Góra Świętej Anny - Cultural Landscape, Góra Świętej Anny
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Góra Świętej Anny (St Anne’s Hill) lies at 406 m above sea level and is the highest point of the Chełm Massif, which dominates the Silesian Uplands. This area of high ground has attracted people since prehistoric times, and the High Hill (as it was previously known) was the site of a pagan cult. In the 15th century it became a centre of Christian faith. Its earlier name, Góra Świętego Jerzego(St George’s Hill), is believed to have derived from the dedication of a medieval chapel, whilst its present name comes from that of the church’s patron saint - Anne. The church on the summit of the hill was probably built in 1480-1485, and was later remodelled in Baroque style, with the addition of a tower in 1868. The main altar incorporates a miraculous 15th-century statue of St Anne with the Virgin and Child. The original, wooden monastery was raised shortly after the arrival of the Franciscan Order in 1655. The current building dates from 1733-1749, and was extended in 1905. Next to the monastery is a cloistered courtyard (1768), known as Rajski Plac (Paradise Square), approached by monumental steps. Located on the south and south-east slopes of the hill are the Pathway of Christ’s Passion and the Pathways of Our Lady - picturesque processional routes consisting of chapels built in the years 1700-1709 and 1760-1764, founded by the Gaschin family and designed by Domenico Signo. The entire complex represents an exceptional combination of natural beauty and cultural heritage, creating a cohesive entity of prime historic and religious importance to the Opole Region of Silesia. Having been a cult site for centuries, the hill remains living testimony to the interpenetration of culture and religion. In addition, since 1988 the Góra Świętej Anny region (5775 hectares) has been protected as a landscape park. The grounds encompass a geological reserve and several nature reserves featuring endemic plant species.

This scheduled monument should, above all, be associated with the insurrections, patriotism and heroism of the Silesians. Góra Świętej Anny came to public attention during the Third Silesian Uprising. Fighting broke out on 3 May 1921. The rebel forces were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Maciej Mielżyński. The insurgents, organised into three groups - North, East and South - began their offensive in Upper Silesia. The Polish government, despite having formally distanced itself from the uprising, offered its support. The insurgent forces numbered around 50,000 volunteers. Having routed the German military units of the Kampforganisation Oberschlesien, they took control of Katowice, Bytom, Pszczyna and Wodzisław, reaching as far north as Kluczbork, and as far as the River Oder, just above Racibórz, in the south. The heaviest battles were waged in the regions of Kędzierzyn and Góra Świętej Anny. In these bloody conflicts the North group gained control of Góra Świętej Anny and Kędzierzyn (6-9 May). The battle front in Upper Silesia stabilised; however, on 21 May the Germans launched a general counter-offensive. The attack focused on the region of Góra Świętej Anny, where 10 battalions struck at the junction of the Polish East and North groups. After fierce combat the Germans captured Góra Świętej Anny, but did not destroy the insurgent detachments defending it. In June, under pressure from the great powers, an agreement was signed: both insurgent and German forces were to leave the plebiscite area. A League of Nations commission announced its verdict on the Silesia issue in October 1921. The compromise pleased no-one, with the border dividing a culturally and economically homogeneous area. Poland was awarded approximately 30% of territories with the majority of the industries. Numerous national minorities were left on either side; Góra Świętej Anny remained within the borders of Germany.

The battles of the Third Silesian Uprising are commemorated by Xawery Dunikowski’s monument unveiled in 1955 and by the Museum of the Silesian Uprising, housed in the Dom Polski (Polish House) which stands at the foot of the hill. Earlier, in the years 1934-1938, the Germans built an amphitheatre and mausoleum in honour of the Silesian soldiers of the Freikorps.

General information

  • Type: cultural landscape
  • Chronology: poł. XVII - XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: Historical Monument
  • Address: Klasztorna 6, Góra Świętej Anny
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district strzelecki, commune Leśnica - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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