RACIBÓRZ – ZAPOMNIANA PEREŁKA ŚLĄSKA
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

users tour Marta Kawalec

RACIBÓRZ – ZAPOMNIANA PEREŁKA ŚLĄSKA

15

one day

śląskie

Gmach Sądu Rejonowego
Racibórz

15 minuts

transport time to the next site

2 min

Miejskie mury obronne
Racibórz

15 minuts

transport time to the next site

3 min

baszta
Racibórz

30 minutes

transport time to the next site

1 min

Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Racibórz

30 minutes

The church is one of the three medieval churches surviving within the limits of the historic town walls in Racibórz. Despite the contemporary modifications related to its reconstruction following numerous fires, the structure is a well-preserved example of a former Dominican church in terms of layout, shape, and size.

History

So far, the exact time of construction of the church has not been determined in an unambiguous manner. It is traditionally accepted that the parish was established in 1205; however, it is now suspected that the church - in its current form - was erected at the initiative of the local residents in the early 14th century, replacing an even older structure, most likely dating back to somewhere around the mid-13th century and lost during the devastating fire which swept across the town in the year 1300. The early-14th century church, most likely modelled after the design of the nearby Dominican church of St James and believed to incorporate the same building techniques, is a three-nave hall church with an elongated chancel with a polygonal eastern end section as well as a monumental westwork originally fitted with a pair of towers. The preserved remnants of architectural detailing dating back to the aforementioned period, the bays divided by paired windows and the proportions of the hall church indicate that the parish church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the nearby Dominican church of St James share a common artistic provenance, with some researchers linking them to the masonry workshop which was also responsible for the construction of a group of churches accompanying mendicant monasteries in Silesia and Moravia (including Żary and Oświęcim).

From the first half of the 14th century, the church underwent alteration works in the form of addition of successive chapels and annexes which have distorted the purity of its Gothic silhouette. In 1377, the chapel of Corpus Christ was erected, serving as the final resting place for members of the local clergy. When the collegiate chapter was moved from the castle chapel to the parish church in 1416, a new, two-storey annex was added to the southern façade of the chancel, designed to accommodate both the chapter house and the treasury. In 1426, the church was engulfed by fire and partially destroyed; its northern tower has never been reconstructed in its original form. In the years 1426 - 1446, a chapel was added to the front façade, designed for the faithful of the German origin. From 1479 onwards, this chapel has been referred to as the Polish chapel. During another fire which swept across the area in 1546, the 14th-century, hexapartite vaulted ceilings of the chancel as well as a number of other parts of the church have been completely destroyed; the vaulted ceiling was later rebuilt, albeit as a cross-ribbed design. In 1574, the church was engulfed by the flames yet again, resulting in the destruction of the interior as well as of the 14th-century southern tower. The hall interior of the church was later redesigned and received a new layout, its space divided by rows of octagonal pillars supporting the stellar vault above. A new northern tower, crowned with a Renaissance roof parapet, was erected during the same period. In 1774, yet another fire damaged the church, necessitating another reconstruction effort which also encompassed the redesign of the nave. The western part of the nave now featured vaulted ceilings of the groin type, while the Polish chapel was reconstructed in the Baroque style. In 1891, the existing nave was extended southwards through the addition of a two-nave, eight-bay hall. The church suffered severe damage during World War II in 1945, and was later reconstructed in the years 1948-1949. The reconstruction efforts focused on the original, historical elements of the design, with the additions and layers dating back to the 19th century being removed in the course of reconstruction efforts. In 1960, the existing northern tower received a new top section in the form of a Gothic Revival spire.

