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he ongoing project, “Heritage of St. Mary’s Basilica: Conservation of Church Tower Facades and the Spire with the Royal Crown,” has commenced at St. Mary’s Parish. The initial phase focuses on restoring the historic royal crown located on the spire of the higher tower of St. Mary’s Church. The crown, absent from its perch for a period, is now undergoing necessary conservation efforts.
The 17th-century royal crown from the tower has been successfully refurbished and is now being reassembled atop the spire
Archpriest Father Dariusz Raś emphasizes the crown’s need for conservation after a 25-year interval since its last restoration. This endeavor aligns well with the 45th anniversary celebration of Kraków’s Historic Centre being inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The project aims to underline the basilica’s role in this event and strives to have the crown ready by September.
The restoration commenced by expertly removing the gilded crown from the spire using alpinist techniques. The comprehensive conservation encompasses all crown elements, with a focal task being its galvanic regilding. Katarzyna Pakuła-Major, a conservator of artistic collections, cites natural degradation and atmospheric influences as contributors to the crown’s current state. The primary objective is to halt deterioration and restore the crown’s full aesthetic allure.
A consortium led by CONEKS Sp. z o.o. Sp. k. from Warsaw, along with other firms, was chosen through a tender process. Dr. Jarosław Adamowicz oversees the conservation work, with Katarzyna Pakuła-Major acting as the Inspector of Conservation Supervision. Simultaneously, restoration activities are ongoing for various tower elements, including wooden platforms, stonework, and roofing.
The multi-year “Heritage of St. Mary’s Basilica” project, spanning from 2023 to 2025, exemplifies a dedicated commitment to preserving the historical and artistic significance of St. Mary’s Basilica, encapsulating its rich history and cultural value.
In June, the parish priest of the Basilica of St. Mary, Dariusz Raś, pointed out that the crown underwent its last renovation 25 years ago. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the historic center of Krakow being inscribed on UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
The conservation cost for the crown amounts to approximately 600,000 PLN, with most of the funding coming from the National Fund for the Revitalization of Krakow’s Monuments. 18% of the funds come from the parish’s own contribution. The restoration is part of the project “Heritage of the Basilica of St. Mary: Conservation of the Church’s Tower Facades and the Higher Tower’s Spire with the Royal Crown,” taking place from 2023 to 2025.