Garrison church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Toruń
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Garrison church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Toruń

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Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria - made of red brick, in a neo-Gothic style, with the use of templates with Gothic forms of the 13th century - was erected with reference to the tradition of the Teutonic Knights times. Characteristic element of the building is a tower of 86 m in height, the tallest in Toruń. The structure, despite its short history, has permanently embedded into the city panorama, since the area on which it is located was closely related to the history of Toruń from the beginning of its existence.

History

The church was built in the years 1894-1897 according to the design of the architect from Berlin - Schönhals, as an Evangelical one, in 1921 it was consecrated again as a Roman Catholic garrison church. The place where the temple is located, in Middle Ages was behind the city walls. There was a Saint Catherine gate at the end of the street with the same name, leading from the New Town of Toruń to the suburbian area. The first church (actually a chapel) of Saint Catherine was erected ca. 1360. This was an oriented building with a rectangular body, with a square tower added from the West,  built as a post-and-beam structure. In 1814 during fortification works its demolition was commenced, which was completed by Prussian authorities. Since from 1884 within the area between New Town, Toruń-Miasto railway station and the ponds located at today Przy Kaszowniku street, a new district - Wilhelmstadt, was starting to be formed, intended for the officers with families, the decision was taken to also build a new temple here for 1.6 thousand places, planned to be an architectural dominant of the new district. The area on which the church of Saint Catherine was originally located was chosen as a construction site. In the years 1970-1984 a thorough renovation of the church was performed, changing the roof coverings over the nave and transept, and the roof of the bell tower.

Description

The church is located to the North-East of the old town complex of Toruń, in the middle of the Saint Catherine square. Neo-Gothic building, erected on a projection of Latin cross as a one-nave church, with presbytery closed from five sides, separated from the main body by means of a transept. From the West, a square, five-storey tower was built in the nave part, below which there is a porch. A rectangular sacristy is adjacent to the presbytery from the northern side and parish office - from the southern side. In a compact and uniform hall body, covered with a tall gable roof a massive five-storey tower is dominant. Over the body and transept there are separate gable roofs with a steeple and their intersection. The tower is covered by a pyramid roof, a rectory and sacristy - with hip roofs. The roofs of the body and the tower are copper-sheeted. The church is made of brick, on a plinth. Architectural details is made of sandstone and granite. The main body has a star-vaulting, the porch under the tower - a cross-rib vaulting. North-western (front) facade with a tower on the axis and centrally placed three-part portal, crowned with three vimpergs ending with finials. Entrance opening consists of two sections and it is encompassed at sides by double blind windows, with a column in the middle. Above the portal zone there is a simple rosette. Upper storeys of the tower, emphasised by cordon cornices, pierced by two double-cased windows with tracery decoration and triforia. The clock in the surround of triangular wimperg was placed at the highest point. The tower is crowned with octagonal dome with four small towers in the corners, separated by triangular gables. Side facades of the church - four-axis with distinct three-zone division - divided in the middle by three-fault buttress. The lower zone with a row of four little windows crowned with a sharp arch, over which there is a blind arcade gallery. In the upper zone double-cased sharp-arched windows filled with tracery were separated. The walls were crowned with serrated frieze. Southern facade of the transept is divided into two storeys, crowned with step-like gable filled with blind windows with tracery decoration, divided by pilaster strips changing into the pinnacles over the roof. In the middle of the lower storey there is a portal flanked by deep, vaulted niches and octagonal towers. There are three ogee-arched windows over the portal. Northern facade of the transept was made similar to the southern one, but in the portal in 1927 a field altar with Christ carrying the cross was embedded. Polygonal closed presbytery was fitted with ogee-arch window filled with tracery in each wall. In the interior, in the main nave and the arms of the transept the galleries were placed. Organ gallery and galleries over the transept are supported by the columns and connected by means of narrow gallery running along the side walls of the body. Presbytery was surrounded by a shelf of twelve ogee-arched niches. Interior design, changed several times, owing to numerous commemorative plaques and wall paintings is of religious and patriotic nature. Carved decoration was made by Wojciech Durek together with his artist friend - Ignacy Zelek (main altar, side altars, field altar). New painting decoration of 1929 was performed by Kamierz Mitera from Cracow (frescos on the top walls of the transept)

Limited access to the historic building. Structure can be visited  during masses.

Compiled by Marzenna Stocka, National Heritage Board of Poland Regional Branch in Toruń, 24.06.2014.  

Bibliography  

  • Die neue evangelische Granisonkirche in Thorn, „Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung” 1899, no. 1, pp. 1-3.
  • Stocka M., Klim A., Kościół garnizonowy pw. św. Katarzyny Aleksandryjskiej w Toruniu, Toruń 1997.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1894-1897 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. św. Katarzyny , Toruń
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Toruń, commune Toruń
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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