Sts. Peter and Paul Church – Krakow's First Baroque Sacral Building

Baroqur Krakow

With its majestic façade and gorgeous high altar, the Jesuit Church of Saints Peter and Paul is breathtaking. This fine example of Polish Baroque architecture stands out among the sea of Gothic and Romanesque historic buildings in Krakow's Old Town, adding a pleasant and unique touch to any sightseeing trip in the city. The sculptures of the twelve apostles posing outside the gates are, without a doubt, the church's most striking feature.


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Beautifully detailed Baroque Catholic churches fascinate me. Italy, specifically Rome, gave birth to the Baroque in the late 16th century. If I could live in any historical era, I would unquestionably choose the period when the Baroque style of architecture, music, painting, and sculpture flourished in Europe. Glamour, grandeur, splendor, extravagance, and sensuality dominated the atmosphere in European capitals at the time.


Sts. Peter and Paul Church is the first Baroque-style building in Krakow, which architectural design was inspired by several of Rome's Baroque churches, making it very symbolic. It is also the largest of Krakow's churches in terms of seating capacity.


Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Photos

Krakow's Sts. Peter and Paul Church
The church's front façade, with statues in the foreground

Krakow's Sts. Peter and Paul Church
Three Apostles' statues in front of the church

Krakow's Sts. Peter and Paul Church
Two Apostles' statues

Krakow's Sts. Peter and Paul Church
The church's interior

The Church's Brief History


Polish King and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund III Vasa funded Sts. Peter and Paul Church's construction for the Jesuits. Giovanni de Rossis created the building's design; Giuseppe Brizio, an early Baroque architect from Italy, implemented it in 1597, and Giovanni Maria Bernardoni, an Italian Jesuit, modified it in 1598. Giovanni Trevano, the author of the façade, dome, and interior designs, gave the church its final shape between 1605 and 1619. Consecration of the church took place in 1635.


Architecture


The church has a single nave body with chapel-like side naves, a rectangular presbytery with a semicircular apse, and a transept with a dome at the crossing. Its two-story dolomite church's front is surprisingly similar to the church of Santa Susana and the main Jesuit church of the Gesù in Rome. King Sigismund III's coat of arms (the image of the Eagle with the Sheaf on the chest) adorns the façade. In the niches, there are statues of Jesuit saints.


Designed by Kacper Bazanka, a Polish architect of the Baroque period, the decorative fence with the 12 Apostle sculptures was made from Pińczów limestone in 1722 by Dawid Heel, a Jesuit sculptor of German origin.


Although the interior is not as impressive as the exterior, it is still worth a glance. The stucco dome and gold-engraved marble altarpieces are among the many notable features. The acoustics in this magnificent building is excellent, and classical and Baroque ensembles frequently perform here.


How to Get There


Sts. Peter and Paul Church stands in Krakow's Old Town on Grodzka Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares. Its façade frames the right side of Mary Magdalene Square. 

Address: ul. Grodzka 52a, 31-044 Kraków, Poland


By Public Transportation:

Tram (lines 1, 2, 8, 13, 14, 18, 20, 24, 64, 69): Plac Wszystkich Świętych


Opening Hours & Ticket Prices


Admission is free. Please check the church's website for hours of operation.


Where to Stay in Krakow


Booking.com offers a wide range of lodging options, various discounts, and exceptional customer service. For a list of places to stay in Krakow, click here.


Booking.com


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