Church of St Peter and Paul, Krakow’s Original Baroque Marvel
Introduction to Church of St Peter and Paul
You’ll find the Church of St Peter and Paul (Polish: Kościół ŚŚ Piotra i Pawła w Krakowie) on the busy street of Ulica Grodzka at the midpoint between Krakow’s Market Square and Wawel Castle. As you’ll see, it is one of the most unforgettable churches in a city. And, let’s face it, Krakow has no shortage of awe-inspiring places of worship. Finishing in 1619, the Church of St Peter and Paul was Krakow’s first church in the Baroque style.
Originally the church was by King Zygmunt III with the idea of a Jesuit place of worship, and with construction beginning in 1597. The first design was by Italian architect Giovanni de Rossi. With the passing of time, other architects added their important modifications. Those included Józef Britius, Giovanni Battista Trevano, and Giovanni Maria Bernardoni (who was also a Jesuit monk). A local legend tells of the Jesuits spending so much money on the white dolomite façade that they had no choice but to finish the rear part of the church in brick. As a result if you take a look inside you’ll see that with the interior, money was certainly no object. Also you’ll find this wonderful interior features a lavish, gold-inlaid altar rising into a dome bedecked with hand-carved stucco. In addition the church interior holds the tombs of several well-regarded Polish priests and their benefactors. Amongst these is Bishop Andrzej Trzebicki, the Branicki family, and Polish Jesuit Piotr Skarga.
For a relaxing end to a busy day you should attend one of the church’s classical music concerts. They take place every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the evening at 8. These concert performances go from May through to October. Performing them is the Krakow Chamber Orchestra of St Maurice. With the evening light fading, these concerts often feature pieces by such composers as Vivaldi, Chopin, Bach, and Mozart. If you choose, audio tours of the church are available for a voluntary contribution. Furthermore it’s also home to weekly demonstrations of the longest Foucault’s Pendulum in Poland. Sorry to say, but the wonderful statues of the Twelve Apostles that adorn the front gate of the church are replicas. Sadly, the 18th century originals were destroyed.
Most of all keep in mind that many dangers have threatened it throughout its four centuries of history. Some from political and religious partitioning and some even due to acid rain. The brick and marble facade features life-size statues of the Twelve Apostles. In conclusion, the Church remains a beacon for Krakow’s tourists, live music-lovers, and worshipers.
Images by Hannah Bialic for Absolute Tours
Church of St. Peter and Paul Information
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 are welcome for audio tours.
Best time to see it: Daytime
Remember that if you take a guided tour, you’ll be able to ask questions and will end up with a much deeper understanding of it’s history.