St John's the Baptist Archcathedral - Warsaw
Everyday (except Sundays and holidays) organ concerts.
St John's the Baptist Archcathedral is Best For
Directions to St John's the Baptist Archcathedral
One of the oldest churches in Warsaw, the arch-cathedral of St John the Baptist in the Old Town is also its foremost. Originally dating back to the late 14th century in a Gothic style, the church has been remodelled and rebuilt numerous times over the centuries. The place where kings and queens were crowned, and many famous Poles are buried, St John's holds a pre-eminent place in Polish history.
After its near total destruction in the Second World War, it was decided to rebuild the cathedral in its 14th century Gothic form, rather than the Baroque style that had existed pre-war. Fortunately a large number of the art works survived the war intact and can be seen inside. The brick façade has a striking simplicity that makes it immediately recognisable. Internally the cathedral has three naves, with a number of chapels along the left-hand aisle. Its somewhat austere elegance is in stark contrast to the bustling crowded streets outside.
Beneath the main aisle are the crypts, which contain the tombs of, among others, the last Polish king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski; pianist, composer and President of Poland, Jan Ignacy Paderewski; and primate Stefan Wyszynski, who was an early hero in the Polish Catholic Church's struggles for recognition under the Communists.
Since 1994, the annual 'Arch Cathedral Organ' International Organ Music festival has taken place there, popular with lovers of organ music. Considered one of the essential sights for visitors to Warsaw, the cathedral of St John the Baptist represents much of Poland's tumultuous history of the last six hundred years.