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Giant Sigismund Bell of Krakow


In Krakow you can see, and actually even touch, an equal of the London bell of the Houses of Parliament. Huge Zygmunt (Sigismund) bell, Dzwon Zygmunta in Polish, is nearly 9 feet across too. At the same time Krakow’s Big Sig is a third heavier, weighing 18 metric tons. It is also some 350 years older than its English counterpart, having been cast in Krakow in 1520.

The giant which ranks among the world's largest bells is one of the many attractions of the Wawel Cathedral (Katedra Wawelska) in Krakow. It's decorated with reliefs of St. Stanislav and St. Sigismund as well as the arms of Poland and Lithuania. It was donated to the Wawel Cathedral by Sigismund I the Old, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, when Krakow was the Polish capital. "Big Sig" still is where it was hung in 1521, i.e. at the top of a 14th-century tower turned into the Cathedral's belfry near the Wawel Royal Castle. The beautifully deep toll of the huge Sigismund Bell is heard far away on important Church holidays and at the historic moments for the nation. And it needs the strength of ten men to ring the giant bell every Christmas, New Year Day or Easter Sunday.