The original church was destroyed in the Tatar raids of the 13th century, and rebuilding began relatively soon after. The hushed interior makes for essential viewing. The elaborately carved 15th-century wooden altarpiece, by the master carver Veit Stoss, is the immediate crowd-pleaser. The altar, carved from lime wood, measures some 11*13m (36*43 ft.) and is the biggest of its kind in Europe. The faces on the carvings are intended to depict biblical figures, but -- as was the fashion of the day -- Stoss used ordinary townspeople as models. The interior is impressive, but the highlight of the church is not on the inside, it's the forlorn trumpeter in the high tower, playing his hourly dirge to the defenders of Kraków from the Tatar hordes, in order that the people below know the correct time. Note that visitors are not permitted in the Basilica before 11:30am.