Parish church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Jelenia Góra
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Jelenia Góra

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The largest of the six Churches of Grace, erected by the Evangelicals pursuant to the Treaty of Altranstädt in 1707, with the special permission from Joseph I, the Emperor of Austria. The church was designed by the eminent Silesian architect Martin Frantz, hailing from Tallin. Today, it remains an outstanding example of a Late Baroque church, modelled after the church of St Catherine in Stockholm.

History

The church was erected in the years 1709-18 based on the design produced by Martin Frantz. The house of the pastors was erected during the same period (1709-11). Having suffered damage during a fire which engulfed it on 16.10.1806, destroying the dome as well as the top sections of the staircase towers, the church was reconstructed before 1810, albeit in a slightly simplified form and with some new, Classicist detailing. The church was subsequently renovated in the years: 1908, 1925 (at which point the cupola lantern regained its Baroque appearance) as well as in 1959, 1963, 1973 and 1975-78.

Description

The building is located east of the city centre, in the area formerly known as Przedmieście Wojanowskie (the Wojanowskie Suburb). It is surrounded by a large cemetery which currently serves as a public park. The church, designed in the Baroque style, is oriented towards the east and positioned atop a stone plinth. The entire structure was designed on a Greek cross plan, its eastern arm extended through the addition of a chancel bay, designed on a square floor plan. Four staircase towers designed on a square plan are positioned between the arms of the cruciform church; the upper sections of the towers are octagonal in shape. A polygonal sacristy forms an extension of the chancel. The elaborate, monumental outline of the church is topped with an octagonal dome positioned on the nave crossing, topped with a Baroque cupola with a lantern. The arms of the church as well as its sacristy are covered with mansard roofs. The staircase towers are crowned with bulbous cupolas. The façades are covered with plaster, their corners accentuated with Tuscan pilasters and lesenes. Triangular tympanums crown the end sections of each of the arms. The windows are tall and elongated, reaching all the way from the plinth to the broad, simple entablature; they are framed with stone surrounds with imposts and keystones. Each tympanum incorporates an oval, flattened oculus. Inside, the church features an ensemble of two-storey wooden galleries supported by a total of 26 composite columns and featuring plain balustrades; a third, much shallower gallery level rises above the two lower levels. Separate seating areas, designated some time after the galleries themselves were built, can still be seen inside the church. The naves feature vaulted ceilings of the barrel type, with a cupola ceiling rising above the nave crossing. The painted decorations which grace both the walls and the ceiling date back to the years 1734-51 and were executed by the painters Felix Anton Scheffler and Johann Franz Hoffman. The main altarpiece (1727-29) combined with the pipe organ casing was created by David Hielscher, a renowned carpenter and woodcarver from Jelenia Góra, with the figural sculptures adorning the altarpiece attributed to Johann Georg Urbansky. The pipe organ casing features an elaborate structure, with a central, stained glass aureole incorporating the name of Yahweh (1727); the casing is the work of Johann Michael Roeder, a renowned pipe organ builder. The pipe organ casing was subsequently extended in years 1732 and 1830, with renovation works performed in 1905 by the company Schlag und Sohn from Świdnica. Other notable items include the sandstone pulpit (1717) adorned with lavish sculpted decorations and topped with a wooden canopy, as well as a baptismal font made of Przeworno marble (1717). The tower conceals a bell cast in 1807. In the cemetery there are 19 tomb chapels erected for the patricians of Jelenia Góra in the years 1716-70, positioned alongside the perimeter wall and distinguished by their elaborate architectural form and lavish sculptural decorations. The cemetery is also home to a valuable collection of headstones which are displayed between the chapels. The house of the pastors, combined with the local gymnasium, is located in the vicinity of the church. The building is a three-storey structure designed on a U-shaped plan, its façades partitioned with lesenes. The edifice is covered with a two-tier roof, its lower slope having a steeper angle than the upper. South of the church itself, on 1 Maja street, there is a house originally erected for church cantors - a two-storey structure from 1737 with a roof similar to that of the house of the pastors, its façades likewise partitioned with lesenes. Its interior follows a two-bay layout. Original vaulted ceilings of the barrel type (with lunettes) survive on the ground floor level of the house.

The church interiors may be visited during church service. For more information, please contact the parish office.

compiled by Piotr Roczek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 22-06-2015.

Bibliography

  • Słownik Geografii Turystycznej Sudetów. Vol. 4 Kotlina Jeleniogórska, M. Staffa (ed.), Wrocław 1999, pp. 197-204
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, pp. 354-355.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: 1 Maja 45, Jelenia Góra
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district Jelenia Góra, commune Jelenia Góra
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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