s in the North, and Myszkowski and Lubomirski in the South.

During the great and tragic fire of the city in July 1850, the church suffered irreparable losses: its entire interior was burnt, and nearly all the roof caved in and fell. In the ensuing reconstruction, the church received neo-Gothic furnishing. The burned-out bell-tower standing before the church was replaced by a stylised porch designed by the vicar of the time. The porch is worth entering to see the beautiful 14th-century, Gothic portal decorated with plant ornamentation.

The original elements of the former interior include the stone epitaph of the Prince of Kraków, Leszek the Black, who died around 1288, and the grave tomb of the humanist Filippo Buonacorsi, known as Callimachus (teacher of the sons of King Casimir the Jagiellonian) cast in bronze to a design by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss).

Worth mentioning among the chapels, most of which were saved from the fire, are the early baroque Zbaraski (1627-1633) with alabaster tombs, and the Mannerist Myszkowski Chapel (1603-1614) inside whose dome, there is rich coffering with sculpted busts of members of the family.

A reason for pride in the church is the late-Renaissance chapel of St Hyacinth approached by a flight of marble steps. Standing in the centre of the chapel is an altar and sarcophagus supported by angels with relics of the Saint. The figure of St Hyacinth and the stucco works were made by Baldassare Fontana, the polychrome murals were painted by Karol Dankwart, and the paintings – by Tommaso Dolabella.

The 14th-century Gothic cloister covered with cross-ribbed vaulting is definitely worth a visit. Mounted in the walls are numerous epitaphs, mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries, which were transferred here from the cemetery that used to be adjacent to the church. One of the treasures of the monastery’s treasury is a Gothic alabaster figure of Our Lady with Child from the early 15th century and believed to have belonged to St Hyacinth.

More www.krakow.travel

Date: 2012-04-02 Show ticket
News author: ANNA WAŚKOWSKA
News Publisher: Redakcja MPI
  • Send to a friend
  • Add to favourites