Opátstvo Święty Krzyż  

The oldest route, the so-called Royal way, leads to the Holy Cross abbey from the east, from Nowa Slupia. Climbing  the peak one can see the walls and 18th century monumental gate crowned on both sides by volute tops. On entering the abbey one can see a free-standing bell tower. This was built at the end of 18th century in a neoclassical style. In front of the gate there is a church. The monastery is situated on the northern side of the church. The façade of the monastery is distinguished by the Olesnicki chapel.

The one-nave church has a rectangular plan, without a transept. The eastern elevation is divided into three parts and the central part has the form of an avant-corps. On the side axes there are cartouches with the coats of arms of the abbots and coat of arms of the abbey (a double cross, the so-called patriarchal cross). The western façade has three parts too. On its axis there are alcoves. The lower part includes a marble portal leading to the interior. Sculptures of priests and a knight originating from the older church were placed on both sides of the portal.

The main portal leads to the vestibule where there is an iron spiral staircase to the choir and the poorly legible tombstone plaque to abbot Maliszewski. The next portal leads to the interior of the church. It is maintained in bright colours. The double span chancel is separated from the nave. In the classicist main altar is a painting by Franciszek Smuglewicz representing the Holy Trinity. Tabernacle held by angels is the form of a sphere decorated with wheatears and grapes. By the walls of the presbytery were placed the 18th century wooden stalls . In the southern part of the nave there is a pulpit with a representation of Moses and John the Baptist.

The spans of the nave are limited by Tuscan pillars. Between the pilasters, in the alcoves, altars with paintings by Smuglewicz were placed. On the right  are the following scenes: Mary crushing a serpent’s head, the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helen, St. Benedict before  death. On the left: St. Joseph, St. Emeric talking to an angel, the meeting of St. Scholastic and Benedict. Above the pictures there is an entablature with a frieze designating cross vaults.

The confessionals inside the church were made in the 20th century and are the reconstruction of the original ones from the 18th century. The organ in the music choir was also made in the 20th century   though its reference is to neoclassicism. There is a passage from the church to the southern wing of the cloisters. They are rectangular in shape and were made of broken stone and sandstone blocks. Actually they correspond to the gothic style. They are illuminated by the ogival windows. Cross-ribbed vault covers them. The keystones are decorated with the coats of arms of the monastery’s benefactors. In the southern wing there is no painting decoration. The stone wall is from the gothic period when the cloister gained its present shape. Under it   lies a Romanesque wall belonging to the oldest church. One can see the remains of polychrome. In the southern wing there is a plaque with the date of the dedication of the church (1806) and the history of the monastery by Jan Dlugosz. In an eastern direction, in front of the entrance to the church there is a black marble plaque commemorating  monks who died. Since the monastery’s foundation they were buried in the cloister. In 1766 they were moved to a common grave under the cloister floor. In the eastern wing, next to the church there is a sacristy. A great portal and iron door from the 17th century lead one there. Above the entrance one can see a fresco from the same period portraying abbot Sierakowski in prayer and the capture of monks during the Swedish Deluge. The keystone with coat of arms recalls the founder of the cloister, King Casimir Jagiellon. The sacristy is a gothic room from the 15th century. Originally it was used as the Holy Cross chapel. The relics were kept there. In the 18th century the relics were moved to the Olesnicki chapel and the sacristy was renovated. Its existing fixtures date back to this period. The vault is covered by a painted decoration depicting scenes from the life of St. Benedict and his disciples. On the right there is a marble lavabo moved from the Olesnicki chapel. Two wooden sculptures of Sts. Peter and Paul, being a part of a largely destroyed altar, were placed above the entrance to the sacristy. On the upper level, above the sacristy, the extensive monastery library was once housed.

In the south direction from the sacristy  is the Olesnicki chapel used as a sanctuary. Originally the room served as a monastic chapter house. At the beginning of 17th century it was rebuilt into a chapel. The ogival windows in the eastern wall belong to the original gothic décor. The chapel is in the shape of a square, crowned by a dome. In the main altar there is a figure of a crucified Christ. Above it  are medallions with the images of saints and the figure of Mary with the Child. The altars in the corners were devoted to St. Barbara and to St. John Nepomuk. Located on the right next to the entrance to the sacristy the Olesnicki tombstone originates from the 17th century. The founder of the chapel Mikolaj and his wife Zofia were buried there. At the top of the tombstone there is the coat of arms of the Olesnicki family. After the relics of the Holy Cross were moved to the chapel the interior décor was changed. In the western part an arcaded choir was built and reliquaries were placed on both sides of the main altar. The interior of the chapel is decorated with a 18th century polychrome. In the dome  are representations of Christ surrounded by Mary, John the Baptist and the Apostles. Moreover, there are images of the prophets Ezekiel and Isaias and St. John the Evangelist. On the walls there is the story of the Holy Cross and in the arcades above the entrance images of Christ at Gethsemane and in Entombment. Covered by the polychrome representing the power of the Holy Cross in the salvation of souls is a door originating from 18th century. Under the chapel  is a crypt with the graves of the descendants of Olesnicki family and of monks.

The Olesnicki chapel refers in  style do the Sigismund Chapel at Wawel castle. The architect is not known. The Holy Cross relics preserved in five particles are kept in an armoured tabernacle. They are placed in a gold reliquary which has the shape of a two-armed cross. The reliquary has been opened a few times. The last time was in 2002 when the relics were examined by art restorers. The room behind the chapel is called the abbatial room. It served as a place for the monks’ everyday meetings. The last fresco in the eastern wing presents abbot Sierakowski complaining to the Swedish king about the presence of soldiers in the monastery. In the northern wing, on the right side,  was a pharmacy and  hospital. A stone portal leads to the pharmacy. It is crowned by a decorative fresco. Inside the pharmacy there was an image of St. Apollonia, the patroness of dentists and doctors. During conservation works the polychrome was moved to the cloister. On the left side  are 17th and 18th century frescoes representing scenes of martyrdom of Benedictine saints. There is also an altar from the turn of the  19th century painted on the wall. The northern wing incorporates a museum where one can see exhibits relating to the period when the monastery served as a prison. There is also an exhibition about the missionary activity of the oblates.

In the western wing the scene of martyrdom of St. Bruno has been partially preserved. The cloister surrounds a cloister garden, in the centre of which  is a well dating back to 17th century. This is a part of a larger system for collecting rainwater and groundwater. From the western wing there is a passage leading to the 18th century wing of the monastery where now the Natural Museum of Holy Cross National Park has its seat. On the southern side of the church there is an entrance to the underground areas. Mummified remains of monks and a man considered for many years to be Jeremi Wisniowiecki, who  died in 1651 (new research refutes this interpretation) are exhibited.