Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, Lwówek Śląski
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Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary

Lwówek Śląski

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A rare and particularly valuable example of a Gothic church with clearly apparent relics of Romanesque architecture - particularly in the front façade forming the monumental, two-tower westwork of the church.

History

The church was originally founded by duke Henry I the Bearded in 1238. In years 1281-1801, the church remained under the patronage of the Order of Saint John, with the exception of the period between ca. 1520 and 1637, when it served the needs of the Evangelical community. In 1444, a chapel was added. The building was gutted by fire in 1445 and was later reconstructed and redesigned in years 1493-1511 under the direction of Konrad Pflueger from Zgorzelec. The main body of the church and its vaulted ceiling have suffered extensive damage in 1512 and were later reconstructed in the years 1515-59, with the participation of Hans Lindener. Following a fire which swept across the church in 1752, the vaulted ceilings have collapsed ince again and were later replaced with a flat ceiling in the course of reconstruction which took place in the years 1863-66, with the architect Oliver Pavelt being responsible for the design. The church was renovated on numerous occasions, including in years 1767-71 and 1970-76.

Description

The church is located in the western part of the town centre. Designed in a mixture of the Late Romanesque and Gothic styles, it is a three-nave hall church oriented towards the east; originally, however, the church had followed a basilica layout. The entire structure is made of ashlar stones and topped with a tall gable roof clad with ceramic roof tiles. The side aisles feature three-sided end sections towards the east, with the main nave ending in a semi-decagonal termination. The monumental west-facing front façade (westwork) features a pair of towers designed on a square floor plan, their two uppermost storeys following an octagonal shape, topped with tall pyramid roofs. The section between the two towers is topped with a mono-pitched roof. A two-storey porch with a chapel and galleries (Hans Lindener, 1543) adjoins the western side of the main body of the church; another porch containing a two-bay sacristy and galleries on the first floor (1558-59) adjoins the church on its northern side. No plaster finish has been applied to the façades of the church, supported by buttresses and featuring a bottom plinth separated from the rest of the façade by a profiled cornice. The tall, elongated windows are topped with pointed arches and adorned with stone tracery. The western façade features a bricked-up central rose window from the 13th century, replaced with a pair of stacked, pointed-arch windows (ca. 1500). At the ground floor level there is an Early Gothic portal topped with a pointed arch (ca. 1260-70); the portal features a stepped outline with columns whose capitals are adorned with foliate decorations. The archivolt is adorned with crockets and foliate motifs, while the tympanum incorporates an image of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary along with figures of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. The entire portal is framed with a wimperg flanked by a pair of pinnacles (19th century). The side, south-facing portal incorporates an entrance door topped with a shouldered flat arch framed by a stepped, pointed-arch surround. The interior of the main body of the church is partitioned with two rows of octagonal pillars with semi-circular attached shafts and decorative capitals (although only a half of the original number thereof has been preserved), supporting a flat wooden ceiling (1863-66) which replaces the original vaulted ceiling which has collapsed and was never rebuilt in its initial form. Ribbed vaults are used for both the apses and the ground-floor section of the southern tower, while the connecting section between the towers features a barrel vault with lunettes. The northern and southern porches feature lierne vaults on both levels. The galleries open up towards the interior of the church in a series of pointed-arch openings with stone balustrades adorned with tracery. The pipe organ gallery in the western bay of the main nave (ca. 1866) is supported by a trio of pointed arches and also features a tracery balustrade. The interior fixtures and fittings are designed in the Gothic Revival style (ca. 1866), including the main altarpiece incorporating the paintings of the Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as images of the Evangelists (Alois Hauser), the side altarpieces with paintings of St Hedwig and the Crucifixion (Ferdinand Winter) as well as the pulpit and the pipe organ casing. Other notable items include the painting of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1771) as well as a sumptuously decorated stone baptismal font from the Renaissance period (ca. 1560), its casing adorned with sculpted reliefs.

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, 28-08-2015.

Bibliography

  • Słownik Geografii Turystycznej Sudetów. Vol. 2 Pogórze Izerskie, Vol. I, M. Staff (ed.), Wrocław 2003, pp. 457-461.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, pp. 532-533.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościelna , Lwówek Śląski
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district lwówecki, commune Lwówek Śląski - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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