Kraków – Holy Cross Church


   Church of Holy Cross in its present shape began to rise around 1300, probably in place of a wooden church from the 12th / 13th century. The stone remaining after the erection of the town’s defensive walls was used for its construction. The first was a presbytery, and a square, brick nave was completed in the second half of the 14th century. The church was surrounded by a parish cemetery and was connected with the now non-existent monastery and hospital buildings, as well as the church and the hospital of the Holy Spirit. In the first half of the fifteenth century, a tower was added, and from the south the chapel of St. Sophia. In the sixteenth century to the tower were added chapels of St. Andrew and Our Lady of Loreto. In 1528 the interior of the church burnt down and vault of the presbytery fell down, but it was quickly rebuilt until 1533. In the following centuries, the church of the Holy Cross did not undergo major modifications. In the late nineteenth century, its thorough restaurant took place.


   Church of Holy Cross stands out against other Kraków’s sacred buildings with its gothic style purity. It has a square, brick nave, and a narrower and lower, rectangular, stone chancel. Above the west façade is a square tower with a porch in the ground floor, to which two chapels adjoin. At the nave from the south, in 1442, the chapel of St. Sophia was added, and to the northern wall of the presbytery, an elongated sacristy was built. Outside, the church is crowned with buttresses and surrounded by a cornice. The windows are usually ogival with traceries. The brick gable of the chancel from the east is decorated with ogival blendes.
   The church is famous for its beautiful vault in the nave, which is supported on single pillar. Its ribs radiate outwardly, creating a motif of a great star. The late gothic vault in the chancel comes from 1530 and is covered with polychrome with floral motifs. On the bosses, there are the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland, Sforza, Order of the Holy Ghost and Boner family. Inside the temple there are also three stone portals: the first one, ogival from the porch to the nave from the second half of the 14th century, it has a door with gothic fittings from around 1400; the second one, late gothic, from nave to the choir, from the end of the fifteenth century, is ogival and topped with a trefoil, and the third, rectangular from the 16th century, from sacristy to the presbytery. In the chapel of St. Sophia there is a unique late renaissance confessional dating back to the late sixteenth century, one of the oldest surviving in Kraków.

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Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski, Warszawa 2013.
Website, Kościół Świętego Krzyża w Krakowie.