Parish Church of St Hedwig of Silesia, Karpniki
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Parish Church of St Hedwig of Silesia

Karpniki

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A small aisleless church with elements of both the Gothic and the Renaissance style, featuring lavish original interior fixtures and fittings.

History

The first mentions of the church date back to 1399; the original church is believed to have been destroyed during the Hussite Wars in the first half of the 15th century. It was subsequently rebuilt in the Renaissance style during the second half of the 16th century (with the date 1589 being displayed on its tower), incorporating fragments of the older walls from the Gothic period. A thorough restoration and redesign followed in 1648. In 1847, the church was extended, while year 1897 brought about yet another series of renovation works, including the redesign of the tower top section and cupola. Subsequent renovation works took place in 1962 and 1975-77.

Description

The church is situated in the central part of the village; it is surrounded by a cemetery. Overall, the building is very much a Renaissance structure, although the relics of its Gothic roots are still clearly evident. The building is oriented towards the east, with a wide, aisleless body and an almost indistinct chancel adjoined by a sacristy and patrons’ gallery to the north. The entire structure is covered with a tall gable roof. A stout tower designed on a square floor plan adjoins the church to the west, positioned slightly offset against the middle axis of the church and topped with a Renaissance Revival roof parapet with rounded battlements as well as a slender, relatively low spire believed to have been added in the mid-17th century. The façades are covered with plaster, their articulation based on the use of decorative framing. The individual storeys of the tower are separated by narrow cornices, with corners accentuated with faux quoins. The windows are mostly topped with semicircular arches and feature splayed reveals framed with plain, plaster surrounds. The tower features bipartite mullioned windows. Some of the minor stone detailing from the Gothic period, such as the stone head in the upper section of the northern façade, can still be admired to this day. The nave is covered with a flat ceiling dating back to 1677, with the chancel featuring a cross-rib vault. A groin vault can be seen on the ground floor level of the tower, while the sacristy features a vaulted ceiling of the barrel type. The fixtures and fittings include a wooden, polychromed altarpiece from the Renaissance period, incorporating the painting of the Crucifixion as well as figures of St Peter and Paul as well as a 17th-century pulpit and a Rococo side altarpiece from the 18th century. Other notable items include the collection of Baroque paintings as well as the wooden, Gothic sculpture of the Virgin Mary with Child standing atop a crescent, dating back to the 15th century. This valuable sculpture, however, has subsequently been lost and is currently unaccounted for. The figural epitaph plaque dedicated to Friedrich von Kanitz (who died in 1582) is embedded in one of the walls.

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, 24-06-2015.

Bibliography

  • Słownik Geografii Turystycznej Sudetów. Vol. 5 Rudawy Janowickie, M. Staffa (ed.), Wrocław 1998, pp. 134-135
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, p. 387.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościelna 1, Karpniki
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district jeleniogórski, commune Mysłakowice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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