Rural complex of the Wiele village, Wiele
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Rural complex of the Wiele village



An interesting example of a Kashubian village consisting of two separate complexes - a village harking back to the Middle Ages and a calvary complex from the first half of the 20th century, together forming a rural complex which remains consistent in functional, compositional and spatial terms.


Wiele is a medieval ducal village, established under Polish law on the shore of the Wielewskie lake. A church is believed to have existed here as early as the 13th century. In 1382, Heinrich von Bullendorf, the commander of the Tuchola Commandry (Komturei) issued a new act of incorporation under the law of Kulm. The surface area of the village at that time was 55.5 łans (the łan being a unit of field measurement used in Poland at the time), i.e. approximately 950 hectares), with 5 łans allocated to the parish priest and 6 łans - to the village administrator (the sołtys). According to the rent register of the Teutonic Order dated 1438, the village community was made up of the parish priest, the sołtys, wealthy farmers known under the local name of gbur, a number of beekeepers and two innkeepers; all of them were under an obligation to pay the rent specified in the incorporation documents as well as to perform works for the benefit of the manor in Kosobudy, owned by the Teutonic Order.

After 1466, the village was incorporated into the Pomeranian voivodeship in Royal Prussia (the Tuchola starostwo - a piece of crown land under the administration of an official known as the starosta). The inspection of royal land performed in 1565 has shown that the village comprised 45 voloks (a late medieval measurement unit) of land, with more than 15 voloks being regarded as “empty” (overgrown by trees). The sołtys held 6 voloks of land, while 4 voloks remained the property of the parish priest. The total amount of rent paid by the village to the manor of the starosta was 30 florins and 12 groszes. The land inspection conducted by bishop Hieronim Rozrażewski in 1583 demonstrated that a wooden church of St Nicholas stood in the village, surrounded by a fenced cemetery; a chapel of St Anne with a hospital and almshouse operated alongside the church. The summary of the inspection performed in 1602 shows that the income of the starosta of Tuchola from the village of Wiele increased to 149 florins and 11 groszes. In 1728, a new church was built, featuring a wooden log structure; the rectory was build slightly earlier, in 1718. The number of residents of the village of Wiele at that time was 288 (218 Catholics and 70 Evangelicals).

In 1772, the village came under Prussian rule following the Partition of Poland; the wójt (mayor of the rural commune) in Krasin was the official responsible for the administration of the surrounding area at that time. In the early 19th century, the ownership structure in the village has started to change. The final stage of the enfranchisement of the local farmers (the allocation of separate homesteads) was conducted in years 1835-1836. In the second half of the 19th century, the village experienced a period of rapid economic growth and spatial expansion. A group of local craftsmen and merchants has appeared, leading to the establishment of specialist stores as well as the mill, the bakery and the lumber mill. At the same time, the architecture of the village has also changed towards the end of the 19th century, with many wooden cottages with thatched roofs being replaced by brick buildings, some of which were two-storey structures.

In years 1904-1906, a brick church was erected according to the design drawn up by Roger Sławiski, an architect from Poznań. The form of the existing church is reminiscent of the earlier church that was built here in 1728.

In years 1915-1927, an architectural and landscape complex of the calvary (a sanctuary intended as an imitation of the Calvary in Jerusalem) was erected in the south-eastern part of the village, maintaining close spatial links to both the church and the village itself. The complex of chapels and Stations of the Cross was built at the initiative of reverend Józef Szydzik; the author of the design was Theodor Mayr, an architect from Munich. In 1931, the Wiele village had 1267 residents, with nearly two-thirds of them earning their living through agriculture, while one-fourth of all residents were employed in industry and trade. There were five carpenter's workshop in the village, one steam-powered timber mill and a wainwright's workshop. In addition, the village also kept welcoming a growing number of tourists who came here for the summer. In 1946, the final part of the calvary - the boat-shaped pulpit which was intended to be the last in the line of chapels forming the complex - was finally completed. During the second half of the 20th century the village kept expanding; a large timber processing plant was built and the tourist business also kept on growing.


The rural complex of the Wiele village is situated around the eastern part of the Wielewskie lake. The buildings comprising the oldest part of the village are located on an elevated shore on the north side of the lake. The eastern part of the village features buildings which are positioned along the roads which bifurcate to the north-east and to the south (running in parallel to the eastern shore of the lake). The calvary complex lies on the southern side of the curving part of the lake, on a meadow which spreads out alongside the lake as well as the forested hill beyond. Both complexes - the village and the calvary hill - are interconnected by a path which leads from the church and along the shore of the lake. The path forms the first section of the calvary route, terminating with the Chapel by the Cedron, taking the form of a bridge with a gate; the path towards the calvary hill leads through the chapel, positioned by a narrow stream called Cedron which connects the Wielewskie lake and the Ciepłe lake.

The village itself was first established in the Middle Ages, initially under Polish law and then under Kulm law (location privilege granted in 1382).

The calvary - an arrangement of buildings in a picturesque landscape - was built in years 1915-1927, with further additions made in 1934 and 1946. The chapels were all designed in a uniform, early modernist (Art Nouveau) style with numerous references to the Baroque period.

Accessible historic complex.

Complied by: Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 24.06.2014.


  • Borzyszkowski J., Wielewskie Góry, Gdańsk 1986.
  • Filipski E., Sanktuarium kalwaryjskie w Wielu, Pelplin 2000.
  • Medowski T., Studium konserwatorsko-ruralistyczne wsi Wiele, Gdańsk 1985.
  • Ossowski Z., Kalwaria wielewska, „Pomerania” 1983, nr 5, s. 26-35.

General information

  • Type: spatial layout
  • Chronology: XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wiele
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district kościerski, commune Karsin
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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