Description

The church is situated within the limits of the former city walls, in the south-eastern corner of the market square, forming part of the city block located between the A. Mickiewicza, Nowa, Szewska and J. Długosza streets. The church, oriented towards the east, consists of a rectangular, three-nave main body of the hall type and a narrower, elongated, five-bay chancel with a semi-decagonal termination. The so-called Polish chapel, added during the 15th century, forms an extension of the nave; the western side of the chapel is adjoined by a 16th-century tower, designed on a square floor plan, while the southern side of the chancel is adjoined by a rectangular, 15th-century annex containing the chapter house and the treasury. The compact main body and chancel of the church are covered with separate gable roofs, divided by the gable-end wall of the nave, surmounted by an arcaded steeple. The stout tower with a Gothic Revival spire forms a dominant feature of the building’s silhouette. The individual façades of the church are designed in the Gothic style and are enlivened by the presence of symmetrically arranged, stepped buttresses as well as pointed-arch windows arranged either in pairs (in the nave) or as single units (in the chancel), with some of the window openings still adorned with 14th-century tracery. In addition, the northern façade of the main body still features the original stone portal of the side entrance, topped with a Gothic pointed arch. The monumental and relatively squat tower, designed on a square plan and reinforced with buttresses, features an octagonal upper section adorned with wimpergs and pinnacle-like corner turrets. The interior of the church is an example of early modern design. The chancel and the nave are separated by a chancel arch wall with a pointed-arch aperture. The five-bay chancel features a ribbed groin vault, its ribs flowing seamlessly into the original, clustered wall ribs which form part of the earlier, 14th-century vaulted ceiling. In addition to the pointed-arch windows, these wall ribs remain the sole decorative element comprising the architectural articulation of the walls. The interior space of the hall-type nave, on the other hand, features an 18th-century groin vault supported by six octagonal pillars, with the exception of three eastern bays, which contain the reconstructed stellar vaults resting on profiled corbels. The western bay of the nave houses a masonry organ gallery, separated from the church and the Polish chapel by arcaded apertures. A distinctive feature of the nave is that the windows of individual bays are arranged in pairs. The three-bay Polish chapel is covered with a barrel vault with lunettes, supported by engaged pillars standing against the wall, their surfaces adorned with Ionic pilasters. The interior of the chapter house features a ribbed groin vault consisting of four cells, supported by a central pillar. The preserved original fixtures and fittings include four Baroque side altarpieces from the years 1672-1690, positioned along the eastern wall of the nave and at the ends of the side aisles, as well as the main altarpiece, reconstructed during the post-war period based on the Early Baroque original, crafted by Salomon Steinhoff in years 1656-1660. In addition, the interior is also graced by numerous Baroque sculptures, most of them originating from the canon stalls created by S. Steinhoff and subsequently lost during the war. Other surviving items include a pair of early modern headstones, including a tomb slab from 1706, adorned with the sculpted image of prelate Marcin Korriger, as well as a Baroque epitaph plaque with the bust of Andrzej Scodonius, the provost of Opole, created in the second half of the 16th century.

The church is open to visitors at all times except during the mass.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 19-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Architektura gotycka w Polsce, T. Mroczko, M. Arszyński (eds.), Warsaw 1995, part 2, p. 197
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary [in Racibórz], compiled by M. Szyszkowska, 2005, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VII, woj. opolskie, issue 13: Powiat kępiński, ed. T. Chrzanowski, M. Kornecki, J. Samek, Warsaw 1958.
  • Kutzner M., Racibórz, Wrocław 1965.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006.

transport time to the next site

4 min

Historyczny układ urbanistyczny
Racibórz

two hours

transport time to the next site

5 min

Former Dominican church, currently serving as the parish church of St James
Racibórz

30 minutes

One of the three preserved historical churches of the Dominican Order in the region, which are now the only material remnants of the Order’s activity in Upper Silesia from the 13th to the 19th century. Despite the contemporary modifications related to its reconstruction following a fire, the structure is a well-preserved example of a former Dominican church in terms of layout, shape, and size. In addition, it is one of the three medieval churches surviving within the limits of the historic town walls in Racibórz.

History

Founded by the of the Piast dynasty somewhere around the mid-13th century, the Dominican monastery in Racibórz was part of a dense network of Silesian Dominican monasteries, whose number in this region was twice as high as the number of monasteries of this type built in the 13th and 14th century in other parts of Poland. The monastery complex with the church of St James was designed in accordance with the rules of the Dominican Order, standing within the limits of the town walls, in the vicinity of the erstwhile market square.

The very first mentions of the church date back to the year 1258, which is said to have been either the date of consecration of the church or of the gift of land and funds for the construction of the monastery. The oldest surviving part of the existing church, i.e. the main body, is believed to have been erected somewhere around the mid-13th century, while the structure and exterior detailing of the chancel were most likely constructed in the year 1300 or thereabouts, at a time when the monastery was being reconstructed following the devastating fire which swept across the town.

The architecture of the now-vanished monastery is known mostly from 19th-century archival documents. The monastery was a typical complex consisting of two-storey buildings positioned north of the church, standing around a rectangular garth surrounded by cloisters. Until the moment of their demolition in the early 19th century, only the refectory and chapel of the monastery retained their medieval nature.

