St. Mary's Church – The body of the church

The body of the church

The main element of the façade of St Mary's Church are two towers of different heights, squeezing a late-baroque porch between them. Higher tower, the so-called Hejnalica, 81-meter long, covered with a gothic helmet made in 1478 r. by Maciej Heringh, with sixteen colorful turrets and a golden crown. This tower has long been the property of the commune and served as the municipal watchtower, from which they watched the enemies approaching the city. This is where the bugle call of St. Mary, which is won every hour on the trumpet, sounds to the four corners of the world.

Lower tower, counting 69 m, which used to be the church belfry, is hidden by the Half-cycle bell, coming from 1438 r. Outside, from the front there is a small bell under the roof – "Bell for the dying" – made in 1736 r., who heralded someone's death. W 1592 r. the lower tower is decorated with a late Renaissance cupola in the shape of an elliptical dome surrounded by four smaller domes, finished with an openwork lantern.

From the stone embrace of the two towers, it extends its light structure of a porch – An 18th-century work by Francesco Placidi – mimicking the architecture of Christ's Tomb in Jerusalem. Above it is a large pointed-arched window. The mass of St. Mary's Church is mostly made of brick, in places brightened with details of light stone. On the section of the outer walls of the nave, where side chapels were added between the slopes, the structure sticks to the ground firmly, but at the height of the presbytery, the walls break free of this squat, to shoot without embarrassment with gothic slenderness. In the upper parts, countless details can be seen around the cornices: turrets, fancy mascarons, sculptures on supports and consoles, and of course, the inherent pigeons that populate everything, what their claws will catch. It is worth walking around the church, to see a monument of the medieval judiciary attached to the south wall and a sundial constructed in 1682 r.

The Latin inscription under the shield reads: “Our days as a shadow on earth, and you have no renewal”. On the north side there is a bronze plaque dedicated to Jan III Sobieski and a painting of Our Lady of Graces (above the door to the north entrance) founded in 1709 r. as a token of gratitude after the plague has passed.

Anyway, the bugle call melody is very simple, because it's based on five sounds, suddenly breaks off in the middle of the last phrase. This tradition goes back to the legend from the times of the Tatar invasions, when is the guard, wanting to warn the inhabitants of Krakow against the approaching invaders, the bugle call began, but halfway through the melody, a Tatar arrow hit him in the throat. In the old days, apart from the bugle call, four or five church songs were played every day.

For several dozen years at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. the bugle call was not played due to the lack of funds to pay the bugle caller. The generosity of the spouses Tomasz and Julianna Krzyżanowski allowed 1810 r. to restore tradition, and from 1927 r. every day at noon the bugle call is broadcast by Polish Radio.