Church of St Andrew: A stronghold of the Lord and a sanctuary for the people of Krakow.
The Church of St Andrew, also known as the Church of the Clares, is one of the oldest and most significant temples in Krakow. Located in the famous Grodzka Street, you could easily pass by it unknowingly, on the the way from the Main Square to the Wawel Castle, as this church is one of the most forgotten and invisible places of worship in Krakow.
The church was built between 1079 and 1098 during the reign of duke Wladyslaw I Herman and was founded either by the duke himself or by his palatine Sieciech. Originally the temple was probably devoted to St. Gilles, whose cult was brought to Poland and popularized by Herman’s first wife, duchess Judith of Bohemia. The devotion to St. Andrew came about in the first half of the XIII cent.
The temple was wisely constructed with elements of a stronghold alongside its clerical design, , to be used in the event of hostile attack on Krakow. The reason for this was the fact that the church was situated outside the city walls, on the way from the city to Wawel Castle. The church served as a sanctuary for the inhabitants of Krakow several times, especially in 1241 and 1259 during the Mongol invasions of Poland, when the city was burnt to the ground. Each time the temple and the people inside survived the siege and were the first ones to rebuild the city after the end of the invasions.
In 1320 king Wladyslaw I the Elbow-High, probably under the strong influence of his wife Jadwiga, passed the church to the Clares and organised a convent next door to it. Repeatedly redeveloped and adapted to the then architectural styles, after WWII the church was partially restored to its original appearance.
Church of St. Andrew Info
Address: Grodzka 54, 31-044 Krakow.
Map ref: 50.056586, 19.938454
Opening hours: Every day from dawn till dusk. Mass: Sundays and holidays 7am, 10am.
More information: http://www.klaryski.pl/ [page under reconstruction]
Images by Mateusz Świercz for Absolute Tours