Church of St Joseph in Podgórze, church of Podgórze, Kraków
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Church of St Joseph in Podgórze, church of Podgórze

Kraków

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The parish church of St Joseph is a distinctive, widely recognisable sites of devotion. It dominates over the surface of the Podgórze Market Square, a central point of the town which only in the 20th century was incorporated to Cracow. It was designed by Jan Sas-Zubrzycki and invoked extreme reactions, however no one was left indifferent to it.

History

An independent parish was established for the church on 19.04.1818. A modest chapel in the so-called Ökonomie Gebaude was made available to the faithful then. In 1830, construction of the church in its current location was started on a plateau - remains of a quarry. The competition was won by a design created by a member of the Jewish community, which was not approved, however, and in another competition, a design of a small classical church by Franciszek Brotschneider was selected. The church was consecrated in 1832. It was fitted with equipment originating from the demolished (1835-38) church of All Saints in Cracow; among the fittings transferred to Podgórze, there were wooden main altar and marble side altars. It turned out, however, that the construction works were defective and already in the end of the 19th century a need for dismantling the church occurred. The church of St Joseph in its present, neo-Gothic form the residents of Podgórze owe to the efforts of priest Antoni Gruszecki, the then parish priest. It was him who noticed the work of an architect of Lviv, Jan Sas-Zubrzycki, exhibited in the Cracow’s Palace of Arts. The cost estimate enclosed to it amounted to PLN 200 thousand. Funds started to be raised, and the designer slightly simplified his original solutions to limit the expenditures. In 1905, the old church was dismantled. For the time of the construction, a chapel on the rectory was organised for the faithful. The construction site was consecrated on 13.05.1905, and the cornerstone was embedded on 17.09.1905. The constructors employed to build the new church were: Karol Kern and Karol Blum from Opawa and Aleksander Bibrowski from Cracow. Local builders also took part in the works. The construction proceeded very quickly and on 24 October 1909 the new church was consecrated. In the years 1978-2006, pralate Franciszek Kołacz founded the renovation of the church body (the works included, among other things, reinforcement of a broken tower) and interior, as well as its fittings, restoring the original layout of the church and using colours adequate to the architectural character of the building. The stone statue of St Joseph (a statue made in 1909 by Zygmunt Langman was removed in the 1950s) returned to the main altar. Also the church’s surroundings were cleaned.

Description

A design of a monumental church in the neo-Gothic style of the type found on the banks of the Vistula River, reminiscent of the architecture of Cracow churches, seemed appropriate for a “cathedral of Podgórze”. The author introduced pictorial brick façades embellished with multicolour, often glazed brick arranged in geometrical strip patterns, or combined various materials, making an excellent use of their decorative features. Point particularly important in architectural terms were accentuated. The church features lavish architectural and sculpture décor. At the intersection of the naves, there is a tower with a clock, topped with a slender tented roof reminiscent of the tower of St Mary’s church in Cracow. After 1909, the church started to be furnished. The main altar, the side altars, and the ambo were made in the years 1909-14, they were sculptured by Wit Wisz and Maksymilian Krzyk. The windows with stained glass panes were made in the workshop of Żeleński. The church, which was as spectacular architectural undertaking “was to inspire awe with the size of the articulated body, richness of architectural detail, and first of all the ideological programme reflected in the front façade, overlooking as a great theatre stage the surface of the market square”. Not everyone liked it. K. Estreicher wrote: The parish church is new, very ugly, built just before the war in a false Gothic style. It has a tower which mocks the tower of the St Mary’s church, so to speak. The interior was furnished in the next years, demonstrating the wealth of Podgórze. In 1922, priest Józef Niemczycki both a pipe organ made for the church in Baku in the Caucasus. The last element of the fittings became a baptismal font made of black marble in 1946. Priest Franciszek Mirek founded the painting of the church’s interior, covering it with multi-colour ornamentation; the side altars were also relocated. The only reminder of the dismantled old church is a brick bell tower in the back of the new church, coming from the years 1879-80. In the surroundings and rooms of the rectory, discovered elements of the original church’s masonry are exhibited. The church’s fencing was made in 1913.

Services on Sundays: 7.30, 9.00, 10.30 (for children), 12.00, 18.30, 20.00 (for students and business persons), on weekdays: 7.00, 8.00, 18.30. The church is accessible most of the day. In the rectory, in the so-called Quarry, exhibitions are frequently organised.

compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 20-03-2015.

Bibliography

  • Baliński M., Lipiński T., Starożytna Polska pod względem historycznym, jeograficznym [...], t. II, Warszawa 1885.
  • Bardel F., Miasto Podgórze, jego powstanie i pierwszych 50 lat istnienia, Kraków 1901.
  • Cholewka M., Dzieje parafii św. Józefa w Krakowie-Podgórzu [w:] Podgórze - dzieje duchowości i tolerancji. Materiały z sesji naukowej, Kraków 2006.
  • Chrzanowski T., M. Kornecki, Sztuka ziemi krakowskiej, Kraków 1982.
  • Estreicher K., Kraków. Przewodnik dla zwiedzających miasto i jego okolice, Kraków 1938.
  • Katalog dawnych map wieloskalowych Krakowa XVI-XIX wieku, red. M. Odlanicki-Poczobutt, Kraków 1981.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. I, Województwo krakowskie, pod red. J. Szablowskiego, Warszawa 1953, s. 524-525.
  • Krasnowolski B., Podgórze [w:] Atlas Historyczny Miast Polskich, tom V Małopolska, red. Z. Noga, Kraków 2007.
  • Mańkowska-Jurczak J., Beiersdorf Z., Kraków - Stare Podgórze. Studium analityczno-konserwatorskie zabytkowezabudowy w układzie przestrzennym Starego Podgórza, Kraków 1976; archiwum PKZ Kr 399.
  • Marcinek R., Rynek Podgórski. Studium historyczne, Kraków 2009
  • Podgórze w dziejach wielkiego Krakowa. Materiały sesji naukowej, Kraków 2000
  • Rożek M.,, Przewodnik po zabytkach i kulturze Krakowa, Warszawa-Kraków 2000, s. 534-53
  • Rusińska S., Beiersdorf Z., Kraków - Stare Podgórze. Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, Kraków 1977-1978; archiwum PKZ Kr 144.
  • Swaryczewska M., Żółciak J., Żółciak K., Grodziska K., Rynek Podgórski. Studium historyczno-kompozycyjne zieleni z koncepcją projektową, Kraków 1990-1991. Archiwum WUOZ w Krakowie nr 16394/91.
  • Wolne, królewskie miasto Podgórze, Płaszów, Rybitwy, Przewóz. Zarys przemian historycznych, oprac. zbiorowe pod redakcją J. Żółciaka, Kraków 1996
  • Zabytki architektury i budownictwa w Polsce. Kraków, oprac. Olga Dyba, Waldemar Brzoskwinia (obiekty obronne), Krajowy Ośrodek Badań i Dokumentacji Zabytków, Warszawa 2007

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: początek XX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zamojskiego 2, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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