The Ark of the Lord Church

ul. Obrońców Krzyża 1


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The Church of Our Lady the Queen of Poland is commonly known as the Ark of the Lord. Thanks to its unique shape, the church is one of the most characteristic and easily recognisable buildings in the district.

The Church of Our Lady the Queen of Poland was the first church to be built in the workers’ quarters of Kraków. For its characteristic shape, it is referred to as the Ark of the Lord, and counted among the greatest achievements of the world ‘s post-Council of Vatican architecture. Using Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp for his model, Wojciech Pietrzyk proposed a church in the shape of Noah’s Ark that settled on Mount Ararat. The metaphor was clear for the people eager to survive the difficult years of communism. Construction started in 1967, and the cornerstone (a fragment of St Peter’s tomb sent from Vatican) of the new church was laid by the then Bishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła. The last element of the complex to be completed was the 70-metre (230 ft) mast in the shape of a crowned cross: the authorities had long forbidden this symbol of Christianity to soar over the nearby concrete jungle. The interior of the church is as unique as its external guise. Dominant here is the 8-metre (26 ft) tall crucifix: a work of Bronisław Chromy. As the construction of the church became the symbol of unity of the Christian world, many elements of its furnishing were contributed by Catholics from various parts of the globe. Yet some are clearly otherworldly: a part of the Tabernacle is a rutile crystal brought from the Moon by Apollo 11 astronauts.

During martial law, clashes with militia by the Ark of the Lord were common, especially on the 13th day of each month, when Masses for the Homeland were celebrated in the Ark. The best-known victim of these manifestations that were broken up by force is Bogdan Włosik, a 19-year-old student working at the Lenin steelworks. Standing opposite the church is a monument which commemorates the place where bullets of a Security Service agent killed the youth in 1982.

ul. Obrońców Krzyża 1
About: disabled-friendly, admission free
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