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Basilica of the Holy Cross

Walking along the Royal Route you can’t miss it. The monumental baroque church dominates Krakowskie Przedmieście with its two high towers, and the sculpture of Christ carrying the cross standing in front of the entrance is one of the most recognisable sights in Warsaw. Before you go inside, look at the hand raised toward the sky and imagine what meaning this gesture could have for Varsovians along with the inscription “Sursum Corda” (lift up your hearts) when Poland was partitioned or under occupation.

On the walls inside you will see plaques commemorating ceremonial services, patriotic demonstrations and funerals of eminent Polish writers, priests and political activists that have taken place there. Passing the beautiful sculptures and paintings, remember that in the past, aristocrats, kings and presidents have all prayed in this place. In 1683, King Jan III Sobieski prayed there before the victorious expedition to Vienna, and on 3 May 1792, ceremonies took place on the anniversary of the adoption of the first European Constitution.

Enjoy the huge main altar decorated with gold, see the side chapels and find the place where the heart of the outstanding Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin rests. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, the entire church resounds with the sounds of Mozart’s Requiem.

If you want to learn more about the history of this extraordinary temple, go down to the crypt, where you’ll find here the tombs of many people associated with it. Do you know that Świętokrzyska Street took its name from this church?

Krakowskie Przedmieście, po lewej stronie Bazylika Świętego Krzyża, spacerują ludzie, słoneczny dzień, lato.
Kościół Św. Krzyża, fot. Filip Kwiatkowski