Saint Florian’s Gate
In bygone times, kings returning from victorious battles, diplomats, and illustrious guests visiting Kraków entered the city through this gate. Today St Florian’s Gate (Brama Floriańska) is one of the symbols of the city, one that welcomes tourists arriving in Kraków.
Since the Middle Ages St Florian’s was the main of the seven gates leading into the city. It was entrusted to the care of the Guild of Furriers. Its name comes from St Florian’s Church in Kleparz, yet it was also referred to in Latin as Porta Gloriae, i.e. the Gate of Glory, as this was the start of the main Royal Route (Latin: Via Regia) leading to Wawel. It was mentioned in city documents as early as 1307, yet its oldest stone section most probably dates back to the 13th/14th centuries. After the construction of the Barbican (late 15th century), it was connected to it with a fortified corridor, the so-called neck. After the destruction dealt by the Swedish onslaught in the 17th century, the tower received a new baroque dome, which crowns it to this day.
Standing 34.5 m (114 ft) tall, the gate provides a beautiful closing of the vista of Floriańska Street and the Royal Route. It is difficult to imagine that a narrow gauge tram went through it, yet it did – from 1901 to 1953, though each time to do so it had to retract its pantograph.
- the eagle of Piast kings based on a design by a 19th-century artist Jan Matejko (from the side of Planty garden ring)
- a rococo bass relief of St Florian (from the side of Floriańska Street)
- a neoclassical altar (early 19th century) with a late baroque copy of the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Piasek
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