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Wooden churches of Upper Silesia
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Wooden churches of Upper Silesia


Wooden churches of Upper Silesia


Wooden churches of Upper Silesia

Wooden churches in Upper Silesia are monuments of high historical and artistic value. They are characterised by attention to technical solutions and details, while at the same time skilfully composed with the landscape. The building material used most commonly in the case of them was spruce, fir, or larch wood.

The churches were usually erected using simple, horizontal spatial sections, and they consisted of a chancel and a nave. Their floor plan was often supplemented with numerous annexes: sacristy, porch, and chapels. By the western part of the nave, there usually was a tapering belfry tower, commonly built on a square floor plan. It was not connected in structural terms with the church. In the 17th and the 18th century, churches became more sumptuous, and a transverse nave was added to them. The characteristic features of wooden churches of Upper Silesia include the use of a varied roof ridge and separate roof structures over the nave and the chancel. A significant part of the sacred buildings were built on the basis of a log structure, and in individual cases, timber frame was used. Towers, on the other hand, were based on a post-and-beam structure. The eaves protecting the wooden frame often featured shape of low arcades based on pillars circumscribing part or the whole building from outside. Over the centuries, the technical solutions used in the construction of wooden churches did not change. Only individual details were transformed: decorative elements, profile shapes, and size of window and door openings.

The oldest surviving wooden churches in the Śląskie voivodeship are dated to the 15th and the 16th century. They include, among others, churches in Poniszowice, Bojszowy, Grzawa, and Łaziska Rybnickie. Some of them were moved from their original locations, e.g. the church of St. Michael the Archangel in Katowice, build in Syrynia near Wodzisław Śląski.

In the Śląskie voivodeship, a wooden architecture route has been delineated, which is divided into five loops and includes 84 buildings and structures, most of which are appropriate churches.

text by Sabina Rotowska, OT NID w Katowicach

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