Getting busted by a nun was the best thing that could have happened to us in Sandomierz. Because of our bus snafu in Zamość, we arrived later than expected and rushed our tour of the town.
Now just look how funky this town hall is, one of those types of buildings that every generation adds something new to. This one kept on growing and changing from the 1300’s to the 1600’s.
I’m a huge fan of the janky bricks on the town hall’s façade.
I expected Sandomierz to be a Gothic town and so I almost smacked myself when we discovered this outstanding Renaissance school, c. 1602. This is one of the oldest (continually operating!) schools in Poland. I wish we could have gone inside.
There are Camino churches in Sandiomierz too, which caused me to wonder, for the gazillioth time on this trip, are there really people who walk all the way to Spain from Poland? What kind of walking shoes are these people wearing and where can I buy them?
Oh, I know, the pilgrims don’t walk, they skateboard to Spain.
I like big buttresses and I cannot lie.
We were eager to get a look inside the Sandomierz cathedral, which was built in the late 1300’s. Here we had the same challenge as with almost every church in Poland: there always seems to be a mass in progress and once the final mass is over, the church closes. Oh, and no photos of the interior are allowed. Why Poland, why?
Our visit coincided with the end of mass and the church was due to close soon, which was a massive bummer since the interior is jammed with fascinating art. A nun came out with her keys ready to lock up and I’m not proud to say we tried to hide from her, behind a pillar in the back of the church. Nuntheless (see what I did there?) the nun found us and walked briskly in our direction: busted. But instead of yelling at us, the wonderful lady spoke to us in perfect English and asked us if we had any questions about the church. I did have questions, as a matter of fact, about the art, which she answered and then she left for a minute and came back with a gift of postcards of the church interior.
I was especially interested to hear about the church sculptures. At first, my eyes had skipped over the putti, angels and Madonnas, since most Baroque sculpture of this genre is predictably formulaic. However, I soon noticed how weird and compellingly mannered these sculptures are. I could only find this one reproduction on Wikimedia Commons. You can see how strange this putto is, with his male pattern baldness, sloping shoulders and pot belly. The nun told us the artist is Maciej Polejowski and I’d just love to see more of his work.
The rear wall of the church has an anti-Semitic painting called Blood Libel (also reproduced from Wikimedia Commons). It depicts Jews using the blood of Christian children to make matzo. The church has a explanatory wall label saying this image is not accurate, that Jews did not kill Christian babies to make matzo. I’m glad the church has the label, though I want to believe there are very few people left who actually believe this anti-Semitic crap—if so, let’s hope the nice nun sets them straight.
How we got to Sandomierz: minibus from Zamość (with a stopover in Lublin)
Where we slept: Pokoje Goscinne na Szlak a Jablkowyn. Price: €42 for a double. Recommended: yes