St Florian’s Church
ul. Warszawska 1
One of the oldest churches in Kraków. Although its patron is St Florian, the patron of firefighters protecting against fire and war, such cataclysms dramatically influenced the history of the church.
A legend tells of oxen that were used to transport the relics of the saint from Rome stopping stubbornly in the place where today’s church can be seen. Their determination was considered a sign that this is where a church devoted to the venerable martyr should be built. The first, Romanesque one was founded in 1184. Soon, a settlement known as Florencja (St Florian was a patron of Florence in Italy as well) developed around the central church to become later the hub of Kleparz, an autonomous city set up in the mid-14th century, and one of the central districts of Kraków today.
Its situation just beyond the city walls of Kraków resulted in the church being repeatedly destroyed: for the first time during the Tatar raids of the 13th century, while the greatest damage was done by the Swedish army in 1655. The current edifice was raised in the latter half of the 17th century and most of the building retains this baroque character.
Be sure to see:
- the Gothic chancel
- late Gothic triptych of St John the Baptist
- The church is known as the place of veneration of no fewer than three saints: Florian, quenching a broad array of fires consuming cities to ones inspired by the carnal urges, St John of Kęty (Cantius) patron of Kraków, and (from the 19th century) also St Valentine – the guardian of those in love.
- The treasury of the church includes a reliquary captured at the battle of Grunwald, presented by King Ladislaus (Władysław) Jagiełło.
- In 1578–1780, the church belonged to the Academy of Kraków (today’s Jagiellonian University)
- From 1949 to 1951, Karol Wojtyła, who later became known as Pope John Paul II, was a curate of the parish.
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