Crypts of St. John's Archcathedral, Warsaw

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie

St. John's Archcathedral in Warsaw is a special place as its underground can be considered a pantheon of great Poles. Furthermore, since the walls of the crypt date from the medieval era, it makes sense that these are the most authentic parts of the building.

The Archcathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw has been the most significant temple in Poland's capital since its founding as a collegiate church in the 14th century. It was here that four royal weddings took place: Władysław IV Vasa with Cecilia Renata (1637), Władysław IV Vasa with Ludwika Maria Gonzaga (1646), John II Casimir Vasa with Ludwika Maria Gonzaga (1649), and John III Sobieski with Maria Kazimiera d Arquien (1665), as well as four coronations for Queen Cecylia Renata (1637), Queen Eleanor Habsburg (1670), Stanislaus I and Katarzyna Opalińska (1705), and Stanisław II August (1764).

During the interwar period, the crypts of the cathedral were unified because the cathedral lacked a basement. After a 1972 renovation (which included a new stone floor and decorative metal grilles), the underground was open to visitors.

Visitors who enter the cathedral underground may hear the "wind of history" that once delighted Henryk Sienkiewicz, a Polish journalist, novelist, and Nobel Prize laureate. One of the crypts has his cremated remains, which have been there since the fall of 1924.

Other well-known Poles buried in St. John's Archcathedral crypts include Stanisław August Poniatowski, Poland's last king, Mazovia dukes Janusz I the Elder and his grandson Bolesław III, composer and Prime Minister of Poland Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the first President of Poland Gabriel Narutowicz, and Ignacy Mościcki, Poland's longest-serving President, and Józef Glemp, Cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please read the policy page.

Warsaw Map

St. John's Archcathedral: A Brief History

1339 is the earliest documented date for Warsaw's John's Archcathedral. At that time, the parish church became the place of Pope Benedict XII's delegates' court, whose verdict ordered the Teutonic Knights to return the plunder lands to Poland and pay compensation.

In 1406 Pope Boniface IX elevated the Warsaw parish church to the status of a collegiate church. Zygmunt III rebuilt the tower in Baroque style after it collapsed during a hurricane in 1606.

1798 marked the church's elevation to cathedral status, followed by 1817 by archcathedral designation. Between 1836 and 1840, Polish architect Adam Idkowski renovated the building in Neo-Gothic style.

Sadly, during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the cathedral's ornate interior was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombs and artillery fire. St. John's Archcathedral, like the rest of the Old Town, was rebuilt following the war. The building is Gothic in style. In 1980, UNESCO inscribed Warsaw Old Town on the list of World Cultural Heritage Sites.

Warsaw's St. John's Archcathedral Crypts in Pictures

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
A Vasa family child's sarcophagus (17th century)
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Reconstruction of the burial of a baby from the royal Vasa family (17th century)
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Reconstruction of the burial of a small child in a burial dress with garlands
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Reconstruction of the burial of a bishop in pontifical dress 
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
The Gothic chapel
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Sarcophagus containing the ashes of Stanislaw II August, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (18th century)
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Warsaw Archbishops' Crypt
Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
The grave of Gabriel Narutowicz, Poland's first president (20th century)

How to Get to St. John's Archcathedral

St. John's Archcathedral stands in the Old Town of Warsaw, on Świętojańska Street, connecting the Market Square and the Castle Square. The crypts' entrance is close to the end of the left aisle, near the Baryczka family chapel. 

Address: Świętojańska 8, 00-278 Warsaw
Official website: Archikatedra Warszawska 

Public Transportation

Bus (lines 160, 190): Stare Miasto 02 
Tram (line 4,13,20,23, 26): Stare Miasto 02

Renting a Car – a leader in online car rental reservations – is the best site to book a car in Warsaw. They compare car rental deals from many companies so you can choose what works best for you. 

Opening Hours & Ticket Prices

St. John's Archcathedral

7 am to 7 pm
8 am to 9 pm

Entry is free.

Crypts of St. John's Archcathedral

10 am to 5 pm 
3 am to 5 pm

During holy masses, services, and celebrations, the crypts are closed.

The regular price is 5 PLN. For groups of ten or more, the price is 4 PLN per person. Students, children, youths, retirees, and veterans pay 3 PLN. For a family of two adults and up to three kids, the price is 11 PLN.

Where to Stay in Warsaw offers over 2000 homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay in Warsaw.

According to this online travel agency for lodging reservations, some of the most popular hotels in Warsaw include NYX Hotel Warsaw by Leonardo Hotels, Holiday Inn Express - Warsaw - The HUB, an IHG Hotel, and PURO Warszawa Centrum.