Timber-frame churches of Western Pomerania
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
Timber-frame churches of Western Pomerania

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Timber-frame churches of Western Pomerania

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Timber-frame churches of Western Pomerania

Half-timbered churches constitute one of the distinctive elements in the cultural landscape of the Western Pomerania. They are historical and architectural dominants, well visible owing to the individual construction, and artistic and colour qualities. In the territory of the Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship, there are approx. 100 churches erected on the basis of a half-timbered structure, in variegated architectural forms reflecting the regional building tradition.

The oldest church (unique on the European scale) in Krupy originates from approx. 1400 and is covered by a 16th-century “costume” of late-Gothic brick walls. Individual buildings date back to the 16th century and were built already as Protestant churches. The most numerous group is constituted by churches from the 17th and the 18th-century, usually built in the place of earlier churches, destroyed in wars and disasters. The youngest churches come from the end of the 19th century. The relatively simple and cheap half-timbered technique made it possible to build them quickly, especially when a town was rebuilt after devastation or in colonised areas. Originally, they were erected as towerless churches, to which bell towers were added at a later time; from the 18th century on, churches with towers were built – including towers extending the nave body.

The churches are of aisleless type, built on a rectangular floor plan (also with a presbytery ending in a semi-hexagon), mostly with towers. The half-timbered structure of the walls is diversified in terms of the composition of the wooden frame, profiles, and the manner of processing of individual elements, as well as décor. The oldest (e.g. 17th century) buildings are characterised by regularly and densely arranged posts, with large sections, and decorative gables. Churches from the 19th century or those which were converted then feature corner braces. Façades with exposed wooden frame and plastered and whitewashed infills of ceramic brick dominate; in a couple of churches, the surface of brick infills is visible.

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