Also know as the 'Church on the Rock,' this gorgeous riverside sanctuary is one of the most important religious sites in Poland. It was here - or rather at the Romanesque church that once stood here - that the Bishop of Kraków, Saint Stanisław of Szczepanów, was beheaded on the order of King Bolesław II; soon after, the king was exiled and the royal family fell under a curse. To appease the spirit of the wronged bishop, the family rebuilt this church and made annual pilgrimages here from Wawel to atone for the murder - a tradition which continues to this day each May 8th. Since 1472 a monastic order of Pauline Fathers has resided at Skałka, and in the 18th century the church received a Baroque refurb, which endures to this day. Stanisław was canonised in 1253, becoming the patron saint not only of Kraków, but of Poland. Inside an altar marks the place where he was killed and includes the wood stump upon which he is said to have been quartered. The pool where his remains were thrown still stands outside the church, elegantly adorned with a sculpture of the saint from the 17th century, and the waters bubbling out the fountain there are said to have healing properties. In 2008, the ‘Three Millennia Altar’ was built in the courtyard of the church; controversial for destroying the once-intimate atmosphere of this religious site (it’s ugly), the outdoor altar features four-metre monuments of St. Stanisław, St. John Paul II, St. Faustyna, St. Jadwiga, St. Adalbert, St. Jan Kanty, and Abbot Augustyn Kordecki. The crypt at Skałka (open 09:00 - 17:00; Nov - March by prior arrangement only) is also a national pantheon for distinguished Poles, and includes the remains of composer Karol Szymanowski, writer Czesław Miłosz, painters Stanisław Wyspiański and Jacek Malczewski, among others.
John Paul II Monument at Skałka
West end of ul. Skałeczna