Kościół Nawiedzenia Najświętszej Maryi Panny Na Piasku Kraków
Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary — Kraków
The church can tell a beautiful story. Sponsored by Saint Hedwig and Władysław II Jagiełło, it was erected in 1395, but legend has it that its construction was begun by Władysław I Herman in the 11th century. In 1397 it was taken over by the Carmelites. The Gothic church was damaged in the 16th century during a siege of the city. Although it was later rebuilt, it was not spared further destruction during the Swedish Deluge but it was renovated in the 17th century and survives to this day. The façade of the basilica is modelled on the façade of the Il Gesù Church in Rome. Next to the church is a Golgotha with sculptures from the 18th century. Particularly noteworthy is the Baroque main altar from the 18th century with carved decorations, along with pews from the 17th and 18th centuries. On the wall of the structure on Garbarska Street is a stone slab with an imprint of what is alleged to be Queen Hedwig's foot. Legend has it that the queen, who often visited the site during construction, was moved by the misery of one of the builders, put her foot on the stone and unfastened the golden buckle from her shoe. The workers were surprised to see that her footprint was imprinted in the stone. In the 20th century, two floors were added to the 17th century Baroque monastery. The cloisters feature 18th century frescoes depicting the history of the church and the miraculous painting. Adjacent to the church, the chapel of Our Lady of the Sands, designed by Giovanni Trevano, is covered by a dome with a lantern and a statue of the Madonna from the 17th century. The image of Our Lady of the Sands, also known as Our Lady of Kraków, was painted in the 15th century by an unknown monk, who, according to legend, stopped working on the image but later found it miraculously completed. The painting was untouched during the church fire in 1655; John III Sobieski prayed in front of it in 1683 before his expedition to Vienna, and on the bicentennial of the victory in Vienna it was crowned. The decorations were designed by Jan Matejko, a famous Polish painter. The main feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on 16 July on the Feast of Our Lady of the Scapular.
For many years the faithful have come to the church to pray. The painting, which is located in the sanctuary consecrated in 1966 by Archbishop Karol Wojtyła, dates back to the 17th century.
The first wooden church of Saint Nicholas the Bishop and Saint Mary Magdalene was founded by Casimir II the Just in the 11th/12th centuries, although some sources claim it was started in the 10th century. It remains one of the most valuable Romanesque monuments in Poland, as well as the oldest religious building in the Polish Carpathians. Rare polychromes from the 12th century were discovered there. In the 17th century a new church was built in place of the one that had been destroyed, but the Romanesque eastern part built of stone blocks was left in place. The church houses a side altar with a venerated painting of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, famous for the blessings it bestows. Today, the image of Our Lady of Dziekanów is located in the neighbouring Church of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary built from 1960 to 1966 on a steep hill towering over the Raba River. The cult of the image of Our Lady of Dziekanów began in the 17th century. It is an image painted on canvas by an unknown artist from the Kraków school. The painting was crowned by Pope John Paul II in 1991. The main indulgence at the sanctuary is celebrated on the Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the first Sunday after 11 October. Other indulgences are celebrated on the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene on 22 July and the Feast of Saint Nicholas on 6 December.