Church of St. Peter and Paul, Krakow’s Original Baroque Marvel
Situated on the throbbing artery of Ulica Grodzka at the midpoint between Krakow’s Market Square and Wawel Castle, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul (Polish: Kościół ŚŚ Piotra i Pawła w Krakowie) is one of the most unforgettable churches in a city with no shortage of awe-inspiring places of worship. Completed in 1619, The Church of Saints Peter and Paul was Krakow’s first church built in the baroque style, and although various dangers have threatened it throughout its four centuries of history – from political and religious partitioning to acid rain – its brick-and-marble façade, which features life-size statues of the Twelve Apostles, remains a beacon for Krakow’s tourists, live music-lovers, and worshippers.
Originally commissioned by King Zygmunt III as a Jesuit church, construction began on The Church of Saints Peter and Paul in 1597. The original design was made by Italian architect Giovanni de Rossi, but was later modified by others, including Józef Britius, Giovanni Battista Trevano, and Giovanni Maria Bernardoni (who was also a Jesuit monk). Local legend tells that the Jesuits spent so much on the white dolomite façade that they had to finish the rear segment of the church in brick. The interior, too, shows no spared expense, featuring a lavish, gold-inlaid altar rising into a dome bedecked with hand-carved stucco. The church interior holds the tombs of several well-regarded Polish priests and their benefactors, including Bishop Andrzej Trzebicki, the Branicki family, and Polish Jesuit Piotr Skarga, and is home to weekly demonstrations of the longest Foucault’s Pendulum in Poland. Alas, the statues of the Twelve Apostles that adorn the front gate of the church are replicas – the 18th century originals were destroyed.
The church hosts classical music concerts every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8 PM from May through October, performed by the Cracow Chamber Orchestra of St Maurice and featuring pieces by such composers as Vivaldi, Chopin, Bach, and Mozart. Audio tours of the church are available for a voluntary contribution.
Images by Hannah Bialic for Absolute Tours
Church of St. Peter and Paul Info
Address: Grodzka 54, 31-044 Kraków, Poland
Map ref: 50.0569321, 19.938603
Opening hours: More info about concerts can be found here.
Costs: Concert tickets are 60 PLN for general admissions. Discount tickets are 40 PLN. Entry is free for worshippers. Voluntary contributions may be given for audio tours.
Best time to see it: Daytime