The Cathedral

Portal with door.

The entrance to the church has always been one of the most important parts of the building, interpreted symbolically. The grandest portals sometimes had the door cast in bronze or other metal alloys. This tradition originates in ancient Rome. The Cracow door is adorned with multiple monogram of Kazimierz the Great under the crown, which suggests the king’s involvement in the project of building the cathedral. The ruler used the letter “K” on his coins and seals. The popularity of monograms in mediaeval art is connected with the great importance attached to names in the propaganda of the royal power. The last ruler of the Piast dynasty on the Polish throne gave his name to some cities, like Alexander the Great. This was the case of Kaziiierz near Cracow and Kazimierz on the Vistula. Other cities which received their charters under his reign had the letter “K” in their emblems (Tymbark and Grybów). The door to Wawel Cathedral is one of the best known symbols of Cracow and the initial adorning them is generally considered the city’s initial.

We are all well aware that to enter this Cathedral can not be without emotion. More I say, you can not enter it without the internal tremor, without fear because it contains in it - as in almost no Cathedral of the world - the enormous size, which speaks to us in all our history, our entire past.

cardinal Karol Wojtyla
8 March 1964