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Holy Cross Church (Warsaw, Poland)

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Roman Catholic church located in Warsaw, Poland.

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      23.04.2011 16:01
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      A church you can't miss

      You really can't miss this building. It is so recognisable owing to a coal black monument of Jesus Christ bearing a heavy cross with the inscription Sursum Corda (Lift up your hearts). When you look down Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street in Warsaw this is one of the features that really stands out. The scene of the street and the church haven't really changed since the early 18th century paintings by Bernardo Bellotto (also known as Canaletto) who at the time was painter to the last king of Poland. In the street just across the road from the church is a copy of one of his street paintings mounted on a glass board. I have looked at it several times and am always amazed of its authenticity and how KP Street (my nickname for the street) really hasn't changed at all apart from modern paving stones and street lamps.

      The church itself was erected in the years from 1679-96 and to approach the front portal you have to climb several stone steps. Before entering just stop and take time to look at the black monument of Christ as it really is stunning and you can imagine the weight of the heavy cross on his shoulders.

      There is a very important treasure in this church and it can be found embedded in the first pillar on the left on the main nave. It is an urn containing the heart of Polish national composer, Frederyk Chopin, who died in Paris in 1849. His heart was brought here from France by his sister, Ludwika. The Holy Cross Church was somewhere Frederyk used to visit to play the organ when he was young.

      Another urn contains the heart of writer Wladyslaw Reymont, a Polish novelist who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1924 for his novel, Chłopi.

      The church has a history for holding patriotic performances and still does, and as a result the epitaphs of several famous Poles may be found inside. especially those of the writers B Prus and the poets, JI Kraszewski and J Slowacki.

      The Holy Cross Church is quite a stunning piece of architecture but for me it isn't the building I love the most but the monument of Christ which is so fantastic. The quality of the work is unbelievable; the thorns on his head - you can sense just how sharp they are without touching them and the way his robe wraps around his body, flows from his raised arm and around his bent knee. Absolutely stunning!

      Unfortunately, this particular church is a bit of a tourist trap and because of this you will often see beggars situated at the bottom of the steps of the church. They are harmless enough but can be persistent.

      Again this building is on Warsaw's famous street, Krakowskie Przedmiescie and easy to find. Tram to the Old Town (13,23,26). takes 4 or 5 minutes walk from Plac Zamkowy.

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