Overlooking Main Market Square, this striking brick church, St. Mary's Basilica, is dominated by two towers of different heights. The first church here was built in the 1220s. After Tartar raids in the 13th century left the original church in a heap of ruins, St. Mary’s was rebuilt in Gothic style on the existing foundations and consecrated in 1320.
The main church entrance, through a Baroque portal added to the southwestern facade in the 1750s, is used by worshippers; tourists must enter through the side door to the southeast.
There are several attractions for the tourists in St. Mary's Basilica:
- The magnificent wooden altarpiece was the principal work of 15th century German artist Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz).
- On the opposite side of the church, above the organ loft, is a fine Art Nouveau stained-glass window by Stanisław Wyspiański and Józef Mehoffer.
- The colourful wall paintings, designed by Jan Matejko, harmonise beautifully with the medieval architecture.
The church is available for worship without paying an entry fee via the main entrance. Tourists are asked to use a side entrance, however, and not visit during services. Please check visiting hours.
Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven (also known as Saint Mary's Church; Polish: Kosciol Wniebowziecia Najswietszej Maryi Panny, Kosciol Mariacki) is a Brick Gothic church adjacent to the Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland. Built in the 14th century, its foundations date back to the early 13th century and serve as one of the best examples of Polish Gothic architecture. Standing 80 m (262 ft) tall, it is particularly famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz).
On every hour, a trumpet signal—called the Hejnal mariacki—is played from the top of the taller of Saint Mary's two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. The noon-time hejnal is heard across Poland and abroad broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station.Saint Mary's Basilica also served as an architectural model for many of the churches that were built by the Polish diaspora abroad, particularly those like Saint Michael's and Saint John Cantius in Chicago, designed in the Polish Cathedral style.
The church is familiar to many English-speaking readers from the 1929 book The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly.