Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

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18 plac Katedralny, Wroclaw, Poland
71 322 25 74

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Wroclaw Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Cathedral of St John Baptist - Katedra św Jana Chrzciela Aug 07, 2014
The cathedral is a gothic building. Its completion took several centuries, and further changes were done in the run of the centuries. The first church was built here already before the foundation of the diocese in 1000 A.D. About nothing is left from the Romanesque era, though. The present cathedral dates mostly from the 13th and 14th century. The latest medieval additions, built in the 15th century, were the two majestic steeples in the west. The early modern era added side chapels to the eastern part.

The cathedral is open to visitors all day except during mass. Access to the main nave is free. The chapels in the back of the cathedral are behind a gate and not accessible freely, though. Visiting them requires paying a moderate entrance fee of 4 PLN, which they delare as „tourist offer“, ha ha. Anyway, these 4 PLN are well invested. The passage and the chapels around the chancel contain the best art works and most impressive interiors of the cathedral. The church in general is rather dark and the passage is even darker, so exploring it and discovering what is hidden there feels a bit mysterious: frescoes, epitaphs, sculptures, ornamental portals etcetera. The middle chapel was built in the 14th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It contains the tomb of its founder, Bishop Preczław of Pogarell.

The bigger the surprise, though, when you enter the side chapels. The two side chapels are baroque additions and their interiors are entirely different in style. Both are covered by high domes that let in the light from above, and richly decorated with frescoes and sculptures.

The chapel on the right (1671-1682), dedicated to St Elizabeth, was donated by Cardinal Friedrich of Hessen-Darmstadt as his burial site - let's remember that the patron saint, Elizabeth of Thuringia, was in fact his ancestor!

On the left there is the Electors' Chapel (1716-1724), designed by the Viennese court architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach on behalf of Franz Ludwig von Pfalz-Neuburg.
Chapels and choir from the outside
Detail of the facade
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Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Ostrów Tumski: View from the Steeple of the Cathedral Aug 07, 2014
A visit to the top of the cathedral's northern steeple provides a great view of the city, the river, and the islands. It can be done in a short amount of time and with little effort, thanks to the fact that there is a lift that takes you to the top in 40 seconds. However, to reach the cash desk and the bottom of the lift you have to climb about 50 steep narrow steps. Despite the existence of the lift, this viewpoint is not suitable for people with major walking difficulties. Young children will also have problems with the high steps. Once you have reached the lift, though, everything is a piece of cake. The lift is closed (no glass) and the walk around the top is on solid stone with a solid stone railing, so this is easy even for people like me who have a fear of heights.

In wintertime the steeple is open until 5 p.m., thus allows viewing the sunset and the illuminated city from above. Since Poland is located so far east in the timezone, the sun sets early, before 4 p.m. in December. The colours were fabulous...

Entrance fee: adults 5 PLN, children and concessions 4 PLN
Sand island and the old town
Upstrean view
The southern steeple
Church of the Holy Cross

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photo by: anjok