One of my very first sights when I visited Poland for the first time was the Mariacki Church. The splendour of the Rynek Główny in Kraków, Europe’s largest market square, is crowned by this church. Later, on a guided tour given by my neice Weronika, we crept respectfully around the aisles and I looked up in awe.
The blue ceiling covered in stars was so joyous. I almost said heavenly but that sounds too corny, however true. I’d never before seen anything like it.
The showpiece of the church is the Veit Stoss Altar, depicted on these postcards. With great ceremony the altar is opened at noon each day to reveal the exquisite carvings beneath.
St. Mary’s Church, or Kościół Mariacki, dates from the 14th century and stands 262 feet tall (80m). Today it draws the crowds largely for the appearance of the trumpeter, who performs hourly at the top of the taller of the two towers. The sad little notes die away abruptly. According to legend this commemorates the trumpeter who was pierced through the throat while sounding the alarm for an impending Mongol attack on the city. These days it’s a happy occasion and he waves to the cheering crowd below before disappearing.
I don’t often use video clips in my posts but I accidentally came across this one and loved it. The commentary is in Polish, but you get to see the trumpeter in close up.
The noon-time trumpet call, known as the Hejnał mariacki, is broadcast across the nation by Polish Radio 1. More details are on this Wikipedia link.
Marysia is one of my Polish cousins. In the very early days of our reunion with the Polish family I received a lovely email from her, introducing herself and family to me. She is married to Pawel, a musician with a wicked sense of humour. They have a daughter, Kasia, and son, Michał (do you remember that the last letter is pronounced “w”?)
Marysia is another of Zygmunt and Lodzia’s daughters. (I posted about them in L is for Lusia, Lodzia and Lodz) She lives in the village of Zawady, near to Dad’s original old farmstead, but Marysia and Pawel have a beautiful modern home. Within the family there are many skills, and when it comes to home-making, these are readily shared. Piotrek, Marysia’s brother, is a fine carpenter and the polished wood floors and banisters are all his work.
Kasia was only 20 when we first met, and had spent the Summer working in Nottingham, to help pay for her university studies. This was an enormous coincidence as my daughter lives in Nottingham. You can imagine her astonishment when I produced a Polish cousin living virtually on her doorstep! A meetup was arranged, of course.
Kasia has now completed her education and, at the time of writing, is working in Germany. Her younger brother is still studying. Marysia herself runs a lovely little boutique in Bełchatów. Confused yet? I often am, too!
It just remains for me to thank Julie Dawn Fox, who began the Personal A-Z Challenge, and Frizz, who has welcomed me into his A-Z Challenge too. This week it’s “mmm”! Follow the links to find out more, and maybe join in?