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Bernardine monastery complex, Rzeszów
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Bernardine monastery complex



One of the most valuable historical complexes in Rzeszów. The temple is an important Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rzeszów, classified into the group of cross-and-dome church-mausoleum, and features very valuable interior fittings. It is an outstanding work of sacred architecture, the mausoleum of the founder’s family, and an important component of the then town’s defence system.


Probably before 1475, in the north-western part of the town a wooden church was built that was associated with the worship of the miraculous statue of Our Lady with the Child, known as Our Lady of Rzeszów. The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built on the site formerly occupied by the wooden church in 1624-1629 (preparatory work for the construction lasted from 1610); it was founded by Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza. A quadrangle of wooden Bernardine monastery buildings was erected simultaneously with the church. In the deed of donation of the church, the owner of Rzeszów included the requirement to fortify the church. The church and monastery complex was extended beyond the town fortifications. Surrounded by ponds and embankments, it was the last point of defence of the bastion flanking the northern and western fronts of the fortifications of Rzeszów. A new monastery was built in 1702-1709. The design was developed by Tylman van Gameren, and construction work was carried out under the supervision of Piotr Belotti. In the mid-18th century, the interior of the church was completely altered. In 1895-1906, restoration to the interior of the church and alterations to the upper storey of the monastery were carried out under the supervision of architect Zygmunt Hendel. The northern part of the church was extended by addition of a corridor connecting the sacristy to the monastery. The interior of the church was repaired between 1957 and 1959, and the renovations to the roof with the replacement of the roof cladding with copper sheet, walls and façades were carried out in 1970-1972 and 2004-2010. Between 2010 and 2012, the monastery was extended, its lattis was adapted for use, and the car park to the north and north-east of the complex were converted into the “Bernardine Gardens” with an underground car park.


The Bernardine monastery complex in Rzeszów consists of the late Renaissance Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and 18th-century monastery. It is located north-west of the historic old town complex, at the square at the junction of Sokoła Street, Jana III Sobieskiego Street and Bernardyńska Street. Aleja Łukasza Cieplińskiego Street runs on the western side of the monastery. The newly built “Bernardine Gardens” are located to the north of the complex. The church is oriented towards the east; the monastery buildings are located on the north-west side of the church.

Church: single-nave, built on a Latin cross floor plan, with the cupola at the crossing of the nave and transept. It consists of a single-bay chancel topped with semicircular arches, two-bay main nave on a nearly square floor plan, of the same width as the chancel, and two single-bay chapels forming a transept, built on a rectangular floor plan. On the west side, the main nave adjoins a tower built on a square floor plan. To the north, the chancel adjoins a sacristy built on a trapezoid floor plan, of the same width as the northern chapel. A rectangular room of the same width adjoins the northern wall of the main nave. The northern wall of the church adjoins a corridor connecting the sacristy to the monastery.

The body of the church is compact; the naves and the chancel are of the same height; the church is covered with gable roofs, with the roofs of the chancel terminating in hemispheres and shed roofs of the rooms on the northern side of the church. The cupola is almost completely hidden in the roof space and topped with a two-storey lantern. The multi-storey tower is crowned with a dome characterised by a hip-shaped base, small cupola and openwork lantern. Under the chancel and the main nave there is a currently inaccessible crypt.

The church was built of brick. The walls are covered with plaster. The roof is covered with copper sheet.

The façades of the church and tower feature frame partitions and are horizontally partitioned by subtly profiled cornices. In the frieze beneath the upper cornice, there are embrasures for handguns (fire stations were located in the attic space). Entrance doors to the church are vaulted with segmental arches and located in the tower to the south and west. The façades of the church and tower are pierced by rectangular windows terminating in semicircular arches, which are topped with circular windows. The upper part of the tower, above the frieze with embrasures, is pierced by rectangular windows terminating in semicircular arches. Above them are double semicircular windows, formerly serving as lookout windows used by the guard and canon embrasures at the canon post located on the upper storey of the tower.

The interior walls are partitioned with pilasters supporting an entablature with a pronounced cornice. At the intersection of the naves, there are four massive corner pillars supporting the vault arches. The main nave is covered with a barrel vault with lunettes, the remaining parts with groin vaults. Above the apse is a hemispherical vault with lunettes. Walls and vaults are clad with late Baroque trompe-l’œil paintings with depictions of religious scenes.

