St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciól Mariacki)
- Type: Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: Less than 1 hour
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Sitting on the eastern corner of Rynek Glówny, St. Mary's Basilica is a gothic church that was originally built in the 13th century. It was destroyed by the Tartars and then rebuilt in the 14th century. It features two towers that have different styles as well as different heights. But the basilica's highlight is a wooden altarpiece found on the wall near the visitor's entrance. It consists of a series of panels that depict biblical scenes such as the Ascension of Christ.
Try to arrange your visit to St. Mary's around the turn of the hour. That's when a trumpeter sounds his horn from the taller of the towers. Fodor's says, "It breaks off on an abrupt sobbing note to commemorate an unknown bugler struck in the throat by a Tartar arrow as he was playing his call to warn the city of imminent attack."
For roughly $2 USD you can enter the basilica from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. On Sundays you can also attend mass for free -- you won't be bothered, as the church is closed to tourists during services.