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Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska - Zabytek.pl

Photo Gallery of the object: Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska

Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska

World Heritage Binarowa

Binarowa, 409

woj. małopolskie, pow. gorlicki, gm. Biecz - obszar wiejski

The property was inscribed on the List by World Heritage Committee in 2003.   Brief synthesis The Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska constitute a serial inscription of the six best preserved and oldest wooden Gothic churches that are characteristic of this region. They are located in the towns and villages of Blizne, Binarowa, Dębno Podhalańskie, Haczów, Lipnica Murowana, and Sękowa, which lie within the historic region of Małopolska in southern and south-eastern Poland, encompassing the Carpathian foothills of the northern part of the Western Carpathians. The churches represent a unique example of the tradition of medieval timber-built churches in Roman Catholic culture. They were built using the horizontal log technique, which was commonplace in Northern and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages. The range of idiosyncratic structural solutions employed in their construction, however, rendered them unique.

The functional spatial layout of these buildings arose from liturgical requirements adopted from the West. The churches have an extensive spatial structure, which initially consisted of two elements: a rectangular nave; and a narrower chancel to the east, usually terminating in a three-sided apse. Later, chambered towers of post-and-beam construction were added at the west end (the church in Lipnica Murowana being an exception) and the main body of the churches was circumscribed by arcades known as soboty. Thanks to the use of high-quality structural joinery solutions, such as the system of roof trusses binding the log structures of the nave and chancel, they took on a characteristic architectural form featuring tall shingled roofs covering both the nave and the chancel and thus reinforcing the entire building. These churches also feature unique, high-quality joinery details, highlighting their Gothic character.

The churches boast particularly valuable décors and fittings that exhibit diverse techniques and styles of workmanship, rich iconography, and outstanding artistic quality. They also provide an illustration of the stylistic changes in the decoration of ecclesiastical interiors, starting from the Gothic period. All elements of the rich interior décors are harmoniously interrelated and complement one another perfectly in terms of their content, function, and style.

The churches constitute an example of dominant landmarks within rural settings, which determine their unique present-day landscape qualities – most of them are situated in picturesque mountain valleys. These buildings, which were founded by noble families as symbols of their prestige, all serve their original purpose as venues for traditional celebrations and religious ceremonies; in some of them, religious images renowned for securing divine favour are still revered.

The total area of the serial inscription amounts to 8.26 ha and the total area of the buffer zones amounts to 242 ha.

Criterion (iii): The wooden churches of Southern Małopolska bear important testimony to medieval church building traditions associated with the liturgical and cult functions of the Roman Catholic Church in this relatively isolated region of Central Europe. 

Criterion (iv): The churches are the most representative examples of surviving Gothic churches built using the horizontal log technique; they are particularly impressive in their artistic and technical execution, and were sponsored by noble families and rulers as symbols of social and political prestige.

Components of serial property:

  • the church of St Michael the Archangel in Binarowa
  • the church of All Saints in Blizne
  • the church of St Michael the Archangel in Dębno Podhalańskie
  • the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Haczów
  • the church of St Leonard in Lipnica Murowana
  • the church of St Philip and St Jacob in Sękowa



Category: cultural

Building material:  wood

Protection: UNESCO World Heritage

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_12_UN.40