advertisement

The original cathedral was built by Mieszko I before 977 A.D. If the present cathedral looks newer than that to you, it's because centuries of fires and invasions took their toll, and the building was reconstructed in the 14th century. Baroque chapels and steeples were added over the years. Most visitors make a beeline to see the 12th-century Romanesque bronze doors, regarded as the finest example of their kind in Poland. The 18-panel doors are diminutive in stature but glorious in bas-relief, depicting the life of St. Adalbert. You could easily spend 30 minutes studying the key moments leading to his death in the hands of pagans during his mission to evangelize Northern Poland. His remains lie in the silver sarcophagus in the cathedral's nave. Outside the cathedral is the statue of Bolesaw the Brave, the first Polish king crowned here, in 1025. Four subsequent kings had their coronations here before the capital moved to Kraków. The rather kitschy portraits of these royals are hung above the portal opposite the bronze doors.