The Pszów Calvary complex, Pszów
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The Pszów Calvary complex

Pszów

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The Pszów Calvary is one of the four such sites created in Upper Silesia, enjoying the status of a regional landmark, serving as a living proof of the piety of the local people and remaining a popular pilgrimage destination to this day. In addition, the complex has a substantial architectural value, its consistent design bearing the hallmarks of modernised historicist architecture.

History

The construction of the Pszów Calvary began in the early 20th century at the initiative of rev, Brunon Laska, the local parish priest. In 1905, the enterprising cleric purchased 30 morgen of land which had once formed part of the nearby manor, the morgen being a measurement unit varying from 0.5 to 2.5 acres; later on, having obtained the permission for the construction of the complex from the church authorities in Wrocław, he began the construction of the Calvary. Owing to the support of the local parishioners, the paths of the Via Crucis were soon marked in the surrounding terrain, with the Stations of the Cross themselves taking the form of makeshift wooden posts with painted decorations on tin, portraying the successive chapters of the Passion of Christ. The site was consecrated one year later, during a parish festival held in September 1906. The construction of the first brick chapel began in 1910, with three such structures having been completed by September 1911, their design being the work of an unknown architect from Wrocław. Soon afterwards, however, certain events took place that would hinder the further development of the Calvary, including the devastating fire of September 11, 1911, which engulfed the parish storage buildings where fixtures and fittings designed for the newly constructed chapels were stored. To make matters worse, in 1913 reverend Laska was relocated to the village of Jastrząb. One year later, the mining operations carried out at the nearby “Anna” mining facility necessitated the remodelling of the layout of access paths leading to the chapels, with one of the chapels being moved to a different location. In 1928, due to the poor technical condition of the Calvary, the decision on the comprehensive renovation of the three existing chapels was adopted; in addition, the missing chapels would now be erected on the basis of the existing design. The local parish priest, reverend Mikołaj Knosala, continued the work of his predecessor, with the construction works being carried out owing to the support and knowledge of the local craftsmen. The bricks were donated by Józef Szolc, the owner of a local brickyard, while the construction works themselves were performed by the company owned by Walenty Maciejak from Pszów. The statues positioned inside the chapels were crafted by a workshop based in Poznań. The voluntary labour of the local residents allowed the three older chapels to be renovated in 1929; these were joined by twelve new chapels, with the entire complex being consecrated during a ceremony held on October 1, 1929. In 1934, the subsiding soil from the earthen mound near the mining facility resulted in the obliteration of the road leading to the Calvary; reverend Knosala and the church administration were forced to design a new access path, which, however, necessitated the removal of the first chapel. After World War II, the technical condition of the chapels was slowly beginning to deteriorate; towards the end of the 1970s, the 15th chapel attained the status of a church. In the 1980s, the structure underwent a full-scale restoration, while in 1999 a separate parish was established here. The most recent comprehensive restoration of the chapels took place in 2003 and was conducted owing to the generosity of the local parishioners, who would often finance the project on their own.

Description

The Pszów Calvary is situated in the northern part of town, on the slopes of a hill. The Kusocińskiego, Sikorskiego, Lipowa, Kalwaryjska and Chrószcza streets serve as the boundaries of the Calvary site. The complex features a rather informal appearance, its landscape values stemming from the incorporation of the existing landforms into the design. The individual chapels, designed by an unknown architect from Wrocław, bear the hallmarks of a modernised variety of the historicist style, incorporating mostly Baroque Revival forms and detailing. The chapels serve as the Stations of the Cross and contain altar stones and sculptures portraying the successive stages of Christ’s path to Golgotha, designed in two markedly different styles. Some of these sculptures lean towards realism, with clear Classicist influences, while the others were designed in a mixture of the Baroque Revival and Rococo styles. All of the chapels were designed as small buildings, with the sole exception of the 12th station, which takes the form of three plain, wooden crosses standing at 8 metres tall. The final chapel - chapel no. 15 - is the largest of them all and serves as the culmination of the path trodden by the pilgrims, a finishing touch in the entire composition. This chapel, designed as a Romanesque Revival basilica with a chancel ending in an apse, has served as the parish church of the Resurrection of Our Lord from the 1990s onwards. The remaining chapels are small brick structures with plaster-covered walls, designed mostly on a rectangular floor plan, with a few of them also featuring semi-hexagonal end sections. The overall form and detailing varies from chapel to chapel.

The buildings can be viewed from the outside. The 15th chapel serves as the parish church of the Resurrection of Our Lord and can be explored during church service.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 06-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Zespół Kalwarii (The Calvary Complex), prepared by W. Krajewski, A. Olszewska, A. Szumska, J. Kotula, Bytom 2005, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Kalwaria, rzym.-kat. parafia p.w. NMP (The Roman Catholic Calvary of the Blessed Virgin Mary), prepared by J. Wnuk, B. Kosmala, B. Małusecki, B. Kozłowska-Pizdoń, Archives of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Karwot Z., Pszów. Kult Matki Boskiej (1723-1921), Pszów 2001
  • Kontny I., Sanktuarium Matki Boskiej Uśmiechniętej w Pszowie, [in:] Sanktuaria i miejca pielgrzymkowe w województwie Śląskim, G. Bożek (ed.), Katowice 2005, pp. 41-46
  • Porwoł P., Kalwaria Pszowska, Racibórz 2008

General information

  • Type: sacral architecture
  • Chronology: 1911 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Pszów
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district wodzisławski, commune Pszów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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