Parish Church of St Nicholas, Bochnia
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Parish Church of St Nicholas

Bochnia

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An example of the church with outstanding architectural features. Inside a miraculous image of Our Lady of Bocheń.

History

Bochnia was granted the town rights in 1253 by the duke of Kraków, Bolesław the Chaste, in connection with the discovery of salt deposits. The salt extraction and trade were for centuries the primary source of income for the town and its inhabitants. The parish of St Nicholas is one of the oldest parishes in the Bochnia region, going back to the 13th century. Bochnia’s first church was funded in the mid-13th century by Duchess Grzymisława, the mother of Bolesław the Chaste. It was intended for miners working in the salt mine. It is traditionally believed that the new stone church was founded in 1253 by Kinga, the wife of Bolesław the Chaste.  Probably, further development and extension was carried out during the reign of King Casimir the Great; the project was completed no earlier than ca. 1440. The church burnt in 1447 during the great fire of the town. After the fire, it was rebuilt as a late-Gothic temple. In 1655 the Swedish invaders burnt the church, only the gable, parts of the presbytery and Blessed Kinga Chapel survived. The church was rebuilt for more than ten years and changed its style dramatically. The Gothic style was preserved on the exterior, as in the presbytery buttresses, but the interior was transformed into a Baroque style. In 1663 Bishop Mikołaj Oborski transformed the Bochnia parish into provostry. In the years 1833-1835, numerous burial vaults were liquidated, and the remains of the deceased were moved to the cemetery. In 1854 the bell turret was converted into the neo-Gothic style, according to the design by Martin "Lelewel" Borelowski (1829-1863). Shingles on the roof were replaced with the metal sheet, later (early 20th century) exchanged for the ceramic tile. In the years 1901-1905, the church was completely restored as neo-Gothic. Among other things, the west façade was reconstructed according to the design by Jan Sas-Zubrzyckiego, two buttresses were added, new stained-glass windows were installed, made by the Kraków Artistic Stained-Glass and Glazing Company of Władyslaw Ekielski and Anthoni Tuch. In 1912-1913 a Kraków company, Godzicki, installed a new floor. Between 1960 and 1965, the church’s structure was reinforced. Between 1965 and 1967, new wall paintings were produced according to the design by Wacław Taranczewski (1903-1967), professor of the Fine Arts Academy in Kraków. On 17 November 1997 Pope John Paul II transformed St Nicholas Church into “basilica minor”. In 2003, on the 750th anniversary of the parish, Bishop Wiktor Skworc of Tarnów named the church a collegiate and erected a collegiate chapter dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Description

The basilica is located in St Kingi Square, near Bochnia’s Market Square. It is a late-Gothic building which turned Baroque after the fire in 1655; it is built of stone and brick and covered with tiles. It has a three-nave body with four bays and a four-bay presbytery closed on three sides; north of the presbytery there is Gothic St Kinga Chapel. The church inner walls are divided by pilasters. The vaults in the nave and presbytery are barrel vaults, with double barrel vaulting in the aisles; cross-rib vaulting in the chapel of St Kinga. A gable roof with a neo-Gothic bell turret; west facade topped with a stepped gable with decorative blind windows and a rhombus frieze. It is divided into three parts by buttresses. In the middle, there is a new pointed-arch portal, above three arched windows with stone rib supports. Baroque and late Baroque fittings of the 17th-18th century. Noteworthy is a set of seven late Baroque altars of the 2nd half of the 18th century by Piotr Kornecki, a woodcarver from Gdów. Six of them are placed on inter-nave pillars, the seventh is a magnificent main altar with the images of St Nicholas in the middle and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the upper level - both painted by Piotr Kornecki. Also the stalls of 1655 and the marble baptismal font date back to the 17th century, that is, the Baroque times. The late Baroque organ casing and the Rococo pulpit attract attention. The walls of the chapel of St Kinga reveal some fragments of the Gothic and Renaissance polychrome of the turn of the 15th century presenting the scene of the Sending of the Twelve. In the 1880s, Jan Matejko designed the new interior of the chapel: stained glass window, stalls, altar, the image of St Kinga and the wall paintings completed by Antoni Tuch in 1898. In 1777 a chapel was added to the church in order to accommodate the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Rosary, called Our Lady of Bochnia, moved here after the disbanding of the Bochnia Dominican monastery. The painting comes from the 1st half of the 16th century and was brought here along with the late Baroque altar.

A wooden belfry of 1609 stands next to the church. It was built by the carpenter Andrzej Palicz as a log structure, boarded, with overhang upper chamber, covered with a hipped roof. The belfry burnt in 1987 but was rebuilt in the years 1990-93.

The building is accessible all year round - the church

Compiled by Olga Dyba, OT NID Kraków, 17.07.2014.

Bibliography

  • Krajobraz kulturowy Polski. Województwo małopolskie. Kraków-Warszawa 2001 (współautor Dyba O.).
  • Flasza J., Bochnia. Przewodnik po mieście. Bochnia 2005.
  • Wójtowicz S., Kościół parafialny w Bochni i jego środowisko artystyczne. Przewodnik. Bochnia 1993.
  • Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski. Warszawa 2013.
  • Kornecki M., Kościoły diecezji tarnowskiej, „Rocznik diecezji tarnowskiej na rok 1972”, Tarnów 1972.
  • Kiryk F. (red.), Bochnia, dzieje miasta i regionu, Kraków 1980.
  • Chrzanowski T., Kornecki M., Sztuka Ziemi Krakowskiej. Kraków 1982.
  • Wyczesany J., Wystrój artystyczny kościoła św. Mikołaja w Bochni. Bochnia 1988.
  • Krupiński A., Zabytki urbanistyki i architektury województwa tarnowskiego. Kraków 1989.
  • Kucharska I., Kult obrazu Matki Boskiej Różańcowej zwanej Bocheńską - jego przejawy i formy. „Rocznik Bocheński” t. 1, 1993, s. 87-102.
  • Kornecki M., Dzieje sztuki, (w:) Województwo tarnowskie. Wrocław 1998.
  • Piątkowska Ł., Parafie Ziemi Bocheńskiej. Bochnia 2004.
  • Zabytki ziemi bocheńskiej w rysunkach i opisach Andrzeja B. Krupińskiego. Bochnia 2008.
  • Flasza J., Puklerz złoty i łza krwawa. Z dziejów obrazu Matki Bożej Bocheńskiej. Bochnia, 2004.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Plac św. Kingi , Bochnia
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district bocheński, commune Bochnia (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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