Church of the Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called the Ruin, Inowrocław
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Church of the Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called the Ruin



One of the most interesting Romanesque churches in Poland, the largest example of the “reduced basilica.” The value of the historic structure is raised by the carved gargoyle masks and zoomorphic motives preserved on the exterior walls, exceptional on a national scale, the recognition of which was not actually established.


The founder of the temple was probably the first duke of Kujawy - Leszek, son of Bolesław Kędzierzawy. The church was erected at the turn of the 12th and 13th century. It was first mentioned in a document of 1233. It was used as a parish church for Inowrocław (maybe as a collegiate). In the 13th century the brick towers were added. In the 14th century the stone apses were dismantled and the presbytery was extended to the East, adding some Gothic features to it. In the 16th and 17th century the building started to dilapidate. In the end of the 18th century the vault, some of the walls of the presbytery and the upper part of the southern tower collapsed. During the renovation taken up at that time, the remains of the Gothic presbytery were removed, and it was reconstructed in its previous borders from the Roman times, and the tower was repaired. The church was given the late Baroque style. In 1834 the building was damaged by the fire. The temple was reconstructed only in the years 1900-1902 under the direction of Julius Kohte, who performed a re-romanization of the structure. The stone walls were then complemented, the northern portal was rebuilt, the southern portal was reconstructed in brick and stone, the apse was added at the end of presbytery and the northern tower was reconstructed. However, the Romanesque vault in the northern tower was damaged and original stone face of the interior walls of the nave. The interior and fittings were completed in 1929. After the war destructions, when the church was used as a warehouse, subsequent renovation was carried out in the years 1950-1952 according to the design of Stefan Narębski.


The church is located outside the borders of the Medieval and Early Modern town, within the area of the pre-charter housing estate. It is built of granite cut stones and of brick in the upper parts of the towers. It is oriented, one-nave and is one of the “reduced basilicas” group. The western facade has two towers. The towers are set on a square plan, there is a porch in the ground floor between them and a gallery on the first-floor level. There are saddle roofs and tented roofs by the towers. The interior of the nave is covered with a wooden ceiling,  presbytery is covered with a barrel vault. The presbytery is short and ends with an apse. The masks carved in relief and zoomorphic engravings are positioned in no specific order on the exterior walls of the church, mainly on the northern wall. There is a wooden figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus, in the type of Madonnas on a lion, dated 1370-1380, preserved from the previous fittings of the building.

Limited access to the historic building. The structure can be viewed from the outside, the interior may be visited during masses.

Compiled by Adam Paczuski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Toruń, 22.08.2014.


  • Frycz A., Architektura i sztuka Inowrocławia, [in:] Dzieje Inowrocławia, vol. 2, Warsaw-Poznań-Toruń 1982.
  • Parucka K., Raczyńska-Mąkowska E., Katalog zabytków województwa bydgoskiego, Bydgoszcz 1997.
  • Sikorski C., Encyklopedia wiedzy o zabytkach Inowrocławia, Inowrocław 2002.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XII/XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Laubitza 9, Inowrocław
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district inowrocławski, commune Inowrocław (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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