The castle chapel of the Holy Trinity, Lublin
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The castle chapel of the Holy Trinity

Lublin

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The most valuable of all historical monuments of the city of Lublin - the Gothic castle church dating back to the first half of the 14th century, featuring a unique, two-storey structure with a ground floor chamber and the first-floor nave, its vaulted ceiling resting on a single, central pillar. The interior of the upper part of the church is adorned by polychrome decorations in the Byzantine-Ruthenian style (painted by Master Andrzej), funded by King Władysław Jagiełło (second decade of the 15th century).

History

The first church, forming part of the fortified settlement which had stood on this very site, is believed to have existed back in the 13th century; the current church (chapel), built along with the rest of the brick and stone castle, came into being during the reign of king Casimir the Great during the second or third quarter of the 14th century (lower church). In 1395, King Władysław Jagiełło granted substantial funds for the modernisation of the church, which took place in 1401. The interiors of the chapel were now graced by wall and ceiling paintings in Byzantine-Ruthenian style, completed in 1418 by Ruthenian painters - Master Andrzej and his disciples Kurył and Juszko. During the 1540s, a Renaissance portal and a new flight of exterior steps were added to the main entrance, while during the first half of the 17th century, the western gable was redesigned in the so-called Lublin Renaissance style. In years 1823-1826, the chapel was merged with the main body of a newly built prison and served as a prison chapel, with all the frescos being concealed under a layer of slaked lime. They were rediscovered in 1897 and then meticulously restored in years 1917-23. Following the liquidation of the prison facility in 1954 and the formation of the Lublin Museum, the chapel was subjected to a series of renovation works; these included, among others, the removal of exterior plasterwork in order for the medieval brick structure to become visible once again. A full-scale restoration of the chapel followed in years 1976-1998.

Description

The chapel is oriented towards the east; it is situated on the eastern edge of the Castle Hill, its chancel extending beyond the outline of the castle walls. From the moment the castle was adapted to serve as a prison during the first quarter of the 19th century, the southern wall of the nave adjoins the southern wing of the castle, with the front façade of the chapel facing the courtyard.

The chapel, designed in the Gothic style, is a two-storey brick structure with a crypt concealed beneath the chancel. The main body of the chapel was designed on a square floor plan as a four-bay structure with a central pillar; the chancel follows a two-bay layout and features a semi-hexagonal termination with a sacristy alongside the northern wall. A single flight of steps inside the northern wall lead down from the sacristy to the ground floor level, with the second flight of steps being located in the southern wall of the chancel. The third, spiral stairs leading to the organ gallery, concealed beneath a cylindrical brick partition, occupy the south-western corner of the nave. The wooden organ gallery rests upon three profiled wooden beams. The vaulted ceiling of the upper section of the chapel are of the cross-rib type, with the ceiling inside the nave supported by a single, octagonal pillar as well as on a number of corbels projecting from the walls. The lower level of the chapel features a groin vault with a square middle pier, while the chancel features a barrel vault.

Inside, the walls are covered with plaster, with the upper part of the chapel featuring frescos reminiscent of Byzantine and Ruthenian art, arranged in distinct bands and panels.

The exterior walls are free from any plasterwork, with the Gothic brickwork being plain to see. The front façade follows a two-axial design, intersected by a buttress on the middle axis and featuring another, corner buttress along the north-western corner, with the south-western corner being embedded in the southern wing of the former prison. On the ground floor level there is an entrance into the lower section of the chapel as well as two segment-headed windows and two pointed-arch windows positioned axially and accentuated by the double wall offset line, with the upper line running at the window sill level. The bottom part of the northern pointed-arch window is bricked up and partially obscured by the semi-circular pediment of the Renaissance portal which had once served as the main entrance, designed as an aedicula flanked by a pair of pilasters. The front façade is crowned by a three-storey Renaissance gable flanked by a pair of volutes. The western part of the northern façade, partitioned by a single buttress, features a pointed-arch window below which run two horizontal offset lines, mirroring the design of the front façade. The upper part of the eastern section of the chapel features a decorative flourish in the form of a trio of paired blind windows. A single paired blind window of a similar kind also appears on the northern chancel wall, with each of the three walls of its semi-hexagonal termination being pierced by axially positioned pointed-arch windows. A fourth window can be found in the southern wall of the chancel. The upper sections of the chancel walls are reinforced by corner buttresses extending above a thicker bottom section of the wall below. This sturdy and otherwise austere section of the wall features a single decorative flourish in the form of crenellation at its top, between the bases of the buttresses. The building features gable roofs with chantlates, clad with copper sheets which are a contemporary addition.

The chapel can be accessed during the opening hours of the Lublin Museum.

compiled by Roman Zwierzchowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 01.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Brykowska M., Królewska kaplica w świetle badań architektonicznych i porównawczych, in: Kaplica Trójcy Świętej na Zamku Lubelskim, Lublin 1999
  • Buczkowa I., Kościół Św. Trójcy na Zamku Lubelskim, Lublin 1983.
  • Dzieje sztuki polskiej, vol. 2, Architektura gotycka w Polsce, T. Mroczko and M. Arszyński (eds.), vol. 2, Katalog zabytków, A. Włodarek (ed.), Warsaw 1995
  • Koziarska-Kowalik J., Kaplica Zamkowa w Lublinie, Lublin 1997.
  • Milewska M., Prace konserwatorskie prowadzone przy malowidłach w kaplicy Św. Trójcy na Zamku Lubelskim, “Studia i Materiały Lubelskie” 1991, vol. 13.
  • Różycka-Bryzek A., Bizantyńsko-ruskie malowidła w kaplicy Zamku lubelskiego, Warsaw 1983.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 3 ćw. XIV w
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Lublin
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district Lublin, commune Lublin
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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