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Bernardine monastery in the Stradom district - Zabytek.pl

Kraków, Bernardyńska 2

woj. małopolskie, pow. m. Kraków, gm. Kraków

Stradom was suburbs one day, inhabited by minor officials of the Wawel Royal Complex.Its recent shape is a result of the 19th-century construction boom.

The most valuable structure in this region is Bernardine monastery with church of St Bernardino of Siena, with uniform 17th-century fittings. The Dance Macabre painting (in the left nave) is particularly worth attention.


The Bernardine convent was built in the 15th century (in 1473, the first print in Poland was produced here - a 1474 calendar), but the existing structure dates back to the 2nd half of the 17th century. The original wooden church was built on a plot of land donated by cardinal Oleśnicki and his brother, Jan of Oleśnica with a dedication to St Giovanni da Capestrano. In 1454, the plot of the Oleśnicki brothers were extended by the adjacent land, purchased by Casimir IV Jagiellon. At this time, the order decided to commence the construction of a brick church. The work was supervised by Jan Długosz, the executor of the bishop’s will. The rectangular chancel of the church faced west. In front of the church, there was a tower with a pyramid tented roof. Unfortunately, monastery buildings with the church were destroyed in 1473 by fire (at that time, the church’s construction was probably not finished yet). This event extended the period of construction of the church. As late as in 1501, city councillor Paul Ber founded the body, sacristy, and refectory. In 1542, flooding from the Vistula River damaged the buildings. Similar disasters recurred many times. In 1556, the monks salvaged the convent from fire with great difficulty. In the years 1645-1647, a decision was taken to convert the church body. The works included, among other things, installation of new vaulting and roofs, and new tombs. The Bernardine monastery, rather modest to that time, was extended. Unfortunately, during the siege of Cracow by Swedes (1655), Stefan Czarnecki, who led the defence, ordered to burn down the suburbs so that they not provide cover to the enemy. The monks were only given time to take movables and empty the library and archives.


The construction of the new Bernardine church, founded by Stanisław Witowski, the castellan of Standomierz, took place in the years 1659-1680. The church was adopted for defensive purposes and incorporated into the perimeter of fortifications. The Gothic building was replaced by a two-tower Baroque church. Also the monastery buildings were subjected to full-scale works. The Bernardine monks were introduced to new buildings in 1676. In 1680, the new church was consecrated. The new complex was built in accordance with the architectura militaris principles - e.g. the height of the body was lowered (by immersing the cupola in the roof. The interior’s décor was supplemented still in the 18th century. The preserved fittings include an altar from black marble dedicated to Blessed Simon of Lipnica, a work of an eminent master from Cracow, Jacek Zielaski, and paintings of Bernardine painter Franciszek Lekszycki (+1668): “The Last Supper”, “Jesus Falls the First Time”, “Crucifixion” and a couple of smaller ones, with the above mentioned “Dance Macabre” among them.In the years 1728-1732, a chapel of Bernardine sisters was created at the Bernardine church. The nuns accessed the chapel from their small monastery via a small porch, more than 80m long, running above the present Koletek Street. In 1755, the renovation works in the church, and repair of the tented roof on the clock tower were started. During the adaptation works in the monastery, the northern wing was converted: the upper floor was liquidated and buttresses were added from the garth. In 1758-1765, tombs were built under the church. In 1766, in connection with the construction of a decorative gate from Stradom Street, a contract was concluded with stonemason Franciszek Czwierzewicz and woodcarver Mateusz Szeps for seven stone statues, and with Wojciech Trepkowski for carpentry work; the works were completed in 1767. At that time, a wall running from the new gate to the monastery wicket gate was built. In 1637, curator Leonard Starczewski founded a monastery well dedicated to Blessed Simon of Lipnica. Initially, it was an ordinary well casing which only in 1907 gained an artistic character. In mid-16th century, a monastic garden of irregular, trapezoidal shape was created. In the end of the 16th century, the gardens were extended to the west and enclosed by an oval fencing. In the 17th century, basic features of the garden in the form preserved until today were shaped. It was the time of construction boom in the wake of damages inflicted by the Swedish Deluge. The cemetery was converted and over time, its function was changed, and “large” paterres of Italian type were partitioned (around mid-century) into a number of smaller ones. In 1734, a little square (from the east) in front of the church, which once had been a custodian cemetery, was cleaned. Around it, Stations of the Cross are arranged. In 1813, severe flooding destroyed the monastic garden which went under water at least 1 m deep. The eastern wing of the monastery building, damaged by water, was dismantled in 1822-1839.

Services on Sundays and holidays: 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 16.00, 18.30. Services on weekdays: 6.00, 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 18.30. The church is available most of the day; the monastery and gardens cannot be visited (except for the archives).

compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 20-03-2015.


  • J. Bogdanowski, Ogród OO. Bernardynów. Studium konserwatorskie. Niekompletny maszynopis w Archiwum Prowincji Krakowskiej OO. Bernardynów
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  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. I, Województwo krakowskie, pod red. J. Szablowskiego, Warszawa 1953, s. 524-525.
  • Łoziński J. Z., A. Miłobędzki, Atlas zabytków architektury w Polsce, Warszawa 1967, s. 116.
  • Marcinek R., Ogród konwentu OO. Bernardynów na Stradomiu, Kraków 2002.
  • Mastalerzówna M., Przedmieście Stradom w wiekach średnich [w:] Studia nad przedmieściami Krakowa. Kraków 1938
  • Rożek M.,, Przewodnik po zabytkach i kulturze Krakowa, Warszawa-Kraków 2000, s. 534-538
  • Sikora L., Szwedzi i Siedmiogrodzianie w Krakowie 1655 - 1657. Kraków 1908
  • Tomkowicz S., Powiat krakowski, Teka Grona Konserwatorów Galicji Zachodniej, 2, Kr. 1906, s. 6-7;

Category: monastery

Building material:  kamienne

Protection: Register of monuments

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_12_BK.205650