Church of St. Andrew in Krakow

The Church of St. Andrew is the oldest church not only in Krakow, but also in the whole of Poland. Its exterior has remained unchanged to this day, and the interior was reconstructed in the Baroque style in the 18th century. The Monastery of St. Clare is attached to the Church of St. Andrew, where church relics of the early Middle Ages are kept. 

The Church of St. Andrew was built in the period from 1079 to 1098. It is located 200 meters north of Wawel Castle. In those years, the city of Krakow did not yet exist. The town of Wawel was located on the hill, and the town of Okol was located on the site of the Church of St. Andrew. A century later, Okol and Wawel merged into a single city of Krakow. 

In the 11th century, the Romanesque style prevailed in the church architecture of Europe, however, the Church of St. Andrew was built not just in the Romanesque style, but has the appearance of a small fortress. The thickness of its walls reaches 1.6 meters. In the first centuries, it was even fenced with a moat and embankment. The inhabitants called it the Lower Castle, while the Wawel Castle was the Upper one. 

During the invasion of the Mongol-Tatar troops in 1241, they captured Krakow, but they did not storm the church of St. Andrew, and the residents of the city of Okol, who took refuge inside it, were saved.  Two octagonal towers in the German Romanesque style rise above the Church of St. Andrew. They are equipped with niches for archers who could protect the church. 

The Romanesque interior of the Church of St. Andrew in the 18th century was completely reconstructed in the Baroque style. The work was led by the Italian architect Balthazar Fontana.  

Next to the Church of St. Andrew in the 18th century, the Jesuit Order built the Church of Peter and Paul. It was designed in the Baroque style and is now the largest and most beautiful Baroque church in Krakow.