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Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene - Zabytek.pl

Gorzanów, Kłodzka

woj. dolnośląskie, pow. kłodzki, gm. Bystrzyca Kłodzka-obszar wiejski

The church in Gorzanów is one of the more valuable examples of Early Baroque ecclesiastical architecture in Bohemian, Moravia and the Kłodzko Region.

It is one of the first churches in all of Kłodzko Region to be redesigned in the Baroque style, its uniqueness stemming from both the overall architectural concept and the presence of Early Baroque plasterwork decorations of outstanding artistic quality. In terms of both their form and overall grandeur, the plasterwork decorations in question can easily be compared to those which grace the palace in Gorzanów, the grotto (garden pavilion) in the palace gardens as well as the chapel of St Barbara located in the immediate vicinity of the church itself. All of these plasterwork decorations demonstrate a unique kinship in terms of design, having been executed by members of a single circle of artisans.


The church in Gorzanów was mentioned in written records for the first time in 1341. The present-day church was erected during the Gothic era. From 1564, the church remained in Protestand hands and was only reclaimed by the Catholic community in 1624. Before 1658, the church was thoroughly redesigned, most likely at the request f count von Herberstein, who has also ensured the participation of the builders and plasterwork decorators who were involved in the redesign of the Gorzanów palace (pałacu Gorzanowie). The church was redesigned in the Early Baroque style, with strong influences of the design principles popular in Northern Italy at the time; the architect responsible for the redesign was either Norenzo Nicella or Jacopo Carove, both of the linked to Carlo Lurago’s construction business based in Prague. In addition, a number of construction specialists, stonemasons, sculptors and plasterers who had been involved in the works performed at the Náchod Castle in Bohemia - Baptista Spinetti, Biaggo Verde, Domenico Rossi, Andrea Cyrus and Carlo Serena - have also participated in the redesign of the Gorzanów church. The original spatial layout of the church was preserved, although one may not rule out the possibility that the interior was extended through the addition of two side chapels at the time, although it is also possible that these chapels - the chapel of St Joseph and the chapel of the Holy Family (otherwise known as the chapel of St Anne) may have been added later, in 1708. In any case, the overall appearance of the church became unified in the years 1646-1858, when the chancel buttresses were incorporated into the surface of the walls and when the main body and the lower section of the tower became one. In addition, the height of the annex containing the sacristy and the patrons’ gallery was modified accordingly, while the main body of the church was now covered by a single roof. Furthermore, for the first time anywhere in the Kłodzko Region, a typical front façade with a tower was combined with features of a towerless façade topped with a distinctive volute-shaped gable, modelled after the Il Gesu church in Rome (1568-1584). The new façade decorations incorporated many features borrowed from secular architecture. A false wooden barrel vault with a flattened outline reminiscent of a trough vault was constructed above the nave. The nave also received a spacious wooden organ gallery with architectural forms, featuring a concave front section. The Gothic vaulted ceiling above the chancel, the upper sections of the walls, the vaulted ceilings inside the nave and the chapels, the interior of the baptistery, the patrons’ gallery and the staircases have all received lavish plasterwork decorations designed in the Early Baroque style, heavily influenced by the variant of Mannerism prevalent in Northern Italy at the time. In 1676, the tower was extended upwards. The tower cupola was reconstructed in 1681. In the second half of 18th century (or thereabouts), a rather restrained entrance portal was added. The entire church underwent restoration during the 19th century.


Initially a fortified structure, the parish Church of Mary Magdalene is situated in the northern part of the village, near the palace complex; it is surrounded by a cemetery circumscribed by a wall which features a trio of chapels (the chapel of St Barbara, the chapel of St Francis Xavier and the Memento Mori chapel as well as two Early Baroque gatehouses erected in the mid- 17th century or thereabouts. The chancel of this single-nave church is almost completely blended in with the rest of the structure and features a semi-hexagonal end section as well as surviving Gothic cross-rib vaulting. The nave features a false barrel vault with a flattened outline; pairs of arched openings connect the nave and the two chapels that flank it, each of which features a cloister vault. In the west part of the nave, there is a spacious, wooden organ gallery supported by wooden Tuscan columns and featuring a parapet in the form of a blind balustrade. The nave is preceded by a tower, its ground floor section flanked by the baptistery and the staircase leading up to the organ gallery. The church body is covered with a single roof. An annex containing the sacristy and the patrons’ gallery adjoins the chancel. The façades of the church are accentuated by giant order pilasters, entablature and ornamentation in the form of cartouches as well as festoons, garlands and draperies suspended from ornamental bands. In addition, the front façade is topped with a volute-shaped gable partially obscuring the lower section of the tower; the tower’s upper part is enlivened by quatrefoil blind windows and blind balustrades beneath the windows of the uppermost storey. The flattened, bulbous cupola with a lantern provides the finishing touch. The interior of the church features a profusion if lavish, Early Baroque plasterwork decorations - cartouches (including heraldic ones), gargoyles, acanthus motifs, flower bouquets and garlands suspended from ornamental bands, draperies, sea shells as well as putti and herms. The ribs of the Gothic vaulted ceiling in the chancel are concealed beneath roll-mouldings made up of laurel leaves, while the supports take the form of corbels designed to resemble column capitals. The fixtures and fittings of the church include a Late Baroque main altarpiece (1770-1780) attributed to Michael Ignatz Klahr, two side altarpieces in Late Baroque framing, a pulpit adorned with polychrome figures as well as late-19th century stained glass windows.

The building is available all year round; interior tours upon prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Iwona Rybka-Ceglecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 26-06-2015.


  • Album der Graffschaft Glatz oder Abbildungen der Städte, Kirchen, Klöster, Schlösser und Burgen derselben von mehr als 150 Jahren, herausgegeben von Fr. Aug. Pompejus, Glatz (1862), collection of the National Museum in Wrocław.
  • Brzezicki S., Nielsen Ch., Grajewski G., Popp D. (ed.), Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006
  • Kalinowski K., Architektura barokowa na Śląsku w drugiej połowie XVII wieku, Wrocław - Warsaw - Cracow - Gdańsk 1974.
  • Kögler J., Historische Beschreibung der Pfarrei Grafenort, 1807, Vierteljahrschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde der Grafschaft Glatz, Bd. VII, 1887/8.
  • Kurze geschichtliche Nachrichten zum Album der Grafschaft Glatz, Glatz (1862).

Category: church

Building material:  kamienne

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_02_BK.75905, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_02_BK.79821