Tuesday 31 January 2012

The Trumpeter of Kraków

St Mary's Basilica in Kraków is possibly the most famous of Poland's churches and has been used as the model for many others built in other countries around the world.  Originally built in the 13th century, it has been enlarged and changed over the years but it still has three stained glass windows from the 14th century.

It is probably best known for its wooden altarpiece, the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world, which was carved during the 15th century.  Just before the outbreak of WWII, it was dismantled and the parts hidden in different places.  However they were found and transported probably to Berlin. In 1946 it was found in the basement of Nuremberg Castle and returned to Kraków.

Every hour a trumpeter sounds the "Hejnał mariacki", "St Mary's Dawn", from the highest tower.  The tune stops suddenly to commemorate the 13th century trumpeter who was shot in the throat by an arrow, while sounding the alarm before the city was attacked.  It is broadcast on radio throughout Poland and around the world at midday.
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