Cathedral. CRACOW. 47. Route. 275
on the site of the old fortifications, round the inner town, produce
an imposing effect.
Cracow, an important episcopal seat as early as the 11th. cent., was
destroyed by the Mongolians in 1241, but was rebuilt by German colonists
in 1257. In 1320 it was chosen by Ladislaus Eokietek as the coronation-
town and residence of the Polish kings. The favourable position of the
town, its adhesion to the Hanseatic League, and the foundation of the
University by Casimir the Great in 1364, all contributed to the progress
of Cracow, which reached the zenith of its prosperity in the 16th century.
The period of decline began with the transference of the royal residence
to Warsaw in 1610 and with the warlike commotions of the 17th cent.,
but until 1734 the Polish kings continued to be crowned and buried at
Cracow. In the final partition of Poland (1794) Cracow fell to Austria. In
1815 it became the capital of a small independent state, but it was again
annexed by Austria after the insurrection of 1846. Cracow, however, has
never lost its thoroughly Polish character.
The Schloss (Zamek Krdlewski; PI. B, 4, 5), on the broad Wawel
hill at the S.W. end of the old town, was founded in the 14th cent.
by Ladislaus tokietek, and restored by Casimir the Great and Sigis¬
mund I. (after 1500), but later conflagrations and other injuries have
left only a number of large separate buildings, dating chiefly from
the time of Augustus II., and converted in 1846 into a barrack and
hospital. A thorough restoration of the building is contemplated (for
adm. apply to the castellan).
The Gothic *Cathedral, or Schlosskirche (PL A, B, 4), on the
W. side, founded in 1320 on the site of an earlier Romanesque church
of which only the crypt remains, and consecrated in 1359 under Cas¬
imir the Great, is the burial-place of the Polish kings and heroes.
The Interior, originally in basilica form with rectangular choir and
ambulatory, round which numerous Renaissance chapels were added in
tbe 16th cent., was much modernized in the 18th century. To the left of
the entrance, a "Bronze epitaph to Marshal Peter Kmity (d. 1505) by Peter
Vischer, and two late-Gothic chapels built after 1431 on the site of the
former side-portals. In the chapel of the Holy Cross (left) are some old
wall-paintings of the Rulhenian School (1470) and the monuments of King
Ladislaus Jagiello (d. 1434; to the left) and of King Casimir IV. Jagiello
(d. 1492; to the right), the latter, with the recumbent figure in porphyry, by
the Nuremberg sculptor Veil Stoss (or Stwosz), perhaps a native of Cracow (?).
In the middle, "Monument of Bishop Soltyk (d. 1788), who, as the relief
indicates, was carried to St. Petersburg by the Russians on account of his
opposition to them at the Polish Diet in 1767. — Right Aisle. 1st Chapel.
"Thorwaldsen's Christ imparting a blessing, a beautiful statue in marble,
but in a bad light. Busts of Count Arthur Potocki and his mother, also
by Thorwaldsen. — 3rd. Memorial slabs of the Polish kings of the Vasa
family (Sigismund, LadislawIV., John Casimir); superb bronze doors by
Mich. Weinhold of Dantsic (1763). — "4th or Sigismund Chapel (built by
Bart. Berecci of Florence in 1519-20, restored 1894; elaborately ornamented by
Giov. Cini of Siena). The Mausoleum of the Sigismunds of the Jagiello family
contains the monuments of King Sigismund I. Jagiello (d. 1548) and Sigismund
Augustus (d. 1572), with recumbent figures of the deceased in red marble. —
Opposite the 5th chapel is "Thorwaldsen's statue of Count Wladimir Potocki,
who fell at Moscow in 1812. — 7th. "Monument of King John Albert (d. 1501)
in red marble, by an unknown Florentine master; opposite to it the
"Monument of King Casimir the Great (d. 1370), the 'Founder of Cities', as
indicated by his girdle, by Veil Stoss (1492), in red marble under a canopy. —
In the Ambulatory, behind the high-altar, the monument of King John III.
Sobieski (d. 1696), the conqueror of the Turks (comp. p. 13), as the reliefs
indicate. Opposite is the Bathory Chapel, once connected by a passage with