St. Mary's Basilica - An Altarpiece So Beautiful, The Nazis Had To Steal It

Returning from a whole day of remembrance in Auschwitz, we purposely went straight to a church in order to say a prayer for the millions who were brutally murdered. That church was the majestic St. Mary's Basilica, located right on the Main Market Square of Krakow.

St. Mary's Basilica

* Originally built in the 13th Century, the Basilica's more formal name is the Church of Our Lady Assumed Into Heaven.

St. Mary's Basilica Interior

* After purchasing an entrance ticket, as well as a photography permit (no photos allowed inside without it) on an establishment located next door, we entered the church and were flabbergasted (hard word of the day!) as to how beautiful the interiors of the church were. 

St. Mary's Basilica

* Similar to the equally impressive Wawel Cathedral, the Basilica is an explosion of colors (gold, silver, black, red, blue), statues, religious icons, intricate designs, and tombs!

St. Mary's Basilica Crypt

* Like the one of this gent, who picked the perfect spot to lay back and chill.

St. Mary's Basilica Chapels

* I'm not kidding about the explosion of gold, intricate designs, and art!

St. Mary's Basilica Chapels

* You gotta love Eastern European churches. They have splashes of exotic flavours amidst the familiar.

St. Mary's Basilica Crypt

* To have been buried inside places of worship was a mark of great honour for any family back in the medieval period.

St. Mary's Basilica Relic

* Check out the relic display under the portrait of the Virgin! I wonder whose bones these are?

St. Mary's Basilica

* Studied for its impressive architecture, the Basilica has been the model for numerous churches built by the Polish Diaspora abroad. 

St. Mary's Basilica Pulpit

* Chicago, USA actually has the second largest population of Poles in the world (next to Poland, duh!)

St. Mary's Basilica

* Thus, several churches were built in Chicago designed in the "Polish Cathedral Style." Among these are the Church of St. Michael the Archangel and the Church of St. John Cantius

St. Mary's Basilica

* Check out that view! Everything about this place just screams with character!

St. Mary's Basilica Praying Pew

* Kneeling directly in front of this golden-suited and golden-crowned gentleman!

St. Mary's Basilica Chapels

* An even bigger tomb, near the main altar! This guy must have been very important.

St. Mary's Basilica Evangelists

* The details here are just out of this world! 

Altar St. Mary's Basilica

* The centerpiece of the Basilica is most definitely the famous Altarpiece of Veit Stoss. Carved in 1489 by the German sculptor Veit Stoss, this work of art is the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world, and Poland's national treasure. 

Gothic Altarpiece by Veit Stoss

* Showcasing various scenes from the life of Mary, the Altarpiece's central point highlights the Assumption of the Madonna to Heaven.

Gothic Altarpiece by Veit Stoss

* So well renowned was this Altarpiece that the it was dismantled, stolen, and shipped to Nuremberg Castle in Bavaria during the German Occupation under the orders of Hans Frank, Governor-General of Occupied Poland.

Selfie at St. Mary's Basilica Altar

* So glad that in spite of all the gawking, we remembered to take a selfie. That was a photography permit well spent!

St. Mary's Basilica Altar

* One more view of the Altarpiece and the Basilica's amazing interiors.

* Here's a video summary of the Basilica's interiors.

St. Mary's Basilica

* At night the Basilica looks ethereal, like a bunch of elves live inside.

St. Mary's Basilica

* Taking a final photo, in our final night, in this awesome city.


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