Designed according to the stringent, 13th-century conventual principles of the Dominican Order and modelled after the church of the Holy Cross in Wrocław, the original church had a rather austere appearance, its single-nave main body equipped with a flat ceiling; the church also featured an elongated, simple choir gallery and no tower. It was only at a later stage in the building’s existence that a tower was added on its southern side, most likely in the late 14th century or in the 15th century. The preserved remnants of architectural detailing dating back to the aforementioned period indicate that the Dominican church and the nearby parish church of the Blessed Virgin Mary share a common artistic provenance, with some researchers linking them to the masonry workshop which was also responsible for the construction of a group of churches accompanying mendicant monasteries in Silesia and Moravia (including Żary and Oświęcim). In 1574, the church suffered severe damage during another devastating fire which engulfed the town. However, it was only in the years 1637-1655 that a comprehensive reconstruction of the church took place, with the Gothic layout and character of the church becoming diluted in the process. In the course of alteration works, a three-nave layout was introduced in the eastern part of the main body, with the entire interior space being visibly lower due to the addition of a new barrel vault with lunettes. The northern bay of the nave now served as the tomb chapel of the Gaszyński family, its interior décor being the earliest known example of stucco decoration in Upper Silesia.

The interior attained its current layout and appearance in the third quarter of the 18th century, when the church was reconstructed following yet another fire. Barrel vaults with lunettes were added above the chancel and the western part of the nave, supported by engaged pillars adorned with decorative capitals incorporating foliate and auricular, shell-like motifs. The new side altarpieces were also crafted during that period, as was the main altarpiece which, unlike its side counterparts, has not survived to the present day. The façades of the church also underwent significant alterations, including, in particular, the western façade, which was redesigned in the Baroque style. The most notable changes this redesign entailed included the change in window shape as well as the addition of a tall gable with a volute-shaped coping.

In 1810, the monastery was abolished, with the monastery buildings themselves being torn down in 1823. The church has survived and would now serve as a filial church of the local Polish Catholic community.

The first conservation and restoration works commenced in the 19th century. The most significant among all these works has been the purist, Romanesque Revival redesign of the façade, accompanied by the replacement of the facing bricks on all façades. In 1945, the interior of the church has been destroyed; restoration works commenced in 1958, resulting in the addition of new painted decorations as well as stained glass windows.

Description

The church is situated within the limits of the former city walls, on the eastern side of the market square and on the southern side of the Dominican square, in the immediate vicinity of the parish church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The church, oriented towards the east, consists of a rectangular nave and a narrower, elongated, four-bay chancel with a semi-hexagonal termination. The compact body and chancel of the church are covered with a pair of gable roofs of identical height. A steeple with a bulbous cupola and roof lantern rises above the roof ridge. A stout turret with a pyramid hipped roof is positioned at the southern corner of the nave, where it meets a slightly taller chancel. A row of annexes - remnants of the now-defunct monastery - adjoins the northern side of the chancel, their current functions being that of a staircase, sacristy and storage room. An annex with a staircase leading up into the organ gallery adjoins the northern side of the nave, while a short porch, added at a later date, projects from the southern façade. All walls except the front façade are Gothic in character and feature a symmetrical arrangement of windows topped with pointed or round arches, flanked by single-stepped buttresses. The chancel windows feature a distinctive bipartite appearance resulting from the lowering of the vaulted ceiling which led to the original, Gothic window openings being partially bricked up. The upper sections of the windows retain their original stone tracery. The single-axial front façade, designed on the Romanesque Revival style and topped with a triangular gable, is covered with plaster - unlike all the other façades of the church - and adorned with brick architectural detailing, including corner buttresses and a stepped frieze. A small porch crowned with a triangular gable is positioned on the middle axis of the façade; above the porch rises a large window topped with a semi-circular arch and adorned with tracery. In addition, a small rose window can be seen just below the apex of the gable. The interior of the church was designed in the Baroque style. The chancel and the nave are separated by a semi-circular rood arch. The interior of the four-bay chancel features a vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with lunettes, supported by composite pillars surmounted by a segmented entablature. The western part of the nave features a similar ceiling design, with the vaulted ceiling being supported by engaged pillars crowned with a segmented entablature as well as auricular decorations. The eastern part of the nave features a different arrangement, being divided into three single-bay sections - the nave and two side aisles - by two rows of pillars. The middle bay, opening up towards the chancel, features a groin vault, whereas the two side bays, separated from the middle nave by a row of arches, come equipped with vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with lunettes. In the west part of the nave, there is a two-storey organ gallery resting on a pair of pillars. The interior of the Gaszyński family chapel, separated from the nave by a masonry balustrade, features a profusion of lavish, Baroque stucco decorations. The vaulted ceiling of the chapel is adorned with a plafond, a plasterwork coat of arms of the Gaszyński family as well as several cartouches supported by putti, adorned with astragal, acanthus and festoon motifs as well as bundles of fruit and ornamental swags. The window surrounds in the chapel are accentuated with decorative flourishes incorporating the portrayals of angels carrying the Arma Christi (Instruments of the Passion) as well as a Flagellation scene. The surviving original fixtures and fittings include two Late Baroque side altarpieces from the mid-18th century, located in the chancel and featuring sarcophagus-like altar stones as well as lavish decorations incorporating images of various saints, a 17th-century altarpiece in the Gaszyński family chapel - a Baroque effort made of black marble and incorporating an alabaster ensemble of sculptures depicting the Crucifixion scene (1659) - as well as a Baroque altarpiece in the southern chapel, incorporating the motif of the Tree of Jesse and associated with the works of Salomon Steinhof. Another notable feature are the two Rococo side altarpieces inside the nave, funded in 1744. Visitors may also admire other items, including a number of headstones; one of them, dating back to the mid-16th century, is adorned with the Gaszyński family crest. Another stone slab, originating from the 17th century, is embedded in the flooring of the nave.

