Biecz – collegiate church of Corpus Christi

History

   The first wooden church in Biecz is mentioned in 1326. The construction of the present began in the second half of the fifteenth century and was completed around 1519. The date 1488 was engraved on the beam of the chancel arch, and in that year the presbytery probably already had to exist. Yet in 1521-1560 chapels were added along both sides of aisles.

Architecture

   The church has a late gothic style and presents high architectural value. It is one of the finest monuments of religious architecture in Poland with numerous valuable relics in the interior. It has survived to the present without major changes and rebuildings. It is built of brick with the use of sandstone for structural and decorative parts, covered with sheet metal, three-nave, with the chancel three side ended. The corpus is huge, in a hall layout, with the side aisles being half the size of the central nave. Between the buttresses of the aisles, the chapels were put in, four on each side and two porches between them, originally two-storey and open outside with arcades. Because the corpus has a hall arrangement, half the lower chapels give the impression of side aisles, attached to the unnaturally wide middle part.
   Inside there are gothic vaults.
In the chancel (which was originally until the end of the 15th century covered with a timber ceiling) and central nave is net vault, rib vault in aisles, porch and part of the annex, and in the chapels there is stellar vault.
  
A free-standing, gothic bell tower from the 15th and 16th centuries is overbuilt on a defensive tower, called Butchers. Built of brick, it has arrowslits preserved in the highest storey, and corbels at the height of the floor, which were supports of the old porch, which ran around tower. The chapel of St. Barbara from the fifteenth century was adjacent to the tower, and in the extension of the chapel is located an old clergy house, built in the late gothic period, but repeatedly rebuilt. Its western wall is a fragment of the former city defense wall.

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bibliografia:
Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.