Relics, Wrocław
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Despite the fact that the overground part of the abbey has not survived to the present day, numerous valuable - mostly Romanesque - relics thereof have been preserved, distributed between various churches and museums in Wrocław.

Location and description

The remnants of the abbey of St Vincent are located in the Ołbin district (known as Elbing or Der Vicenz Elbing in German) - a settlement originally situated north of Ostrów Tumski, in the area of the current Wyszyńskiego, Nowowiejska and Prusa streets, in the vicinity of the church of St Michael the Archangel.

No overground structures which had formed part of the abbey have been preserved, although the probability that further remnants thereof remains high, as indicated by the previous ar-chaeological studies conducted in the area.

The most important surviving remnants of the abbey include:

  • a sandstone portal from the late 12th century, relocated in 1546 to the church of St Mary Magdalene (embedded in the southern wall thereof);
  • the so-called Jaxa’s tympanum, discovered in 1962 in the course of excavations in the vicin-ity of the gate of the Municipal Armoury, currently located in the Museum of Architecture.
Other items include numerous pieces of architectural detailing (capitals, archivolts, sculptures and reliefs), salvaged and used in various buildings in Wrocław; at the present stage, they are kept at the National Museum and the Museum of Architecture.


During the period preceding the construction of the abbey, two different settlement had exist-ed in the Ołbin area, one dating back to the 7th-8th century and another which existed in the 11th-12th century. The latter settlement was most likely abolished when the site was allocated for the construction of an abbey. The abbey of St Vincent was founded by the count palatine Piotr Włostowic from the Łabędź noble family somewhere around the year 1120 for the Ben-edictine monks who were brought in from Tyniec. Yet soon afterwards, in 1193 or therea-bouts, the Benedictine monks were replaced by the Premonstratensians. The church of St Vin-cent (originally known as the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) formed the centre of the abbey. West of the church lay the church of St Michael, while yet another church, dedicated to All Saints, was situated to the east. Towards the end of its existence, the abbey, taken over by the Premonstratensians in the second half of the 12th century, consisted of three churches, 48 other buildings, 7 yards and a cemetery. The entire site was surrounded by a wall. Both Piotr Włostowic and his wife, whose death preceded his own by three years, were buried on the site of the abbey. In 1529, the Wrocław municipal council, acting under immense pressure from Heinrich Rybisch, decided that the abbey would be demolished. The official reason for the demolition was the looming Turkish threat; it has been stated that the invaders may seek shelter in the abandoned abbey buildings located beyond the limits of the fortifications which protected the city itself. Over the fifty years that followed, the site of the former abbey initial-ly served as the location of a wooden church of St Michael and then, towards the end of the 19th century, of the masonry church of St Michael the Archangel, which is inscription into the register of monuments. Following the capture of Wrocław in 1807 by Napoleon’s forces and the decision of the French authorities on the demolition of the fortifications surrounding the city and the levelling of the moat by filling it with earth, Ołbin along with a few other subur-ban areas situated adjacent to the chartered Old Town district were incorporated into the city of Wrocław in 1808.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In the 1860s, in the course of the construction of the Gothic Revival church of St Michael the Archangel, a series of amateur surveys was conducted on the site; later on, in the years 1906-1907, further excavations followed under the direction of B. Lustig. In 1910, another series of excavations under the supervision of a man called Stein took place, while A. Zinkel and P. Wagner led further studies of the site between 1933 and 1936. Subsequent excavations fol-lowed in 1943 and 1956, the latter being conducted by J. Hawrot. In years 1972-1975, the site became the focus of interes of Cz. Lasota, A. Pawłowski and J. Rozpędowski (Wrocław Uni-versity of Technology), while in years 1976-1977, Cz. Lasota and A. Pawłowski from the same University conducted another series of excavations. This was followed by further sur-veys of the same kind in 1983 and 1985 (Cz. Lasota, J. Piekalski (Wrocław University of Technology), followed by J. Piekalski and K. Dymek in years 1986-1989.

During the archaeological studies conducted intermittently in the years 1906-1936, fragments of perimeter walls and utility buildings were unearthed, the latter being made of brick with field stone foundations. During the survey conducted in years 1975-1976, on the other hand, archaeologists have discovered negative traces (imprints) of foundations of the southern nave of the church, terminating with an apse positioned towards the east and devoid of a transept. The eastern wing of the monastery was unearthed almost in its entirety; designed on a rectan-gular floor plan, the eastern side of the building terminated with a semi-circular apse with pro-trusions projecting beyond its outline. The overground portion of the building was most likely polygonal in shape. In the course of archaeological survey, remains of two settlements which existed here before the abbey was established (remnants of buildings, moveable artefacts) have also been found.

The individual phases in the existence of the site are as follows: 7th-8th century (first settle-ment), 11th-12th century (second settlement), 12th-16th century (the abbey of St Vincent), second half of the 16th century - wooden church of St Michael, late 19th century - church of St Michael the Archangel, postwar period - Salesian school and monastery buildings.

The historical monument is no longer accessible, its only relics surviving underground. Munic-ipal parks: the Stanisław Tołpa Park, the Park of St Edith Stein.

compiled by Donata Trenkler, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 20-09-2014.


  • Archaeological Picture of Poland, area 79-28, sheet ?/171;
  • Piekalski J., Badania architektoniczno-archeologiczne romańskiego opactwa na Ołbinie, Re-search Papers of the Institute for the History of Architecture, Art and Technology of the Wrocław University of Technology, Wrocław 1988;
  • The bibliography is presented in a chronological order, reflecting the progression of archaeo-logical studies.
  • Zinkler A., Ausgrabungen am ehemaligen St. Vinzenzstift, “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Stadt Breslau”, 2: 1936, pp. 103-109;
  • Lasota C., Pawłowski A., Sprawozdanie z badań architektoniczno-archeologicznych we Wrocławiu na Ołbinie w l. 1975-1976, „Śląskie Sprawozdania Archeologiczne”, Vol. 19: 1977, pp. 79-91;
  • Lasota C., Pawłowski A., Opactwo św. Wincentego na Ołbinie we Wrocławiu w świetle dotychczasowych badań archeologicznych, Research Papers of the Institute for the History of Architecture, Art and Technology of the Wrocław University of Technology, no. 13, pp. 37-59;
  • Lasota C., Piekalski J., Produkcja wapna na placu budowy romańskiego opactwa benedyk-tynów na Ołbinie we Wrocławiu, „Kwartalnik Historii Kultury Materialnej”, 1988, vol. 36, issue 1, pp. 27-41;
  • Lasota C., Piekalski J., Badania wykopaliskowe na Ołbinie we Wrocławiu w latach 1983 i 1985, „Śląskie Sprawozdania Archeologiczne”, 1989, vol. 28, pp. 58-63;
  • Piekalski J., Osada z VII-VIII wieku na Ołbinie we Wrocławiu, „Sprawozdania Archeolog-iczne”, 1990, vol. 41, pp. 275-282;
  • Piekalski J., Wrocław średniowieczny. Studium kompleksu osadniczego na Ołbinie w VII-VIII wieku, Wrocław 1991;
  • Świechowski Z., Architektura romańska w Polsce, Warsaw 2000;
  • Encyklopedia Wrocławia, J. Harasimowicz (ed.), Wrocław 2001, pp. 588-589;
  • Świechowski Z., Katalog architektury romańskiej w Polsce, Warsaw 2009, pp. 650-663.

General information

  • Type: Temple
  • Chronology: XII-XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wrocław
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district Wrocław, commune Wrocław
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area