St. Adalbert’s church, also known as kościół św. Wojciecha in Polish, is the oldest church in Krakow, and the one of the oldest churches in Europe. St. Adalbert’s church began as a small wooden chapel when it was built in the 11th century, and has been rebuilt 7 times since then. This church is home to a small museum where you can learn a lot about its history. It is also one of the best places to listen to live classical music in Krakow.

History

St. Aldabert’s church was built in the 11th century and it was named after a martyred missionary. According to legend, the church was built in a place where St. Adalbert preached a sermon. The church has been rebuilt 7 times through the years. First, there was a small wooden chapel built in the 10th century. Then, in the 11th and 12th centuries, a stone church was built in its place and renovated. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 17th century, they changed the beautiful Romanesque style to a new baroque modern style.  The walls were raised and the roof received a big baroque dome. The Romanesque walls were covered and the entrance was built from the west. Parts of these older churches can still be seen, including the Romanesque walls, steps, and entrance. The church is interesting because the sunken entrance shows how much lower Krakow’s main square used to be almost 1,000 years ago.

St. Adalbert – As a Person

St. Adalbert, also known as Vojtěch, was born in Libice, Bohemia (Czech Republic) in the year of 956, and died April 23rd, 997, near Gdańsk (Poland). He was canonized (declared a saint) in 999 and the feast day was April 23rd. He belonged to the Slavnik clan, one of the two most powerful families in Bohemia. He was the Bishop of Prague and a missionary to the Hungarians, Poles, and Prussians. He was martyred in his hard work to convert the Baltic Prussians to Christianity.

For the closest family, he had five brothers: Soběslav, Spytimír, Dobroslav, Pořej, and Čáslav. His father was Slavník, a duke ruling a province in Libice, and finally, his mom, Střezislava, which possibly belonged to the Přemyslid dynasty.

Architecture

St Adalbert’s church is a combination of two styles of architecture: Romanesque and Baroque. Before, the church was an aisle-less building with a square, shorter and narrower chancel. It was built from a stone cube with elements of worked stones. The main entrance went through the Romanesque doorway from the south, and the western facade had only a small circular window. Now, the medieval wall of the church is shown at the eastern wall of the chancel with a Romanesque window, and a doorway and a window on the south side of the church. Due to the frequent changes in the marketplace, St. Adalbert’s church is 2 – 2.6 meters lower than the current Main Square. Therefore, in the past, the stairs went up to the church and now they go down.

Balustrade

The balustrade is a part of the balcony which is made in Baroque style, recognizable by gold details. It has elevated gold decorations in the shape of flowers and leaves. Although, most of the churches have wooden balustrades, like St. Adalbert Church.

Dome

The dome is a part of the church which is most recognized. It is made in Baroque style. It is good for the concerts that happen in the church because it has great and unique acoustics. The dome is crowned with a slim lantern, its facade is broken up with stone Tuscan columns, between which the glass windows are placed. The lantern is covered with a small dome with a cross.

St. Aldabert's Church
Alter of St. Aldabert's Church
Decorative dome ceiling
Baroque balcony and balustrade
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