Bernardine monastery complex, currently the Franciscan monastery complex, Wschowa
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Bernardine monastery complex, currently the Franciscan monastery complex



The complex is a valuable and magnificent example of the Baroque monastery architecture from the first half of the 17th century. It exhibits a mature form of a monumental complex closely integrated with a church, which is the main accent of the complex.


The church and the monastery featuring a post-and-beam structure were built in 1462 by Bernardines who came to Wschowa in 1456. During the Reformation the monks were forced to leave the town after a fire which destroyed the monastery buildings in 1558. During the Counter-Reformation Bernardines returned to Wschowa and in 1638-1644 reconstructed the monastery and the church according to a design by Krzysztof Bonadura Senior. In the 18th century the complex was extended by a chapel of the Holy Cross 1731), church tower (1742) designed by Johann Joseph Stier and a yard with cloisters (1745-1747). After the abolition of the Bernardine Order in 1827, the monastery was converted to a school, while the church was taken over by a Roman Catholic parish. After the Second World War Franciscans settled in the complex. Renovation and conservation works were carried out in 1946 and in 1967-1972 and 1986-1998.


The monastery complex, which includes a church, monastery, utility part and monastic garden, is located to the north-west of the centre of the Old Town, outside the city walls. The proper church and monastery complex is situated in the north-eastern corner of the plot, adjacent to the utility part to the west with a large rectangular yard, around which there is a row of utility buildings. A large monastic garden extends to the south of the utility part of the complex. The boundaries of the complex are demarcated with diversified fences. The complex was designed in the Early Baroque style and combines the forms that are reminiscent of the Gothic traditions. St Joseph church is the complex’s landmark, surrounded by the monastery buildings on all sides. The church stands out due to its dimensions and architectural form. It is built of brick, oriented and consists of one nave, with a chancel closed off on three sides and a tower with porches on both sides to the west. The nave is covered with a gable roof, the chancel with a multi-hipped roof with a steeple jutting out from the roof ridge, and the quadrangular tower is topped with a bulbous dome with a lantern. The interior is covered with barrel vaults with lunettes, decorated with wall paintings dating from around 1730, which were made by Walenty Żebrowski, Ernest Engelfeldner and Liberiusz Staniszewski. The facades are pierced by two rows of windows, including oval windows at the top, and large rectangular windows terminating in semi-circular arches at the base. The Late Baroque and Rococo fixtures and fittings of great value include the main altar and side altars made by Anton Schultz from Rawicz, inlaid pews, ambo, pipe organ casing, epitaphs, including the Late Baroque plaque of Mikołaj Tarnowiecki. The monastery building adjoins the church to the south, has three wings, multiple storeys, garth, and is covered with gable roofs. The modernised interior features a single-bay layout, with double-barrel-vaulted corridors from the side of the inner yard. Other rooms are covered with reinforced concrete ceilings. The facades are devoid of decoration, with the exception of the front facade of the east wing, where the main entrance was accentuated by a pilaster portal with broken pediment. The windows are surmounted by wavy-shaped pediments. To the east and north of the church there is a pilgrims’ yard, surrounded by arcaded cloisters covered with double barrel vaults. The corners of the building feature quadrangular chapels covered with domes, with fixtures and fittings in the Rococo style. To the west the yard is closed off by the chapel of the Holy Cross, which is situated perpendicular to the church and adjacent to its northern vestibule. The chapel is built of brick and stone on a rectangular floor plan, with a square chancel to the north, covered with a gable roof over the nave and a hip roof with an octagonal lantern over the chancel. The single-nave interior features a faceted ceiling, and the section of the chancel is covered with domes with supporting arches and a lantern. The facades from the west side are buttressed, and those in the section of the chancel are accentuated with Ionic pilasters. From the side of the street there is a niche with a sculpture of St Christopher Carrying the Christ Child. The fixture and fittings include, in particular, the outstanding alter designed in the Rococo style by Ignatz Grimme and the Gothic crucifix. Under the chapel there is a crypt in which monks and founders are buried. The room is made of brick and stone and covered with a barrel vault. The preserved objects of cultural and historical interest include tin sarcophagi and the remains of the dead displayed in glass coffins.

Limited access to the monument. Viewing of the interior is only possible by prior telephone arrangement or at specific times.

Compiled by Marta Kłaczkowska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Zielona Góra, 24-09-2014 r.


  • Garbacz K., Przewodnik po zabytkach województwa lubuskiego, t. 2, Zielona Góra 2012, s. 312-313.

  • Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010, s. 411-412.

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1462 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Klasztorna 2, Wschowa
  • Location: Voivodeship lubuskie, district wschowski, commune Wschowa - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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