I have been dreaming about visiting Russia for a long time now, and part of that dream includes seeing Russia’s famous onion dome churches. As Russia is not on the cards until next year, with our exciting visit to Poland’s Warsaw last month, I had the Russian Orthodox Church St Mary Magdalene on my must-see sights while visiting the capital.
St Mary Magdalene is truly a gem. Constructed between 1867 and 1869, it was originally built for the large population of Russians that were living in surrounding areas of Warsaw and those moving to Poland from Russia.
The five-domed building has golden interior with beautiful and intricate detail on the inside and is surprisingly small on the inside. What makes it special is that it was the first stand alone Orthodox church to be constructed in Warsaw. Before that, there were only private chapels around the city. Built on a carefully chosen land that saw incoming and departing passengers from the railway station across the road connecting Warsaw to the central Russian lands.
When Poland gained independence in 1918, the new government started a program against Orthodoxy in Poland that would see most Orthodox chapels and churches destroyed. In a bid to make the country fully Roman Catholic, all but two of the Orthodox churches were spared, one being the Mary Magdalene Church. In 1921 it then became the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Definitely one to check out when visiting Warsaw. It’s super easy to get to and find.
Open:11-15 and 12-16 on Sundays.
Closest Metro: Dworzec Wilenski (literally outside the station)
Dress Code: Note that Poland can be hot sometimes and while you may be spotting summer clothes due to the weather, you may not be allowed into the church if wearing shorts or revealing clothes. That goes for the guys too.
My boyfriend was in shorts that came to the knee and he was only allowed to look at the inside from the doorway. I was mostly covered even though my skirt did come to the knees. I guess this was only because we found the priest there. If there is no one around you might be able to get away with it. As its a church, just bare that in mind and be respectful of their rules and customs.
I have also included my video from Warsaw below which features some shots from our visit to Mary Magdalene.