The most valuable interior fittings include: worshipped fifteenth-century Gothic statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the altar of the chapel in the southern transept; eight Renaissance statues of Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza and other members of the Ligęza family, made before 1637, attributed to Sebastian Sala or Jan Pfister; Late Renaissance main altar in the form of a triptych, with alabaster reliefs, authored by Jan Pfister or Jan Behem; the oldest marble and alabaster altar of the Holy Cross from before 1629, relocated to the corridor at a later time; two Late Baroque altars from the mid-18th century and four altars from the late 18th century; wooden Rococo choir and pipe organ casing with the instrument made in 1774.

Monastery: on a square floor plan, composed of four wings surrounding the garth. The wings are single-bay, with a corridor from the garth and cells from the outside.

The wings are multi-storey and feature three avant-corps to the west and one on the eastern edge of the northern wing, and have a basement underneath some of their sections. The monastery is covered with gable roofs and three-pitched roofs. At the south-eastern corner, there is multi-storey corridor connecting the monastery to the church tower. The space between the monastery and the church to the north-east of the complex is occupied by a one-storey building of the Bernardine Centre for Religion and Culture erected in 2007-2010.

The monastery buildings were built of brick and covered with plaster. The roofs are clad with copper sheet.

The façades are smooth, without architectural decorations, pierced by rectangular windows on both storeys.

The corridors on the ground floor are covered with barrel vaults with lunettes. The remaining rooms have groin vaults or cloister vaults with lunettes. The rooms on the first floor have flat ceilings.

The monument is open to visitors. The monastery is cloistered.

compiled by Mieczysław Kuś, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 06-12-2014.


  • Borowiejska-Birkenmajerowa M., Rozwój przestrzenny miasta za Mikołaja Spytka Ligęzy, [in:] Dzieje Rzeszowa, vol. I, Rzeszów 1994, pp. 259-272.
  • Encyklopedia Rzeszowa, 2nd Edition: Kościół Bernardynów, prepared by Hennig W., Rzeszów 2011, pp. 313-315.
  • Karta ewidencyjna, Kościół p.w. /O.O. Bernardynów/ ul. Bernardyńska, prepared by Malczewski J., Rzeszów 1993, Archives of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments, Rzeszów Regional Office.
  • Record sheet, Klasztor o.o. bernardynów, prepared by Żurawska T., Rzeszów 1959, Archives of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments, Rzeszów Regional Office.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce. Powiat Rzeszów - miasto Rzeszów, prepared by Dunin-Fishinger B., Fishinger A., pp. 5-10, typescript available at the Archives of the National Heritage Board of Poland, Regional Office in Rzeszów.
  • Kaznowska Z., Sanktuarium maryjne OO. Bernardynów w Rzeszowie, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska 1981.
  • Karczmarzewski A. Kościół i klasztor oo. Bernardynów. Dzieje kultu cudownego wizerunku Matki Bożej Rzeszowskiej, [in:] Kościoły, klasztory i parafie dawnego Rzeszowa, Rzeszów 2001, pp. 93-101.
  • Fischinger A. Kościół bernardyński w Rzeszowie, architektura i najstarsze wyposażenie wnętrza, [in:] Kościoły, klasztory i parafie dawnego Rzeszowa, Rzeszów 2001, pp. 103-113.
  • Miłobędzki A., Architektura polska XVII wieku, Warsaw 1980.
  • Mossakowski S., Tylman z Gameren architekt polskiego baroku, Wrocław, Warsaw, Cracow, Gdańsk 1973.
  • Podkarpacki Biuletyn Konserwatorski, vol. III, part II, Zespół klasztorny OO. Bernardynów, ul. Sokoła 8, prepared by Kosiorowski J., Przemyśl 2011, pp. 200-205.
  • Zaucha T. Konserwacja zabytków. Prace remontowe kościoła i klasztoru oo. Bernardynów, [in:] Dzieje Rzeszowa, vol. II, part W czasach autonomii galicyjskiej, Rzeszów 1998, pp. 509-516.

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1702-1709
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Sokoła 8, Rzeszów
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district Rzeszów, commune Rzeszów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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