The Papal Window is located at ul. Franciszkańska 3, on the opposite side of the street from the Franciscan church. Pope John Paul II was a popular pope and when he visited Kraków, he would stay at the Bishop’s Palace. The Papal Window is the most visited windows in Krakow. The Papal Window is a part of the Archbishops palace in Krakow.

History

The Bishop’s Palace was built in the 14th century and is located within the facade of the Archbishop’s palace. The Bishop’s Palace once caught on fire in 1462. The palace was reconstructed by Bishop Piotr Gembicki from 1642-1647. It was renovated again after the Swedish Invasion in 1655. After that it was refurbished from 1817-1820 by Szczepan Humbert. A city fire in 1850 burned most of the furniture and exhibits. Architect Tomasz Pryliński looked over the renovation from 1881-1884. The Archbishop’s palace was built so the Kraków Bishop could have a place to stay, and when Pope John Paul went to Krakow he would stay there in the room of The Papal Window. The view from his window overlooks ul. Franciszkańska.

 

The window first became popular when Pope John Paul II was leaving Kraków and everyone wanted to talk to him before he left the city. On his last night, a large crowd of people gathered under the palace window in hopes of meeting the Pope. After that night, holding meetings at his window become part of his schedule during Krakow visits and the official Papal Window was created. When Pope John Paul II visited Krakow, he would talk to the people and say blessings to supporters at night from the window. The mosaic that is on the window used to be a photo, but then was changed into a mosaic, which was unveiled on October 16th, 2018.

 

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland and died on April 2, 2005, in the Apostolic-Palace, Vatican City. His full name is “Karol Jożef Wojtyłą” but he is known best as Pope John Paul II.  He died of congestive heart failure (CHF) although many people thought he died of Parkinson’s disease. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease but he didn’t die from it. Pope John Paul’s papacy began on October 16, 1973, and it ended on April 2, 2005. On May 13, 1981, he was shot four times in the leg and had huge blood loss during an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square. The person that shot him was Mehmet Ali Agca. Pope John Paul II became the first non-Italian pope in 400+ years in 1978. John Paul’s Mother died when he was 9 years old, and his brother died when he was 12 years old. The Pope really liked to travel and almost reached all corners of the earth. He made 104 International trips, and visited 130 countries. There were two countries he wasn’t able to visit, Russia and China. On May 8, 2001 the Pope first visited Syria and went inside a mosque.

 

Architecture

The palace has elements of Polish Renaissance and Baroque decorations. In around 1657 Gabriel Słoński added the two wings one on each side of the palace. The mosaic of the pope sits on a broken pediment, which is on top of a very decorative doorway which includes ionic pilasters on both sides, and an arch with a large keystone.  Above the arch is an entablature with an architrave, frieze, and cornice. The frieze is decorated with several bas-relief sculptures. The facade has the mosaic of Pope John Paul II, and the entrance and windows. The mosaic was made by Magdalena Czeska. On the outside of the building there is a mosaic and inside there is the old painting of Pope John Paul II.  On the sides of the facade there are two towers. On the towers are broken pediments with a pediment in between them, also there is a decoration/sculpture with bas-relief on each pediment. In the courtyard, there is a statue of Pope John Paul II surrounded by flowers. There is also a replica of the original Pope John Paul’s grave, which is located in Vatican city. On the other side of the courtyard there is a large evergreen tree with a plaque dedicated to the Pope. O

The Papal Window
The mosaic of Pope John Paul II in place of the Papal Window
The right wing of the palace
Statue of Pope John Paul II outside of the palace
The left wing of the palace

Resources

Bishop’s Palace & Papal Window. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.inyourpocket.com/krakow/bishops-palace-papal-window_98135v

Papal Window | Kraków, Poland Attractions. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.lonelyplanet.com/poland/krakow/attractions/papal-window/a/poi-sig/1165344/360295
 
The top ten achievements of John Paul II. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2019, from https://www.romereports.com/en/2014/04/22/the-top-ten-achievements-of-john-paul-ii/
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