The church is open to visitors directly before and after church service.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 18-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Architektura gotycka w Polsce, T. Mroczko, M. Arszyński (eds.), Warsaw 1995, part 2, pp. 197-198.
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Kościół podominikański p.w. św. Jakuba [w Raciborzu], prepared by M. Szyszkowska, 2005, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VII, woj. opolskie, issue 13: powiat raciborski, T. Chrzanowski, M. Kornecki (eds.).
  • Kutzner M., Racibórz, Wrocław 1965.
  • Małachowicz E., Architektura zakonu dominikanów na Śląsku, [in:] Z dziejów sztuki śląskiej, Z. Świechowski (ed.), Warsaw 1978, pp. 93-148.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006.

transport time to the next site

4 min

Former Dominican church of the Holy Spirit, currently part of the Museum
Racibórz

one hour

One of the three preserved historical churches of the Dominican Order in the region, which are now the only material remnants of the Order’s activity in Upper Silesia from the 13th to the 19th century. Despite the alterations made to the church interior in the first half of the 20th century in the course of adaptation thereof as a museum exhibition space, the church remains a well-preserved example of a typical Dominican church both in terms of its silhouette and overall size, its distinctive features still readily identifiable. In addition, it is the most recent among the three medieval churches surviving within the limits of the historic town walls in Racibórz.

History

Established in 1306 at the initiative of Przemysław, a local priest, the convent of Dominican nuns in Racibórz formed part of a dense network of Silesian monastic centres of the Dominican Order. During the period in question, i.e. in the 13th century and the early 14th century, a total of 13 of these had been monasteries, compared to a mere two convents. The conventual complex with the church of the Holy Spirit was designed in accordance with the rules of the Dominican Order, standing within the limits of the town walls, in the vicinity of the erstwhile market square. Both the church and the now-defunct convent were erected in the years 1317-1335. Despite the intervening centuries, the church has survived to the present day with very few changes. Designed according to the stringent, 13th-century conventual principles of the Dominican Order, the church featured a rather austere appearance, its single-nave main body equipped with a flat ceiling; the church also featured an elongated, simple choir gallery and no tower. It was only at a later stage in the building’s existence that a tower was added on its southern side and was subsequently extended upwards in the 17th or 18th century. The preserved architectural detailing dating back to the period when the church was built is characteristic of the late, reductionist phase in Gothic architecture, indicating that the building had different artistic origins than the two other Gothic churches surviving in the town of Racibórz. The chapel of St Dominic, positioned on the northern side of the church, originates from more or less the same period as the church itself, having been constructed no later than in 1359; it was later extended in the centuries that followed and functioned as the mausoleum of the Racibórz dukes. It is important to note that, unlike the parish church and the church of the Dominican monks, this building did not suffer significant damage during the fires which swept across the town on numerous occasions. The architecture of the now-vanished convent is known mostly from 19th-century archival documents. The convent was a typical complex consisting of two-storey buildings positioned north of the church, around a rectangular garth surrounded by cloisters. The surviving wall paintings inside the chancel and the nave were executed somewhere around the year 1635. The porch adjoining the southern side of the church, demolished in 1937, had also been a 17th-century addition. The convent itself was abolished in 1810. In 1813, the church was handed over to the Evangelical community, resulting in the demolition of the convent buildings and the chapel of St Dominic, while the nave received new, wooden galleries, its interior now illuminated by added windows. In 1936, the church was adapted to serve as a museum, with both the nave and the chancel being subdivided vertically into separate storeys.

