Barciany – church of the Immaculate Heart

History

   The Gothic, brick parish church in Barciany (Barten) was built at the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century, although the first sacral building must have functioned earlier in the village, because for the first time the local church was recorded in documents in 1389. In a slightly later period of the fifteenth century, a northern porch and gables over both annexes were added. At the end of the 16th century, in the years 1591-1597, the church was enlarged by a tower. In 1714, the eastern gable was renewed, in 1729 construction works were carried out at the tower, in 1783 the southern porch was added, and in 1804 the construction of the tower was completed.

Architecture

   The church was built of bricks laid in a Flemish bond, on a high, stone plinth, 2.5-3 meters high. It was erected as a spacious aisleless structure on a rectangular plan, 33.4 meters long and 15 meters wide, without the distinguished chancel, with a sacristy and a porch on the north side. At the end of the 16th century, a massive, four-sided tower was added to the church on the axis of the west facade.
   All external facades of the nave were reinforced with stepped buttresses (at the corners at an angle), between which high, but quite narrow, pointed windows were symmetrically pierced (the eastern window on the axis was flanked by an additional pair of buttresses). The nave was covered with a gable roof, resting on the shorter sides on triangular gables. The seven-axis, stepped eastern gable, rhythmicized with symmetrically placed, triangular pilaster strips, probably originally topped with pinnacles, received a particularly decorative form. The five-axis gables with blendes and pinnacles, also decorated the sacristy and the northern porch. The horizontal division of the façades of the nave was created by a plastered frieze under the eaves of the roof.
   The interior of the church was covered with a timber ceiling. The walls were divided with numerous windows, only at the western end of the north wall, without a window, there were high, pointed recesses. Entrance portals were also embedded in the recesses, while the western one could be blocked with a bar resting on stones protruding from the wall above the archivolt. Originally, it was planned to create a floor above the sacristy with an arcade opended to the nave, but this intention was not finally implemented.

Current state

   The church in Barciany is a well-preserved late-Gothic, rural sacral building with an early-modern tower of a very austere appearance. A characteristic feature of the building is the exceptionally rhythmic buttresses of the external facades and two northern annexes with Gothic gables. Late-modern transformations resulted in the addition of the southern vestibule, modification of the eastern gable (deprived of steps and pinnacles), and the insertion of new window traceries. The interior with a new ceiling and galleries has a modern decor.

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bibliography:
Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Ostpreußen, Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler in Natangen, red. A.Boetticher, Königsberg 1892.
Herrmann C., Mittelalterliche Architektur im Preussenland, Petersberg 2007.
Rzempołuch A., Przewodnik po zabytkach sztuki dawnych Prus Wschodnich, Olsztyn 1992.