St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow, Poland

st mary basilica krakow 1Every so often, you walk into a church, expecting nothing special. And then you get something like this. St. Mary’s Basilica on the Main Square of Krakow is simply, one of the most beautifully decorated churches in the world. This is just the overall view when you enter. As you explore, there is a wealth of detail in the altar piece, the wall paintings, and the side chapels. Absolutely beautiful, and lucky. It was spared by the Russians after they retook Krakow from the Nazis in World War II. The Nazis had stolen the altarpiece, but it was recovered by the Allied “Monuments Men” and returned to Krakow.

Here are some more details.

st mary basilica krakow 2

Angel above the altar.

st mary basilica altar

Detail of the altar. The Germans had stolen the altar during World War II, but it was returned after the war.

st mary basilica krakow 4

Altar windows.

st mary basilica krakow 5

Detail of the wall paintings.

St. Mary’s Basilica deserved a better photo treatment than I gave it. I was unfortunately only armed with the little Canon S110, and let’s face it, it just doesn’t have the resolution to handle a riot of detail like that available here. Also, it’s image quality falls off dramatically when you crank up the ISO, like I had to do here. ISO 1600, 1/60 sec at f/4.0. In Lightroom, I just raised the vibrance a bit to better capture the color of the incredible interior.

For more info about the equipment and software I use, see this page.

You can buy prints of my photos on my Smugmug page.



,

6 Responses to St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow, Poland

  1. Jane July 2, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Wow! I am so delighted to get these incredible photographs, Tom, I will be in Poland in October. I have been forwarding them to my travel companions.
    Thank you
    Jane

    • Tom Bartel July 3, 2014 at 3:22 am #

      Thanks, Jane. It’s a lovely country, full of beautiful things, many of which luckily survived the war. Of course, many didn’t.

  2. Lance August 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    As always, stellar post. So….I think Krakow is our next destination. We’re trying to pull together a trip for October, so will definitely add St. Mary’s to the list!

    • Tom Bartel August 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

      Well Lance, it’s right on the main square, so you can’t miss it. Have a beer or two while you’re there.

  3. Stephen Pullar November 19, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    I wonder if you can answer a question for me. I was in Krakow at the start of November, and we visited many sights, including St Mary’s Basilica. I’ve read it was left untouched by the Nazis and subsequently the Russians, (apart from the alter piece), but I noticed around each of the stained glass windows, on the exterior, what looked like bullet holes/shrapnel marks all up and down either side of the windows? It looked as through a machine gun or similar weapon had been used to take out the windows? I’m just curious as to what these markings were. I wonder if anyone can shed any light?
    Thanks.

    • Tom Bartel November 19, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      Sorry, can’t help you, but if Krakow survived completely untouched, I’d be very surprised. Especially given that the Germans and the Russians have never been noted for their good will against the Poles.

Leave a Reply