The Warmia Calvary, Głotowo
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The only Calvary in the Warmia region. An architectural and landscape complex of immense religious importance and outstanding artistic value. The site is notable for its informal, natural composition of greenery, stylistically uniform, although the diversity of chapels in terms of both form and decorations introduces an element of variety. The entire complex forms an interesting example of 19th-century sacred art.


Glotowo is a village established in 1313, with the pilgrimage church of Our Saviour (1772 – 1726) being connected to the cult of Corpus Christi. Next to the church there is a picturesque, partly artificially shaped ravine of the Kwiela river in which the Warmia Calvary is situated; the calvary complex originates from the 2nd half of the 19th century. Jan Merten, a resident of Glotowo, was the originator and initiator of the project; in 1860, after returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he purchased and subsequently donated 7 hectares of land to the church with the intention that a Way of Sorrows would be constructed there. The shape of the terrain is reminiscent of the topography of Jerusalem. In the 1860s and the 1870s, designs for the architecture of the individual Stations of the Cross were drawn up and the overall concept for the spatial layout of the Calvary was being prepared. A ceremony which marked the beginning of construction works was held in July 1878, while the construction process itself was carried out in stages and ended in 1894. The first stage of the works involved the construction of the last three chapels (Stations XII – XIV), which were built on a truncated hill top that symbolised Golgotha. In addition, the alley leading towards the hill was also marked out. This stage of construction works ended around 1880 with the aquisition of the sculptures that were to be installed inside the chapels, made at the workshop of Franz Meyer in Munich, specialising in ecclesiastical art. During the second stage, in years 1880-8194, the formation of the bottom of the ravine continued; the main path was marked out along the ravine, walking paths and small bridges were also beginning to appear. The construction and fit-out of subsequent chapels continued. Stations I – V were built at the very end, their architectural form being the most austere of all the chapels. The surroundings of the Stations of the Cross took the form of a forested park with open spaces at the bottom of the ravine and artificially composed groups of trees emphasising the location of the chapels, with walking paths along the river joined together by means of small bridges and a forest glade with a fountain. The entire site was consecrated on 18 May 1894 by Andrzej Thiel, the bishop of Warmia. In 1927, the Calvary was renovated and consecrated; decorative metal grilles were installed at the entrances to the chapels. During the interwar period two additional chapels were erected: the Gethsemane Chapel and the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes with a water spring. After 1945, minor maintenance and renovation works were carried out in the 1950s and the 1980s, while comprehensive works commenced in the last decade of the twentieth century.


The Warmia Calvary is situated in the centre of Glotowo village, in the direct vicinity of the church; the complex occupies a total area of 7 hectares. Located in the ravine of the Kwiela river, overgrown with old trees and partially transformed during the construction of the complex, it consists of 14 chapels with naturalistic scenes of the Stations of the Cross as well as the Gethsemane and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, the latter two structures originating from a slightly later period. The chapels of the Stations of the Cross are situated along an alley the initial section of which (stations I – VI) leads along the bottom of the ravine; later on – from station VII onwards – the path begins its winding ascent up the Golgotha hill. The chapels were built using solid ceramic bricks and split stone; their architectural form, although diverse, all constitute examples of the Gothic Revival style. The dominant feature of the complex is the largest chapel – chapel number XII – situated on the peak of the hill, built on a rectangular floor plan and reinforced with buttresses. Chapels No. I, II, III, V are set on a square plan, each of them featuring a small apse (chapel II does not feature an apse); these chapels are mostly built of stone; chapels IV, X, XI are set on a hexagonal plan, while all the remaining chapels were designed on a rectangular plan. The roofs of chapels VI, VII, XII, XIII and XIV are clad with ceramic roof tiles, while all the other roofs are covered with zinc-plated sheet metal. All the chapels feature vaulted ceilings; the first five chapels have simple cloister or barrel vaults, chapel no. XII features a barrel vault with a transverse arch while all others feature cross-rib vaulting. The scenes of the Passion of Christ take the form of naturalistic compositions of free-standing sculptures which are either of natural size or slightly smaller (¾ of human height), mostly made of wood (with some sculptures made of stone), polychromed and gold-plated.

Accessible historic building.

Compiled by Marzena Zwierowicz, 8.12.2014.


  • Swaryczewska M., Powstanie Kalwarii Warmińskiej w Glotowie, [w:] Glotowo. 700 lat istnienia, praca zbiorowa, [b.m.r.w.], s. 49-67

General information

  • Type: sacral architecture
  • Chronology: 1878-1894
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Głotowo
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district olsztyński, commune Dobre Miasto - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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