The imprint of a legendary queen’s shoe
Queen Jadwiga, daughter of Louis I of Hungary and Elizabeth of Bosnia, niece of Casimir the Great and first wife of Casimir Jagiellon, was an important figure in the history of Poland. There are many legends about her.
It is said that in a journey outside the walls of Krakow, which she had undertaken to oversee the construction of the Carmelite Church she had funded, she engaged one of the workers in a conversation. The man told her about the sickness of his wife and their children, who he couldn’t care for. The Queen not only gave orders to help the man but also wished to help him herself, so she gave him an expensive gift: the golden buckle of her shoe which she removed by pressing her foot against the damp sandstone from which the church was being built. To commerate the Queen’s gesture, the stone worker paved around the spot on which her shoe left an imprint, creating a monument on the outside of the building. Later, an iron grid was installed to protect the imprint.
After the Queen’s death, the commemorative stone became a place of pilgrimage, and can be found on the wall of the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krakow, at 19 Karmelicka st.