Church of the Annunciation

  ul. Loretańska 11 ,   Old Town          (+48) 12 422 48 03     02 Feb 2024
The Capuchins, every coffee lover’s favourite religious order (the cappuccino was named after the colour of their hooded robes), run this modest church on the outside of the Planty greenbelt. Reminiscent of Capuchin churches back in sunny Tuscany in terms of style and design, though the church is short on decorative artistry, it's rich in history. Founded by standard-bearer Wojciech Dembliński (whose sarcophagus, epitaph, and portrait can all be found inside) soon after the Capuchins first arrived in Kraków in 1695, the first mass was performed here in 1700. Around the premises are several military epitaphs, commemorative plaques and other mementoes of Polish pro-independence uprisings, making the church a bit of a patriotic pilgrimage site. Most notable are a cannonball from the time of the Bar Confederation (1768-1772, an uprising which led to the First Partition of Poland) stuck in a pillar to the left of the church's main altar; several confederates are buried in a collective tomb in front of the church. In 1794 Tadeusz Kościuszko and Józef Wybicki gathered here for a holy mass and had their sabres blessed before declaring the Kościuszko Uprising against Russian rule on Kraków's market square; a plaque on the exterior wall commemorates the sword blessing.

Adjoining the church is a 'Loreto House' - a small chapel dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary. Designed by Kacper Bażanka the chapel is modelled after the Santa Casa in Loreto, which is purported to be the Virgin Mary's original stone house from Nazareth - which according to Catholic dogma was picked up and flown by angels from the Holy Land to Italy in the 13th century, in order to protect it from Muslims. Or perhaps the Italians just built a place to worship Mary in Loreto in the 13th century, just like the Poles did at this site in the 18th century. It's your brain, you decide.

Note that from December 24th until February 2nd each year, the Capuchin church sets up one of the city's most popular and elaborate nativity scenes - worth checking out.
The church's moving nativity scene, featuring Kościuszko, Sobieski and other national heroes, is a minor attraction each winter.

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Open 06:30 - 11:00 and 16:30 - 20:00; no visiting during mass please.


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