Monday, April 9, 2018

Krakow Pilgrimage- Day Six- Salt, Light and the Dominicans

I began the day going to Mass at St. Mary's. I then caught a nice breakfast over at Cafe Camelot. After my healthy start I went over to the Dominican Monastery Church again to get a closer look of what I missed the first time. The Dominicans arrived in Krakow from Bologna in 1222. The first church started in the middle of the 13th century and was finished in the 15th century. Unfortunately it burned down in 1850 and had to be rebuilt. This Church is under monumental restoration. They are restoring the main altar and some of the side altars. This means you cannot see some of the treasures here. I did however make it over to the south side chapel, the Rosary Chapel. There is a replica of the image in St Mary Major, Rome at the entrance. In 1688 the image was moved from Khotyn where the image was revered for giving victory in 1621 over the Turks. It was moved because the bishop brought it with him when he came to Krakow. I also went into the hall of the courtyard that contains many pictures of the Dominicans. I still need to try and see the other chapel on the north side sometime this week. I am not sure who many of the Saints are in the pictures. I wonder who the one is who is chasing everyone with a whip? I had to take two of pictures of the one! The Dominicans are my favorite order and Saint Dominic has been so good to me!

Its good to start off the day with a healthy breakfast! 

Side altar of St. Catherine of Siena

Our Lady of the Rosary 

Who are these Saints? 
Ecce Homo.
Who is he?

I think St Vincent Ferrer!
St Dominic

After visiting the Dominicans I took a trip on a shuttle over to the salt mine on the outskirts of Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Its about a 30 minute ride. Salt is what put Krakow on the map as far as trade and wealth goes. For over 700 years these mines were in operation continuously, until recently where it is now preserved as a museum. Once again, the Polish have done an amazing job here. A three hour tour of the mines proved interesting and in keeping with Polish heritage, Catholicism is also connected with the mines. Of course most of the miners were Catholic. There were three however who spent 70 years working on a carved salt chapel over 300 feet under the ground, St. Kinga's Chapel. There were also some small chapels along the way as well. Its inspiring to see that these Catholic men although working hundreds of feet below ground brought the light of Christ with them into the darkness! For me this was the highlight of the adventure. 

Going down!
The story of the founding of the mines, carved in salt. 
King Kazimir in salt. 
I had no idea that they stabled horses hundreds of feet underground!

Further down!
Miners brought wood carved images to make chapels underground. 

The main chapel underground is simply astounding. Everything you see in these pictures is carved out of the salt in the mine. Even what appears to be glass on the chandeliers are pieces of salt!

The light shines through the salt lighting up Our Lady! 

Underground lake.

After returning to the city center after the trip I sat down and had dinner. I hit a couple of books stores and then prayed the Rosary in the Dominican church on the way back to the hotel. Another blessed day! 

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