Cathedral of SS John the Baptist & John the Evangelist


Toruń’s mammoth Gothic cathedral was begun around 1260 but only completed at the end of the 15th century. Its massive tower houses Poland’s second-largest historic bell, the Tuba Dei (God’s Trumpet). On the southern side of the tower, facing the Vistula, is a large 15th-century clock; its original face and single hand are still in working order. Check out the dent above the VIII – it’s from a cannonball that struck the clock during the Swedish siege of 1703.

The light-filled interior is lined with elaborate altars and topped with whitewashed vaulting. Its most striking murals are the monochrome paintings set high at the back of each aisle, which depict a monk and a devil or plague figure. Created by an unknown artist, the black-and-white style is highly unusual for this kind of church art.

The high altar, adorned with a Gothic triptych and topped with a crucifix, has as a background a superb stained-glass window in the best medieval style. The first aisle chapel on the right as you enter holds the oldest object in the church, the font where Copernicus was baptised. To one side is his epitaph.

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