Donnersmarck mausoleum chapel, currently serving as the filial church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa, Świerklaniec
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Donnersmarck mausoleum chapel, currently serving as the filial church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa

Świerklaniec

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A representative example of the late 19th-century and early 20th-century ecclesiastical architecture of the Upper Silesia region. The design for the church - a miniature version of the church in Monbijou - was created by Julius Carl Raschdorff, one of the leading representatives of the Historicist movement among the German architects of the second half of the 19th century. In addition, the building forms an integral part of the spatial layout and composition of the Świerklaniec palace and park complex which had once belonged to the renowned noble family of Henckel von Donnersmarck.

History

The chapel - designed as part of the palace and park complex in Świerklaniec - was erected by Otto Raschdorff in the years 1895-96, based on the design produced by his father, Julius. In years 1903-1905, a mausoleum was erected north of the church, serving as the final resting place of Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck and his second wife, Katarzyna Slepcow, with both buildings being connected by a cloister. After World War II came to an end, the building was ransacked and devastated; in 1957, the edifice was handed over to the Catholic Church and underwent a comprehensive restoration. Towards the end of the 1950s, a prohibition on holding any religious service inside the church was imposed - a situation which would last for a few decades, with the abandoned church frequently falling prey to vandals. In 1982, the building was handed over to the Świerklaniec parish under an agreement of perpetual usufruct, with the church undergoing a thorough renovation. One year later, the church was consecrated and renamed as the church of the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa and continued to perform its function as a place of worship ever since.

Description

The church is situated in the north-western part of the palace and park complex in Świerklaniec, not far away from Parkowa street. The silhouette of the Gothic Revival aisleless church consists of several distinct sections of different heights - the nave, designed on a rectangular floor plan, the sacristy to the north as well as the vestibule on the southern side of the church, preceded by an open porch with a pointed roof resting on a decorative wooden structure. The second porch, likewise featuring a decorative openwork arrangement of wooden beams, is located on the western side of the building. North of the church itself lies the mausoleum, designed on a Greek Cross floor plan and linked to the church by a cloister designed on an L-shaped plan and consisting of a series of pointed arches adorned with tracery.

The church is made of brick arranged in the so-called Polish bond and features highly decorative stone detailing. The walls of the church are abutted by buttresses. The building is covered with a gable roof with a steeple, its interior featuring an exposed roof truss resting on wooden corbels. The mausoleum likewise features a gable roof, with the exception of its middle section, where a large statue of an angel is perched atop a pyramid-shaped roof, its edges following a pointed-arch outline.

Inside, the central section of the mausoleum comes equipped with a stellar vault, while the remaining sections feature cross-rib vaulting.

The walls of the chapel are pierced with pointed-arch windows adorned with stone tracery and divided into many smaller sections. The front façade of the church follows a single-axial layout, as does the rear façade, with a three-axial layout being used for the side façade. The individual axes of symmetry are separated by faux buttresses which serve no structural function. The eastern façade of the mausoleum features a large rose window - a motif also present in the other façades, albeit in their case the rose windows are smaller and form part of the pointed-arch windows. The entrance into the building takes the form of a pointed-arch portal and is situated in the western façade.

The space between the two structures is occupied by a cloister consisting of a series of pointed arches and an entrance on the eastern side, taking the form of a profiled, pointed-arch stone portal flanked by diagonal buttresses surmounted by decorative waterspouts (gargoyles). The original fixtures and fittings have sadly been lost, with the current décor, designed in the Gothic Revival style, having been relocated here from other churches.

The complex may be viewed from the outside all year round.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 26-06-2014.

Bibliography

  • Krawczyk J. A., Kuzio-Podrucki A., Śląskie zamki i pałace Donnersmarcków, Radzionków 2011, pp. 101-102.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Sławomir Brzezicki, Christine Nielsen, Grzegorz Grajewski, Dietmar Popp (eds.), Warsaw 2009, pp. 864-865;
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture and urban design. Castle chapel from the family mausoleum, currently serving as the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa, compiled by ARCHEO-HORTUS sp. z. o. o. Czeladź.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1895-1896 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Park Świerklaniecki , Świerklaniec
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district tarnogórski, commune Świerklaniec
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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