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Monastery building, former hospital, currently the Collegium Maius of the University - Zabytek.pl

Opole, Plac Kopernika 11

woj. opolskie, pow. m. Opole, gm. Opole-gmina miejska

The history of the hill is traditionally associated with the figure of St.Adalbert, who in 984 was supposed to come to Opole and baptise converted inhabitants of Opole.

This place was later occupied by a well of St. Adalbert, visible in F. Werner's painting, church and monastery. The later history of the Dominican monastery, then a hospital and finally a university building are strongly linked to the history and everyday life of the city. The complex is a dominant feature in the panorama of the city.


The first wooden monastery founded by Duke Bolko I was constructed in 1295-1301 (according to other sources — after 1254). In the first half of the 13th century, fragments of the defensive wall were used for the construction a masonry monastery, which underwent alterations in 1399. In 1530, the Dominicans were removed from the monastery, and the condition of the abandoned building deteriorated. After being regained by the order in 1614, renovation work on the monastery continued for several years and new walls were erected. In the 17th century, the monastery was destroyed, and the friars moved to the nearby castle called "Na Górce". In 1701-1708, the entire monastery complex was thoroughly reconstructed and baroqueized; it was again destroyed the great fire of the city in 1739.

The F. Werner's painting from around 1750 shows three monastery wings together with a church formed a quadrangle with a small garth in the middle. At the corner of the south wing, there was the chapel of St. Adalbert (number of entry: 756/64), the courtyard was occupied by a well, and on the southern side of the monastery there was a four-quarter garden surrounded by a wall. After secularisation in 1811, the monastery building was separated from the church by bricking up the passages connecting them and put into use as offices and flats. In 1845, it was bought by Fr. Karl Alois Gaerth and intended to serve as a municipal hospital, and gradually altered: the western and southern wings were demolished (the wings were rebuilt in 1865, and additionally extended to the west in 1885), among others. In 1893-1894, the present front part of the building located to the east of the old buildings was built on the site formerly occupied by a moat. The part is complex. In 1945, the structure was partially destroyed by fire and plundered; in the post-war years it was reconstructed and used as a hospital. It was in poor technical condition when it was taken over by the University of Opole in 1996. Since 2002, after reconstruction and modernisation, it has served as the seat of the rectorate of the University of Opole.


The former Dominican monastery complex is located in the north-eastern part of the city centre, near the line of the former town fortifications, on the tallest hill in the old town. To the west, the building complex can be accessed by stairs which are an extension of Świętego Wojciecha Street connecting the Market Square to the Small Market Square (Mały Rynek). To the east, there is the main entrance to the CM, and in front of it there is Copernicus Square. Green areas surrounding the monastery complex are used for the exhibition of sculptures from the surrounding neglected palaces (including, but not limited to, Baroque depiction of four seasons sculpted by Heinrich Hartmann originating from Biestrzykowice, Marian column moved from Regulice north of the Nysa river, and monumental sculpture of St. Christopher with Child from the palace in Kopice) and depicting figures from the world of art and culture. Nearby is a neo-Gothic orphanage building (currently the Collegium Minus of the University of Opole), Piast tower and Jesuit College (currently the Museum of Opole Silesia).

The monastery buildings were erected on limestone, on shallow foundations, with the oldest sections made of stone. Walls in the historic part are made of solid brick. The rooms are covered with segmental vaults (mainly in the basement) and groin vaults. Most rooms were formerly topped with wooden and Klein ceilings — now modernised.

The present form of the multiple-wing building has been shaped by subsequent redevelopments (mainly in the second half of the 19th century) and modernisation in the later 20th century. The oldest Baroque wing is adjacent to the chancel, currently a parish church, and along with the almost perpendicular west wing is a reconstruction of the outline of the former garth. The preserved original components of the former monastery include a Dominican refectory ornamented with painted Late Baroque decorations depicting the Holy Trinity, guardian angel, and St. Michael the Archangel, which currently serves as a room. The front wing erected in 1893-1894 consists of two four-storey solids with picturesque tower projections, with façades composed using Romanesque Revival, Classicist and Baroque Revival forms. In 1996-2001, it extended upwards by adding a glass superstructure over the line of attic windows.

The structure is open to the public from the outside; viewing of the interior is possible during the classes at the University of Opole.

compiled by Ewa Kalbarczyk-Klak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 17-06-2014.


  • Schidlausky G., Hartmann R., Eberle K., DieBau-und Kunstdenkmäler des Stadtkreises Oppeln, Breslau 1939, p. 105.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, woj. opolskie, miasto Opole i pow. opolski, Vol. VII, issue 11, pp. 21-28.
  • Nicieja S.S., Wzgórze Uniwersyteckie w Opolu, ludzie i zabytki, fakty i legendy, Opole 2008.
  • Opracowania z archiwum WUOZ w Opolu
  • Opole. Dzieje i tradycja, Link B., Tarka K., Zajączkowska U. (eds.), Opole 2011.

Category: monastery

Building material:  ceglane

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_16_BK.36449, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_16_BK.25240