Frombork – Holy Spirit Hospital

History

  The establishment of the hospital of the Holy Spirit in Frombork falls on the years 1426-1433. Its founder was the parish priest, canonist Arnold von Datteln. Then the outline of the object was created in the form of a strongly elongated, rectangular hospital building with a chapel orientated from the east, and part of the hospital house from the west. The walls of the hospital were erected in a timber frame construction, and only the chapel on the eastern side and the so-called gothic house on the west side, were made of brick. The roof was covered with straw or reed. Inside, there were three rooms: two for the poor and one for the sick. In addition to them on the west side there was a bathhouse, kitchen, dining room and a small living room.
   
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the hospital was run by the Order of St. Anthony, brought by bishop Łukasz Watzenrode from Mecklenburg. In this period, the existing walls with half-timbered construction were replaced by brick. Then the straw roof was replaced with a ceramic one.
   
In the 17th century, a thorough reconstruction of the hospital took place. The layout of the windows was changed, enlarging them from slit to rectangular, and the walls were built inside, which created a three-nave system. The side aisles created in this way were additionally divided into dividing walls, creating six rooms in each of the naves – cells for hospital residents. In spite of later renovations and reconstructions, the hospital kept its appearance from that period.

Architecture

   It is a gothic building with later baroque changes, erected on the plan of an elongated rectangle in a three-nave arrangement. On the eastern side there is a chapel connected by a wide semicircular arcade with the nave. Under the western part of the hospital there is a group of cellars with pointed, barrel vaults from about the middle of the 14th century. Along the nave, there are twelve low cells for the sick patients and rooms for the dining room, kitchen and pharmacy, open arcades to the main hall and interconnected.

Current state

   At present, the Department of the History of Medicine of the Museum of St. Nicolaus Copernicus operates in the hospital of the Holy Spirit. The most valuable elements of the interior design are wall paintings from the beginning of the 15th century, preserved in the chapel of St. Anne. You can also see two bath stoves from the beginning of the 15th century. From the south to the hospital adjoins the garden cultivated by the monks – herbarium, with the cultivation of medicinal herbs.

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