Parish Church of the Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Kowary
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of the Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Kowary

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A Late Baroque hall church featuring lavish original interior fixtures and fittings. The preserved relics of painted decorations dating back to the 14th century contribute to its outstanding historical value.

History

The church was erected in several distinct stages. The main body came into being after 1549, while the chancel, part of the northern aisle and the ground floor section of the tower are even older, having been erected in the mid-14th century. In years 1549-1654, the church served the needs of the Evangelical community. Having been damaged by fire in 1633, the church underwent a thorough renovation, attaining the form of a hall church while its tower was extended upwards (1634). In 1677, a porch was added, while the interiors were redesigned in the Baroque style after 1749. Renovation works were carried out in the years 1837, 1934 and 1980-82.

Description

The church is situated in the central part of the town; it is surrounded by a cemetery. The building is designed in the Late Gothic style. It is an impressive brick and stone hall church oriented towards the east, with a broad, three-nave main body and a rectangular chancel with a semi-hexagonal end section, its walls reinforced with buttresses. The tower adjoins the western side of the church; it is slightly offset against the middle axis thereof, designed on a square floor plan and crowned with a Baroque cupola with a lantern (1721). A pair of Baroque tomb chapels from the years 1728-1730 and 1734, dedicated to the members of the Herbst family, are located in the south-western part of the church, where the tower meets the nave. Numerous epitaph plaques and headstones from the 16th-18th century are embedded into the walls of the main body of the church. A stone figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary (ca. 1450) can be seen on the western wall of the tower, perched on a corbel shaped like a beast’s head. The windows vary in size and proportions, most of them being elongated in shape, topped with semicircular arches and framed with slightly splayed reveals. Some of the windows are adorned with stone bar tracery. The main entrance is located in the northern part of the church, preceded by a quadrangular porch. The nave and the side aisles feature flat wooden ceilings (1663) adorned with figural wall paintings by Johann Lorenz (1749). The Chapel of the Dead, featuring a vaulted ceiling of the groin type, can be found in the ground floor section of the tower. The vaulted ceiling and the northern wall are adorned with late 15th-century wall paintings depicting the Coronation of the Virgin Mary along with a choir of saints. The nave and the aisles are separated by rows of rectangular pillars with chamfered corners, supporting semi-circular arches above. In the 17th century, two-storey galleries were added to the interior, but these were later dismantled in 1719. The church fittings are predominantly Baroque in style. They include the architectural main altarpiece and pulpit from 1749, crafted by Anton Dorazil. The original main altarpiece - a Mannerist design dating back to the years 1633-54, incorporating a Crucifixion scene in its centre - has been moved to the northern aisle. The other side altarpieces originate from the 1st half of the 18th century. On the western gallery there is a pipe organ casing from the years 1719-21, designed by Eberhardt from Szprotawa, a renowned pipe organ builder. A number of architectural tomb chapels can be found in the church cemetery, including the chapel of the von Buchwald-Bunter family (1730-40), featuring a portal with diagonally positioned herm pilasters and a figure of Christ Resurrected rising above its portal.

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. 154-157
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, p. 439.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XVI - XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Franciszkański , Kowary
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district jeleniogórski, commune Kowary
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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