Follow the crowds up the many gruelling flights of Sigismund's Tower to reach the infamous Sigismund Bell - a resounding symbol of Polish nationalism ala Philadelphia's Liberty Bell. The largest by far of five bells hanging in the same tower, Sigismund's Bell weighs in at an astounding 12.6 total tonnes (9650 kgs just for the bronze bell itself), measures 241cm in height, 242cm across at the lip and varies from 7 to 21cm thick. The bronze beauty was cast in 1520 on the orders of King Sigismund I and is adorned in reliefs of St. Stanisław and St. Sigismund as well as the coat of arms of Poland and Lithuania. Rung to this day on religious and national holidays, as well as significant moments in history (like the funeral of former President Lech Kaczyński and his wife) the bell's peal can be heard 30km (18.6 miles) away and is quite an enterprise to ring, requiring the strength of twelve strong men; a dangerous job, the bell-tollers are actually lifted from the ground by the force of the bell, resulting in at least one famous accident when a toller was flung from the tower to his death during the interwar period.
Visiting Sigismund Bell
The entrance to Sigismund Belltower is within the Cathedral and tickets (good for the Royal Crypts as well) are purchased at the ticket office across from the Cathedral's main entrance. There are 144 steps to the top of the tower, and no elevator.
Average visiting time: 20mins.