Kraków Sightseeing

Cistercian Monastery

Located in what remains of the sleepy village of Mogiła that Nowa Huta was plunked down upon, the ancient Cistercian Monastery, with its two adjoining churches, was the closest place of worship to Plac Centralny until Arka Pana Church was finally consecrated in 1977. The vast and splendid Holy Cross Basilica and the adjoining Cistercian cloister, which date way, way back to 1266, are recognised as among the most important religious buildings in Małopolska. During the Renaissance the monastery was well known for its master painters and the huge interior of Holy Cross Basilica as well as the monastery library feature many fine works from the period. Most importantly, Holy Cross Basilica also stores the famous Cross of Mogiła - the source of many miraculous legends. Said to have been discovered when a blacksmith's son jumped into the Wisła River to save what he thought to be a drowning man floating downstream, the cross was brought to the monastery and quickly began building a reputation for miracles before cementing them when it was the only part of the church's furnishings not destroyed by the fire of 1447, despite being made of wood. Christ's hair and loincloth were burned however, and ever since that time he has donned a wrap of true fabric and a wig of real human hair. Weird. The monastery is easily accessed from Plac Centralny via tram 70; get off at the Klasztorna stop and it's a short walk south.

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