Description

The church is situated within the limits of the former own walls, in the western part of the historic part of town, on the northern side of what is now known as Plac Księżnej Ofki Piastówny (the square of duchess Ofka Piastówna). The church forms part of the street frontage, adjoined to both the east and the west by tenement houses from the late 19th/early 20th century. The church itself, oriented towards the east, is a brick structure consisting of a rectangular nave and a narrower, elongated two-bay chancel with a rectangular end section. The compact main body of the church and its chancel are covered with separate gable roofs. A tower topped with a cupola added at a later date is positioned in the south-western corner of the nave. The church is adjoined by a row of annexes which are all that remain of the now-vanished convent and which have subsequently been adapted to serve as museum exhibition space and a staircase. The individual façades of the church are designed in the Gothic style, enlivened by a symmetrical arrangement of windows topped with semi-circular and pointed arches, flanked by single-stepped buttresses. The tripartite design of some of the windows is the result of the introduction of side galleries in the 19th century, leading to the original, Gothic windows being partially bricked up. The western part of the façade is partially obscured by the tenement house added at the turn of the 20th century. The interior of the church has been substantially remodelled in the course of adaptation thereof as museum exhibition space in the early 20th century, with the entire space now being divided into two separate storeys. The chancel and the nave are separated by a chancel arch wall with a pointed-arch aperture. The two-bay chancel features a ribbed groin vault, its ribs converging on plain, circular keystones. The nave, on the other hand, features a wooden beamed ceiling concealed beneath a dropped ceiling. A tripartite, pointed-arch window with original stone tracery has been preserved in the upper section of the eastern chancel wall. The original fittings of the church have not survived. Fragments of Late Renaissance painted decorations from the 1st half of the 17th century - including the depiction of the Sending of the Holy Spirit on the eastern chancel wall and the Adoration of Blessed Euphemia on the western wall of the nave - have been discovered in the 1960s. The latter wall is also adorned with an embedded tomb slab commemorating the duke and his wife (a relic of a tomb chest from ca. 1500), positioned at the ground-floor level.

The historic monument is accessible to visitors. The building is currently a museum.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 17-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Czechowicz B., Fundacje artystyczne książąt raciborskich u schyłku średniowiecza, [in:] Sztuka Górnego Śląska na przecięciu dróg europejskich i regionalnych, E. Chojecka (ed.), Katowice 1999, pp. 11-32.
  • Architectural monument record sheet. The Dominican monastic church of the Holy Spirit, currently serving as a museum [in Racibórz], compiled by J. Sawiński, 2001, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VII, woj. opolskie, issue 13: powiat raciborski, T. Chrzanowski, M. Kornecki (eds.), pp. 46-47.
  • Kutzner M., Racibórz, Wrocław 1965.
  • Małachowicz E., Architektura zakonu dominikanów na Śląsku, [in:] Z dziejów sztuki śląskiej, Z. Świechowski (ed.), Warsaw 1978, pp. 93-148.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006, pp. 725.

transport time to the next site

2 min

dom, ob. muzeum
Racibórz

15 minuts

transport time to the next site

3 min

budynek bramny
Racibórz

30 minutes

Zespół zamkowy
Racibórz

30 minutes

transport time to the next site

3 min

Kaplica zamkowa św. Tomasza Kantuaryjskiego
Racibórz

30 minutes

transport time to the next site

3 min

park
Racibórz

30 minutes

transport time to the next site

2 min

budynek przystani żeglarskiej
Racibórz

15 minuts

transport time to the next site

8 min

Zespół zakładu karnego
Racibórz

30 minutes

zakład karny
Racibórz

15 minuts

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