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Sigismund (Dzwon Zygmunta) is Poland’s most famous bell. Its fine and clear sound has symbolically announced both Poland’s and Europe’s most important historic events for more than 500 years.
The Royal Bell is located in the Sigismund Tower (Wieża Zygmuntowska) of the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow; it weighs 11 tonnes (24,250 lbs), its diameter is 2.5 m (8.2 ft), and its height is 1.99 m (6.52 feet). It had been Poland’s largest bell until 2000, when it was outsized by the bell called Mary the Mother of God (Maryja Bogurodzica) from the Marian sanctuary in Lichen. From among ten other bells in Krakow, the Sigismund has always been the most important one, distinguished by its unique sound.
The bell was commissioned by king Sigismund I the Old and cast by a Nuremberg bellmaker in 1520. The body of the bell is decorated with images of the saints and Polish and Lithuanians national emblems. According to one source, the bell was cast from trophy cannons, and therefore it is sometimes associated with Poland’s times of splendour.
For centuries, the Sigismund has functioned as a national symbol. A legend has it that its clear sound signifies peace and prosperity for Poland, while a discordant sound signifies a failure. Should the clapper break, as it occurred on a number of occasions in the Polish history, it foreshadows a disaster and misfortune.
Some say that touching the clapper of the Sigismund brings you luck; hence, in addition to the opportunity to see a great relic of the past, every tourist has the chance of winning favour with the fortune.
Sigismund Bell, Wawel Cathedral, Małopolskie Province.
Krakow's Old Town