As with most ancient Cracovian landmarks, there are a fair few legends associated with the Norbertine Monastery. The first is to do with Saint Bronisława herself, who after being visited by the Holy Spirit and warned of an impending Tartar attack (which back in those days was a bit like having the Lord tell you that the sun was going to come up tomorrow), managed to rally the Sisters to safety in the adjacent hills which now bear her name. The monastery was of course destroyed and Saint Bronisława spent the rest of her days mending the spirits of those sceptical of a God that would send Tartars to burn their homes every damn weekend. She died in 1259.
Another legend regards the Norbertine Cathedral bell and its mournful, murky tone. Story goes that between attacks by the Tartar hordes, a punishing storm struck the area destroying a nearby ferry crossing. As the Good Sisters lay dreaming of the swift new boat they would soon put in the water, they were awoken by the Tartar alarm (something like a cat being strangled) to witness all the merchants of Zwierzyniec hastening to the ferry crossing to escape the mounted brutes hot on their heels. Finding no such ferry all the merchants were skewered or drowned in the Wisła River, except for one who could swim apparently. To honour his extinct people, the lonely merchant commissioned a bell for the tower of the Sisters’ ravaged monastery. After several failed attempts to cast the bell, the bell-maker took his own life ashamed of the crack that kept appearing on its surface. Sans bell-maker, the Sisters accepted the flawed bell interpreting it as a symbol of the fractured lives of those it was meant to remember. Once erected atop the chapel tower, the Tartars swiftly arrived to toss the bell into the river (those jerks!). Legend claims that each year on St. John’s Night (June 23rd) the sunken, beleaguered bell can be heard tolling its Tartar-cursing chime until midnight when the clock on the Market Square sounds.