An exceptionally picturesque little street, where every house boasts a long and rich history, often reaching back to the first half of the 14th century
Here we can savour one of the oldest and most picturesque corners of Kraków. The Canons of the Kraków Chapter, i.e. the body of clerics of Wawel Cathedral, have built their abodes here since the second half of the 14th century. Although medieval in their foundations, today the street features façades from various periods and in various styles. In the 16th century, many earlier buildings were transformed into renaissance mansions. Today, we may admire the galleries and loggias in their courtyards, and also see some of the beautifully preserved portals.
The Mansion of Bishop Erazm Ciołek standing at No. 17 is traditionally referred to as a “palace”, not unlike many other buildings on Kanonicza street, and it dates back to the early 16th century, when it was formed from the connection of smaller townhouses. It was once considered the most impressive house in the street. Although it has a renaissance air about it, it has preserved plenty of earlier, Gothic elements. Currently, it houses a branch of the National Museum in Krakow with art from the Polish territories from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century, and the sacred art of the Orthodox Church.
The Deanery (Dean’s House, Dom Dziekański, No. 21), which was transformed into an impressive mannerist residence late in the 16th century, is today home to the Archdiocesan Museum. Attention is drawn to the decoration of the façade made in the sgraffito technique, and a late-renaissance portal with an inscription reading Procul este profani (“keep away, you profane ones”). This is where Karol Wojtyła, future Pope John Paul II, lived in the 1950s and 1960s, first as a priest, and later as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Kraków.
The Długosz Mansion (No. 25) was built in the 14th century, yet was thoroughly rebuilt in Gothic-renaissance style in the 16th century. Later additions also include baroque elements, notably the portal. In the 14th century, the building at the foot of Wawel was made into the Royal Baths. According to legend, the courtiers of the juvenile Queen Jadwiga spied here on her future husband, Ladislaus (Władysław) Jagiełło. The current name is a reminder that in the 15th century it was home to Canon Jan Długosz, the most eminent Polish medieval historian. It is here that Długosz wrote his most famous work: Annals, or Chronicles of the Illustrious Kingdom of Poland.
The beautifully renovated street leading to Wawel boasts a splendid view across the square to Grodzka street with the silhouette of the defensive Romanesque Church of St Andrew and the baroque façade of St Peter and St Paul’s Church.
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