Monastery complex of Bernardines, Tykocin
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Monastery complex of Bernardines

Tykocin

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A perfectly preserved and stylistically uniform Late Baroque monastery complex originally founded by Jan Klemens Branicki, having an immense historical value today. The layout of the monastery, designed on a horseshoe-shaped plan, merits its inclusion among the monasteries modelled after Baroque palace ensembles.

History

The Bernardine monks were invited to settle in Tykocin by Marcin Gasztołd, the province governor (voivode) of Troki and Vilnius, in 1479. The existing Bernardine monastery and church were erected for the funds provided by Jan Klemens Branicki in 1771. However, his untimely death and the difficulties involved in the construction works themselves have forced the monks to wait until 1791 before they could move to their newly erected adobe. The construction of the church began during the same period, in accordance with the will expressed by J. K. Branicki; however, despite the foundations being completed and the necessary materials - mostly brick - being prepared, the construction of the church was first postponed and then abandoned altogether. Neither Izabella Branicka nor the Bernardine monks themselves, who have partially financed the construction of the monastery, had the funds to ensure the completion of the church. In the end, the site of the contemplated church became the final resting place of the ashes of its founders, relocated here from the old monastery and marked with a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1797, the monastery courtyard was surrounded with a new fence. A chapel was established in the eastern wing of the monastery and was later expanded in 1838 at the expense of a number of monastic cells in the main monastery building. The church, consecrated in 1839, received its interior painted decorations and altarpieces in the years 1847-1848; in 1854, a new front façade was constructed, preceded by a few months (1853) by the gate-belfry. In 1881, the monastery buildings were renovated at the initiative of the very last surviving monk still residing in the Tykocin monastery - reverend Czachorowski. In 1885, the monastic church was handed over to the local Roman Catholic parish. During the 1970s, the monastery served as a home for retired priests; today, it performs the function of a social welfare home of St Francis of Assisi, maintained by the Caritas organisation. The accompanying stable and gardener’s house were both erected in the 18th century and extended during the 19th century. A series of modernisation works was performed in the 1970s.

Description

The former Bernardine monastery is located in the southern part of town, on the southern side of Klasztorna street, on the axis of the Bernardyńska street which runs towards the monastery from the market square. The complex was designed in the Late Baroque style. It is surrounded by a wall. The monastery is divided into two distinct sections - the representational northern section accessible through the gate-belfry, with the monastery building, the church of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the courtyard graced by the sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the utility south-eastern section consisting of the stable and the gardener’s house. The monastery was designed in the Late Baroque style. The entire complex consists of the former monastery building, the gate-belfry as well as the former stable and gardener’s house in the utility section.

The monastery with a church in its eastern wing was designed on a horseshoe-shaped plan, with an avant-corps projecting from the western section thereof. The church itself was erected on an elongated rectangular floor plan, positioned at a right angle towards the main body of the monastery. Its cuboid body is topped with a tall gable roof. The façades are partitioned with lesenes, pierced with rectangular windows and topped with a pronounced crowning cornice. The front façade follows a two-storey layout, with a rectangular entrance; it is topped with a triangular pediment framed with a pronounced, profiled cornice. A parapet wall rises above the pediment, its outline having the shape of a round bell arch flanked by volutes. The entire front façade is crowned with a quadrangular steeple topped with a pyramid arch surmounted by a radiant cross. The interior follows a single-nave layout, with the northern organ gallery supported by pillars. Both the main body and the western wing of the monastery are two-storey structures topped with tall gable roofs, their surfaces pierced by a series of dormers. The façades are partitioned with lesenes, pierced with rectangular windows and topped with a pronounced crowning cornice. The entrance, topped with a segmental arch, is positioned on the middle axis of the front façade; above the entrance there is a French window, its design reflecting that of the entrance below. The balcony balustrade preceding the window is a modern addition. The interiors follow a two-bay layout, with the hallway on the courtyard side. Both barrel and double-barrel vaults survive inside the monastery. The gate-belfry features a gateway topped with a round arch.

The building is open to visitors all year round.

compiled by Joanna Kotyńska-Stetkiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 05-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Tykocin. Klasztor pobernardyński, cz. 1. Dokumentacja historyczno-architektoniczna, compiled by Z. Piłaszewicz, Białystok 1974, typescript of the Polish Monument Conservation Workshops (PPKZ), collection of the Regional Office of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok.
  • W. Monkiewicz, Tykocin, Białystok 1983, pp. 37-38.
  • W. Jemielity, Zabytki sakralne Tykocina, Łomża 1989, pp. 12-13.
  • http://www.ideatur.pl/o/atrakcje/opis/zespol-klasztorny-bernardynow-w-tykocinie/3143

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1771-1791
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Klasztorna 1, Tykocin
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district białostocki, commune Tykocin - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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