St. Ann's Church is located in the vicinity of the Zamkowy Square, in Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. It was founded in 1454 by a Mazovian Prince, Bolesław IV, and his wife, Anna, for the Bernardinian order. The church owes its present-day appearance to the reconstruction between 1786-1788, conducted according to Christian Peter Aigner and Stanisław Kostka Potocki's design. The church was destroyed severaltimes, for example, during wars with Sweden and World War II, but a lot of the original appearance and furnishings has been preserved. The elements of the Gothic church are preserved from the side of the choir — fragments of the wall and a buttress as well as a portal. They can be well seen from Trasa W—Z (the East—West Route). However, the earthworks between the church and the Royal Castle conducted while building this artery caused sliding of the church walls. The church was prevented from collapsing by the use of the method of electrolytic bonding of the ground. In 1578, next to the church a belfry designed by Bernardo Morando was built. After 1658 it was turned into a belfry. Its present-day Neo-Renaissance appearance is due to the reconstruction between 1820-1821, according to Christian Peter Aigner's design. The terrace is still there and allows summer-time visitors to admire a beautiful view of the Old Town and Warsaw lying on the right bank of the Vistula River. After Poland regained its Independence in 1918, despite the efforts of the Bernardines to get their possession back, in 1928 the church was given over to the Academic Priesthood, and got the official name of St. Ann's Academic Church in Warsaw.
The facade was designed by an architect, Christian Peter Aigner. It was possible with the funds provided by Polish King Stanisław August Poniatowski, Izabela Lubomirska nee Czartoryska and wealthy burgers of Warsaw. The new facade was to refer to the works of a famous 16th century Italian architect, Andrea Palladio, especially to the churches San Giorgio Maggiore and Il Redentore in Venice. The facade in the classicist style attracts attention of passersby. A four-column portico with a tympanum, on which there is a monogram S. A. (King Stanisław August), is particularly imposing. Three pairs of doors lead to the church. Above the portal of the central door was placed a plaque commemorating another founder - Józef Kwieciński, a cup-bearer of Sanok and protector of Archconfraternity of St. Ann. A medallion with an eagle was also placed there. On the first floor of the facade one can see niches decorated with sculptures depicting the Four Evangelists carved by Jakub Monaldi. Above these niches rectangular panels filled with low reliefs are situated and between them there are festoons suspended by ribbons. The facade is crowned with a stepped top with a cross. Between the belfry and the church a chapel with a statue of the Virgin Mary is situated. The statue rests on a small column, which was placed there in 1643. The belfry is three storeys high, each story being of different height and its top is decorated with moulding. There is a roof terrace which offers a vantage point. On the terrace, there is a gloriette on eight arcades.
The church has a one-bay porch whose width equals the width of the church façade. It is covered with a groined vault on transverse arches, between which bays of a barrel vault with lunettes were placed diagonally. The main entrance is accentuated with a column portal, surmounted with a broken pediment. In the porch of the church there are numerous commemorative plaques in remembrance of notable individuals buried in the church. Because of the proximity of the Royal Castle, in many cases these were the people associated with the royal court. The epitaphs were usually carved onto marble plaques, they often had sculpted or painted portraits of the deceased and inscriptions.
The church became baroque in appearance in the years 1660-1667 owing to the funds from Polish King Jan Kazimierz and burghers of Warsaw. The church is aisleless, three-bayed and is covered with a barrel vault with lunettes on transverse arches, with a two-bay polygonally closed choir. The church is lit with windows placed high, beneath the vault. The light is additionally reflected by pseudo-windows, filled with polished metal plates, which are placed on side walls, between prominent pillars. The pillars are adorned with two fluted pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The moulding placed above separates the space of the nave from the vault. A narrow aisle was reduced to the form of recesses and narrow arcaded passages between the two pillars attached to the northern wall. Rich baroque decoration include illusionist paintings in the choir and the nave, made in al fresco technique after 1740 by father Walenty Żebrowski, a co-worker of a famous painter, Adam Swach. The vault paintings present scenes from the lives of St. Ann and the Virgin Mary.
The choir is a two-bay construction, closed with a polygonal apse, covered with a barrel vault on transverse arches with lunettes.The main altar is placed half-way along the length of the Gothic choir, closed with an apse.The wooden altar fills the whole arcade. Placing the altar in such a way created an interesting perspective effect in the space composed of sculptures, paintings and architectural elements: six Corynthian columns and statues standing between them. The light getting through the apse window enhances the theatrical effect. In 1932 a new bronze tabernacle was placed in the altar. It was made according to Stefan Szyller's design, and cast in the Łopieński Brothers Company.This is a two-sided altar with two mensas on a stepped platform. Behind the altar there is a chancel for clergy with stalls placed along the walls.Two entrances situated opposite each other lead from the choir. Both of them are adorned with a portal with a tympanum worked in a one-quarter profile of a circle. The entrance on the right leads to the sacristy, while the one on the left leads to the Chapel of the Blessed Ładysław. This portal is additionally decorated with a statue of Fame, which stands on a round celestial firmament. The sphere is supported by putti sitting on the edges of the tympanum. In their hands they hold attributes of the Blessed Ładysław - a whipping post and a scourge.
In the second half of the 17th century the former Chapel of the Kryński Family was renovated and reserved for the Chapel of the Blessed Ładysław of Gielniów. At that time efforts were made to close the process of beatification, which was terminated officially in February 1750 by Pope Benedict XIV. In 1753 Ładysław of Gielniów was also announced to be the patron saint of Poland, Lithuania and Warsaw. The early baroque chapel is built on the plan of the square, covered with a dome with a lantern, added in 1620. The chapel received a new entrance, from the choir, which was adorned with a portal with a tympanum worked in a one-quarter profile of a circle. In the entrance an iron grating was installed in 1705. After finishing works in the interior of the church, Walenty Żebrowski also decorated with paintings the walls and the dome of this chapel. The paintings refer to the Blessed Ładysław of Gielniów. The founder of the altar, which was placed there in the eighties of the 17th century, was Bonawentura Madaliński, a bishop of Kujawy, and Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski offered a painting with the image of the patron saint. The altar is wooden, and covered with faux marbling. In the altar there is a coffin with the relics of the blessed friar.