Palace of the Bishops of Kraków
ul. Franciszkańska 3
It is here where Pope John Paul II stayed during his visits to Kraków, often holding informal audiences – greatly cherished by pilgrims - at the “pontifical window”.
Kraków became a bishopric in AD 1000; the decision was reached during the Congress of Gniezno, which involved the German Emperor Otto III and the Polish Duke Boleslaus the Brave (Bolesław Chrobry), later crowned the first king of Poland. This is when the construction of the first Cathedral on Wawel Hill began. In the first centuries, the bishops of Kraków resided nowhere else but on Wawel Hill, beside the cathedral. The first mention of the presence of the bishop’s seat at its current address, that is ul. Franciszkańska 3, dates back to the late 14th century. This part of the city was repeatedly plagued by fires that destroyed the city, while the reconstructions following them had a bearing on today’s form of the residence. The building obtained its current, monumental form of a city residence in the first half of the 17th century. Dating back to that time is the imposing portal over the door leading to the courtyard. Legend has it that the place is haunted by a white lady, who first showed herself in the Palace in the 19th century to Bishop Jan Paweł Woronicz, asking the hierarch to absolve the sins she had in committed during her earthly existence.
The Palace of the Bishops of Kraków is closely connected with the person of St John Paul II: it was here that Karol Wojtyła was ordained a priest in 1946, and here that he lived in 1964–78, working first as an auxiliary bishop and later as the Metropolitan Bishop of Kraków. He would also return here during his pilgrimages to Poland as the Pope, and standing in the famous “papal” or “pontifical” window, he would hold informal evening audiences that very much cherished by pilgrims.
Only the exterior of the Palace of the Bishops of Kraków can be admired.
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