Remnants of St Nicholas Church, the area of Solny Square, Wiślica
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Remnants of St Nicholas Church, the area of Solny Square

Wiślica

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Early medieval settlement with the remains of a Romanesque temple is the oldest urban layout in Wiślica. The value of this place is difficult to determine, apart from the legend that goes with it. The remains of a circular bowl discovered under the church, in conjunction with the mysterious Pannonian Legend about a pagan prince “sitting in Wiśle” and forced to baptism, and combined with a deep conviction that Wiślica was the capital of the state of Vistulans allowed the researchers to regard the exposed structure as a baptismal pool in which the local people were baptized in the 9th century in the Slavic rite. And although very little is left today of those findings, the place still arouses intense emotion and controversy.

Location and description

St Nicholas Church was located in the heart of Wiślica, east of today’s Market Square, approximately 25 m east of today’s collegiate church, on a slight slope leaning towards the south-east.

History

The oldest settlement operated from the 10th/11th until the mid-11th century. The bowl covers its relics, which means it dates back to the 11th century. However, there are serious doubts as to whether this structure was originally in the shape of a circular bowl. The church, contrary to the earlier opinions on its early chronology dating back to the 1st half of the 10th century, was founded at the turn of the 11th century. It is commonly believed to be the temple dedicated to St Nicholas mentioned by the medieval chronicler Jan Długosz. It bordered on a graveyard and surrounded by a settlement, probably of commercial character, whose remnants were unearthed north and south of the church. The building was demolished in the late 13th century by Bishop Muskata and rebuilt, most probably, as a wooden temple. In 1325 the church was mentioned in the accounts of papal tax collectors, in 1326 in the papal tithe, and in the years 1325-1327 in the accounts of the Apostolic Camera. After the temple was pulled down, a new cemetery was set up which operated until the 14th century when a road was built in the former cemetery grounds.

Condition and results of archaeological research

The research was conducted in the years 1955-1968 by Włodzimierz Antoniewicz and Zofia Wartołowska. In 1979 Jerzy Gula Dorota Górna and Joanna Kalaga performed the drilling of the bowl. In 2000 some follow verification testing took place supervised by J. Kalaga. The remains of the settlement are preserved as a cultural layer and several relics. The alleged baptismal bowl is placed over them, to the north of the church and beneath its foundations. It was a semicircular recess of irregular form made of aggregate mixed with the soil. No south part of the bowl was found inside the church. To the north of the bowl, a trapezoid “podium” was discovered made of fine and white aggregate. St Nicholas Church has been reconstructed as a small, single-nave building with a semicircular and slightly elongated apse. A rectangular room adjoins the church from the south where two tombs were found under stone panels and two earth burials. Two of them were female burials. Around the church, a churchyard was discovered composed of 115 inhumation graves, mostly without equipment, including eight double burials. Several graves were covered by panels, one of them revealed a denarius of Duke Bolesław the Brave from ca. 1058-1076. One of the graves was a sarcophagus. Two phases of the functioning of the cemetery were distinguished: contemporary with the church and after its demolition. Also some fragments of seven log structures were discovered which are the remains of the settlement with St Nicholas Church at the centre.

The site is accessible to visitors during the museum opening hours (www.muzeum.wislica.pl).

Compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 25.09.2014.

Bibliography

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General information

  • Type: other
  • Chronology: X/XI w. – poł. XI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Batalionów Chłopskich, Plac Solny , Wiślica
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district buski, commune Wiślica
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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