Warsaw's St. John's Cathedral Crypts

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie

The crypts of St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, Poland's capital, are an impressive pantheon of notable Poles. Furthermore, their walls are the most authentic parts of the building because they date from the medieval period. Here, beneath the cathedral, visitors can hear the "wind of history" that once delighted Polish journalist, novelist, and Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz.


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Do you enjoy exploring the dimly lit crypts of historic European cathedrals? I do! They are not only mystical and eerie underground cellars with the remains of historical figures. It is also an opportunity to admire the ancient architecture of the cathedral's basements and, in a sense, touch history with your presence – those times have long gone.


St. John's Cathedral has been the most important temple in the Polish capital since its foundation as a collegiate church in the 14th century. Among the well-known Poles buried in its crypts is Stanisław August Poniatowski, Poland's last king; Mazovia dukes Janusz I the Elder and his grandson Bolesław III; composer and Polish Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski; Poland's first President Gabriel Narutowicz; Ignacy Mościcki, Poland's longest-serving President; Józef Glemp, Cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, etc.


St. John's Archcathedral Crypts in Pictures

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
A royal Vasa family child's sarcophagus from the 17th century

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Reconstruction of a royal Vasa family baby's burial (17th century)

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Reconstruction of a small child's burial in a burial gown with garlands

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Reconstruction of a bishop's burial in pontifical robes 

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
The Gothic Chapel

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
A sarcophagus from the 18th century containing the ashes of Stanislaus II Augustus, the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
Warsaw Archbishops' Crypt

Krypty katedry św. Jana Chrzciciela w Warszawie
The grave of Poland's first president, Gabriel Narutowicz (20th century)

The Church's Brief History


14th century

The oldest documented date for St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw is 1339. At the time, the parish church housed the court of Pope Benedict XII's delegates, whose verdict ordered the Teutonic knights to return the plundered lands to Poland and pay compensation.

15th–16th centuries

In 1406 Pope Boniface IX elevated the Warsaw parish church to the status of the collegiate church. After the tower collapsed during a hurricane in 1606, King Sigismund III Vasa rebuilt it in Baroque style.

18th–19th century

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

20th century

It was necessary to reunite the crypts during the interwar period because the cathedral lacked a basement. Unfortunately, during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Luftwaffe bombs and artillery fire destroyed the temple and its ornate interior.

St. John's Cathedral, like the rest of Warsaw's Old Town – a World Heritage Site since 1980 – was rebuilt after the war; the underground was opened to visitors in 1972 after a renovation (which included a new stone floor and decorative metal grilles). The style of the building is Gothic.


How to Get There



St. John's Cathedral stands between Market Square and Castle Square in Warsaw's Old Town. The crypts' entrance is next to the end of the left aisle, near the Baryczka family chapel.

Address: Świętojańska 8, 00-278 Warsaw, Poland


By Public Transportation:

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


Opening Hours & Ticket Prices


If you intend to visit St. John's Cathedral and the crypts, please check its official website for current ticket prices and operating hours.



Have you visited the crypts yet? What, if any, impressions do you have? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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