Augustinian monastery complex in the Kazimierz District, Kraków
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Zdjęcie panoramiczne tej lokalizacji jest niedostępne.

Augustinian monastery complex in the Kazimierz District

Kraków

photo

The church of St Catherine of Alexandria and St Margaret is one of the biggest Gothic buildings found in Cracow, and one of the most magnificent monuments in Lesser Poland. The mausoleum of the aristocratic Jordan family is commonly recognised as a masterpiece of Polish Mannerism.

History

The beginnings of the Augustinian monastery complex are associated with chartering of the town of Kazimierz by Casimir the Great in 1335; most probably in the 1340s, the sovereign founded a church to be used by Augustinian brothers brought from Prague in 1342. The monastery church (today also a parish church) of St Catherine of Alexandria and St Margaret was built in a couple of stages: until consecration in 1378, a brick chancel terminating in a semi-decagon, with stone detail, was constructed with participation of the construction workshops of Wawel. In approx. 1400, the body of the church was completed, and instead of the originally planned 5-bay hall, a 4-bay basilica came into being, with a pier and buttress structure. The stone southern nave with a porch was erected at the final stage by the workshop of the Parler family, owing to the efforts of the Noblemen of Brzezie whose coats of arms (Zadora) decorate keystones of the cross-rib vaulting. The foundations of the planned western bay were used in approx. 1400 to build an uncompleted stone chapel of St Monica, founded by Ścibor from Ściborzyce, with cross-rib vaults resting on a central pier. The late-Gothic lierne vault of the chancel came into being after 1443, after an earthquake. Also the Augustinian monastery grew gradually—in 1365, works in its oldest part (the eastern wing including, inter alia, chapel of St Dorothy, consecrated in 1365, founded by Casimir the Great and built by the workshop of Wawel) were completed. 12 years later, the monastery cloisters were ready. In the northern terminal section of the wing, a Gothic fortified tower was adopted in the defensive walls of Kazimierz. The early modern architecture of the storeys of the monastery was shaped in the 17th century. The church's interior was destroyed by fire in 1556. Construction and restoration works were carried out in the years 1561-1562, and in 1631, the church was renovated. Another earthquake from 1786 resulted in broken vaults, and in 1801 the Austrian authorities took over the building to use it as a magazine, which resulted in devastation of the architecture and fittings and in a series of restoration works, undertaken, among other things, in the years 1833-1835, 1852-1864 (reconstruction of the destroyed main nave vault in the form of a false wooden structure), 1893-1914, and full-scale conservation works after 1989.

Description

The Augustinian monastery complex is located in the Kazimierz District. The area it occupies resembles a rectangle whose sides are defined by Paulińska Street from the north, Skałeczna Street from the south, and Augustiańska Street from the east.

The church of St Catherine of Alexandria and St Margaret is made of brick and stone. It is a 4-bay basilica built in a pier and buttress structure. It combines in a way typical of the Gothic architecture of Cracow an elongated chancel with a short basilica body. The high and slender chancel terminating in a semi-decagon is framed by buttresses decorated with stone pinnacles. In the walls between the buttresses there are pointed-arch windows filled with stone tracery and stained glass. In the brick architecture of the church, the stone southern nave with a porch with lavish details (bar tracery in the external façades, pinnacles, portals) particularly draws attention. The interior of the church is dominated by a Baroque, lavishly decorated main altar from the years 1631-1636. In the main nave of the church on the south, there is a Mannerist grave monument of the Jordan family (early 17th century, workshop of Santi Gucci), and on the northern wall, there is a series of 17th-century paintings with scenes from the life and legend of St Augustine.

The Gothic monastery buildings adjoining the church from the north are comprised of 3 wings connected with cloisters adjoining the church, surrounding a garth, and an extension of the eastern wing, reaching the line of the municipal defensive walls on the north.

On the monastery cloisters, many paintings and stone sculptures and plaques have survived, mainly from the 15th and 16th century. A very beautiful depiction of the Holy Mother from the early 16th century, revered as "Our Lady of Consolation" can be found in a chapel separated from the cloisters in the 17th century.

A free-standing bell tower can be found on the south-eastern side of the church. It is comprised of a Gothic brick base built on a square floor plan from the 15th century, and a wooden upward extension, originating in its current form from the early 19th century.

The monastic garden is located in the western part of the complex, and delimited by municipal defensive walls from the north and garden walls from the west and south. While the division of the garden into sections is no longer visible, it is still used as a crop garden.

The structure can be accessed from the outside.

compiled by Tomasz Woźniak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 15-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • Dobrowolski T., Sztuka Krakowa, Kraków 1978
  • Dyba O., Majka M., Zabytki architektury i budownictwa w Polsce. T.18, cz.2, Województwo krakowskie, Warszawa 1995
  • Janicka-Krzywda U., Spiechowicz-Jędrys A., Kościół św. Katarzyny w Krakowie, Kraków 2004
  • Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski, Warszawa 2013
  • Węcławowicz T., Gotyckie Bazyliki Krakowa, Kraków 1993

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1365-1377
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Augustiańska 7/9, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

Licence:

report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area