Parish Church of St Nicholas, Biesowo
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of St Nicholas



The church forms an interesting example of a building combining elements of historicism and modernism as well as local architectural tradition. It is the work of a well-known and highly-regarded architect Fritz Heitmann from Königsberg (Królewiec).


The first mention of the church in Biesowo (foundation of the village: 1354) dates back to 1480. In the beginning of the 16th century, the parish in Biesowo remained under the supervision of the deaconate in Jeziorany. In 1580 the church was consecrated by Marcin Kromer, the bishop of Warmia. Another church - the church of St Nicholas and St Anthony Padewski - was then built and consecrated in 1612 by Simon Rudnicki, who was the bishop of Warmia at the time. In accordance with the preserved iconographic information, this building was a typical example of a rural church of the kind that was prevalent in the Warmia region at the time, featuring a single, open interior space, a rectangular chancel and a wooden ceiling. This church survived until the fire which engulfed the structure in 1910, after which the old church was demolished. The cornerstone for the construction of a new temple was embedded in 1911; the design for the new building was created by Fritz Heitmann, a royal architect from Königsberg who enjoyed a very good reputation in East Prussia at the time. The monumental edifice was built using red facing bricks in a uniform, coherent style combining neo-Gothic features with elements of modernism and local architectural traditions. The new church was consecrated in June 1913 by Edward Hermann, the suffragan bishop of Warmia.


The church is situated in the centre of the village, by the road leading from Biskupiec to Bisztynek, on a plot of land surrounded by a period fence. A shrine made of red facing brick is incorporated into the fence and features an interesting iconographic presentation which combines the Pietà motif with the image of the Virgin Mary pierced by seven swords; the shrine originates from the same period as the church itself. The church, erected on an elongated rectangular plan, is made of solid ceramic brick and granite blocks; it features a three-nave, five-bay basilica layout, with a distinct chancel, lower than the rest of the church, annexes on both sides of the main body and tall tower, built on a square floor plan and crowned with a spire. All individual constituent parts of the church are well-defined and easily discernible. Between the tower and the main body there is an interesting feature that sets this church apart from other buildings of its kind - an external pulpit with stairs, supported by a polygonal column. The main body of the church is supported by buttresses, with facades partitioned by pointed-arch window openings and plastered blind windows. Side facades and the tower are crowned with stepped gable ends. The material used for the construction of the church - a combination of brick and granite blocks - also plays a decorative role. The interior features plastered walls adorned with wall paintings incorporating symbolic imagery and geometric ornaments. The nave and the chancel feature stellar vaults; other sections of the nave as well as the aisles also incorporate cross-rib vaulting supported by granite columns. Uniform neo-Gothic fittings of the interior (altars, pulpit, confessionals and benches), along with a set of figural stained glass windows from the workshop of George Schneider from Regensburg originate from the early 20th century; in addition, some interior fittings taken from the earlier church which stood in this area are also incorporated into the current interior design.

Accessible historic building. The church may be visited upon prior appointment.

Compiled by: Marzena Zwierowicz , 5.12.2014.



  • Bosko J., Wojtkowski J.M. , Dziedzictwo historyczno-artystyczne Archidiecezji Warmińskiej. Zabytki ruchome, Olsztyn 2011, p. 66-67.
  • Głowacz, Fritz Heitmann, architekt warmińskich kościołów, „Warmińsko - Mazurski Biuletyn Konserwatorski”, 2003, t.5., p. 26.
  • Kościoły i kaplice archidiecezji warmińskiej. Święta Warmia,t.1., Olsztyn 1999 s.112.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1911-1913
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Biesowo
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district olsztyński, commune Biskupiec - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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