Also known as the 'Church on the Rock", this gorgeous riverside sanctuary is one of the most important religious sites in Poland. It is here - or, rather, the Romanesque church that stood here - that the Bishop of Krakow, Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanow
, was beheaded on the orders of King Boleslaw II, shortly after, the king was in exile, and the royal family fell under a curse. To appease the spirit of the wronged bishop, the family rebuilt the church and made a pilgrimage every year here to the Wawel,
to atone for the murder - a tradition that continues to this day, every May 8. Since 1472, a monastic order of Pauline Fathers resided at Skalka, and in the 18th century, the church received a Baroque refurb, which lingers to this day. Stanislaw was canonized in 1253, to become the patron saint not only of Krakow
, but in Poland
. Inside, an altar marks the spot where he was killed and includes the wood stump on which he is said to have been cut into quarters. The swimming pool where his body was lifted even standing outside of the church, elegantly decorated with a sculpture of the saint, from the 17th century, and the waters bubbling of the fountain there is said to have healing properties. In 2008, the"Three Millennia Altar
was built in the courtyard of the church, controversial to destroy both the intimate atmosphere of this religious site (it's ugly), the outdoor altar has four metres of monuments in Saint-Stanislas
, Saint Jean-Paul II
, St. Faustina
, St. Jadwiga
, St. Adalbert, St. Jan Kanty, and the Abbot Augustus Kordecki. The crypt at Skalka
(same opening hours as the church, except from December to February, when it is open by appointment only) is also a national pantheon to distinguish between the Poles, and includes the remains of the composer Karol Szymanowski, writer Czeslaw Milosz
, painters Stanislaw Wyspianski
and Jacek Malczewski, among others.
Church of St Michael the Archangel and St Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr and Pauline Fathers Monastery
, which means "a small rock" in Polish, is a small outcrop in Krakow where the Bishop of Krakow saint Stanislaus of Szczepanow was slain by order of Polish king Boleslaw II the Bold in 1079. This action resulted in the king's exile and the eventual canonization of the slain bishop.