Old Town Wishing Bell – Warsaw, Poland - Atlas Obscura

Old Town Wishing Bell

This bell stars in a tragic love tale and is said to make wishes come true. 


When walking through Warsaw’s Old Town, you’ll come across many beautiful buildings and objects all over the place. Each one has its own intriguing history, and this old wishing bell is no exception.

This overlooked relic of the past stems from the 17th century. But its age isn’t what’s so enchanting about the bell, as it’s also a key feature in a local fairytale with a tragic ending.

According to the love legend, a young bellmaker named Kajetan was in love with Marynia, the daughter of a bellmaker. Both wished to mary, but fate would not have it.

Kajetan had a rival, a bell maker’s apprentice named Hans. Hans was a selfish man who also wished to mary Marynia and take over her father’s business. When Hans learned of Marynia’s love for Kajetan, he became enraged and decided to kill him.

Hans laced Kajetan’s wine with arsenic, and on top of that, added tin into the bronze mixture that Marynia’s father was making for an important bell commission. Then, to lower suspicion against him, he proclaimed his love for another girl and left town for a while, hoping to have both the job and the girl when he returned.

Legend says that at the same moment that the completed bell was rung, the instrument broke and Kajetan died from the poison. But Hans didn’t get either the job or the girl. Marynia’s father kept his job. And Marynia became so heartbroken that she joined a convent. Hans eventually went insane and died by suicide.

The bell was placed on the square as decoration, never to ring again. It’s said that any prayer said at the structure will go straight to heaven. It’s also said that the ghosts of Kajetan and Hans visit the bell at midnight on the last night of October. Tour guides like to tell tourists that if you touch the bell while walking around it, your wish will be granted.

Know Before You Go

The bell is freely accessible. It is located behind the cathedral.

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