4 times on the hour, 24 times a day, 365 days a year, a trumpeter plays a traditional tune called Hejnal. This symbol of Krakow became a symbol of Poland too, as it is transmitted (live) by the Polish national Radio since november 1927 at noon. The Hejnal is played by firemen trumpeters at the top of the tallest, octogonal tower of Mariacki Basilica, to each of the four corners of the world.
The oldest references concerning Hejnal were found in Krakow chronicles of 1392. The Hejnal was played without interruption until then second half of the 18th century, when it stopped because of the bad economical situation.
Hopefully, thanks to Tomasz and Juliana Krzyźanowska - Krakow inhabitants who created a special fund for this - the Hejnal was played again from 1810. Banned in 1939 by German occupant, it was played again at noon and 7 pm from 24th december 1941.
The Hejnal legend, very popular, tells that when Krakow was attacked by Tatars in 1241, the guard watching from the top of Mariacki church saw the enemy and started playing to warn the inhabitants. Then he was shot through his throat by a Tatar archer, and that's why the trumpet tone stops so abruptly. This legends appeared in fact in the 1930's.
The Hejnal has been played during 540 years, in 4 directions every hour, that is to say about 19 million times.
Click here to listen to the Hejnal in MP3