St. John's Archcathedral

Warsaw, Poland

St. John's Archcathedral in Warsaw stands immediately adjacent to Warsaw's Jesuit church, and is one of the oldest churches in the city. St. John's Archcathedral is one of Poland's national pantheons. Along with the city, the church has been listed by UNESCO as of cultural significance.

Originally built in the 14th century in Masovian Gothic style, the Cathedral served as a coronation and burial site for numerous Dukes of Masovia. The Archcathedral was connected with the Royal Castle by an elevated 80-meter-long corridor that had been built by Queen Anna Jagiellonka in the late 16th century and extended in the 1620s after Michał Piekarski's failed 1620 attempt to assassinate King of Poland Sigismund III in front of the Cathedral.

After the resolution of the Constitution of May 3, 1791, at the end of the session at the Royal Castle, King Stanisław August Poniatowski went to the Cathedral of St. John to repeat the Oath of the Constitution in front of the Altar, in the face of God. Also the Marshals of the Great Sejm were carried to the Archcathedral on the shoulders of the enthusiastic deputies of the Sejm.

The church was rebuilt several times, most notably in the 19th century, it was preserved until World War II as an example of English Gothic Revival.

In 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising the Cathedral was a place of struggle between insurgents and advancing German army. The Germans managed to induct a tank loaded with explosives into the Cathedral, a huge explosion destroyed large part of the building. After the collapse of the Uprising, German Vernichtungskommando (Destruction Detachment) drilled holes into the walls for explosives and blew up the Cathedral destroying 90% of its walls.

Leveled during the Warsaw Uprising (August–October 1944), it was rebuilt after the war. The exterior reconstruction is based on the 14th-century church's presumed appearance (according to an early-17th-century Hogenberg illustration and a 1627 Abraham Boot drawing), not on its prewar appearance.

The interior reconstruction design considerably differed from the pre-war Cathedral, taking it back in time to its raw Gothic look, because very little of the cathedral's original furnishings has been preserved. The Cathedral is a three-nave building, two aisles are the same height as the main nave. On the right side from the front a belfry is situated, a passage to Dziekania Street is situated underneath it. There is a pulpit from 1959, designed by Józef Trenarowski and stalls which are a replica of the destroyed baroque ones, founded by King John III Sobieski. Moreover, there are many chapels, gravestones and epitaphs in the Cathedral. By the left aisle are numerous chapels. They are, in turn, from the main altar:

The crypts beneath the main aisle hold the remains of notable persons, including Dukes of Masovia and King Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last Polish monarch.



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Dziekania 1, Warsaw, Poland
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Founded: 1390
Category: Religious sites in Poland

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User Reviews

Rose Peterson (12 months ago)
The Archcathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw is a spiritually significant place as the main cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Warsaw. Its historical importance is evident through its involvement in Polish royal events. The basilica's architectural splendor showcases a blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. It serves as a cultural landmark representing Warsaw's identity and heritage. Engaging the community, attracting tourists and pilgrims, and honoring St. John the Baptist are additional aspects that contribute to its significance.
Eduardo Cacere (14 months ago)
Bazylika Archikatedralna w Warszawie p.w. Męczeństwa św. Jana Chrzciciela is a truly awe-inspiring sight that will leave you speechless. This majestic cathedral is a true testament to the beauty and grandeur of Warsaw's rich cultural and religious heritage. From the moment you step inside the cathedral, you will be struck by the immense scale of the interior. The soaring vaulted ceilings, ornate pillars, and breathtaking stained-glass windows create an atmosphere of awe and reverence that is truly unforgettable. As you explore the cathedral, you will be struck by the incredible attention to detail and the stunning craftsmanship that went into its construction. From the intricate carvings on the altarpiece to the delicate frescoes on the walls, each element of the cathedral is a work of art in its own right. But Bazylika Archikatedralna is more than just a beautiful building; it is a sacred space that has been a focal point of Warsaw's religious life for centuries. The cathedral's rich history is reflected in the many artifacts and relics on display, which provide a fascinating glimpse into the city's spiritual past. Whether you are a devout Catholic, a lover of history and architecture, or simply someone who appreciates beauty and art, Bazylika Archikatedralna is an absolute must-see. Don't miss your chance to experience the magic of this magnificent cathedral for yourself!
Michael Mack (2 years ago)
A beautiful basilica in Old Town Warsaw. We really enjoyed our visit.
Garrett Fagnou (2 years ago)
Went to a organ concert in the church, very cool experience. The church has been beautifully rebuilt.
Emirhan Yolsal (2 years ago)
I heard someone mumbling... could catch some words... "they are killing Jesus everywhere"
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