Głogów – collegiate of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The construction of the first two small, stone Romanesque churches is associated with the reign of Bolesław II the Generous and Bolesław the Wrymouth. Around the middle of the 13th century, the collegiate church had the form of a late-Romanesque three-aisle basilica, rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1335-1401. These works began with the chancel, the sacristy and the chapel, built in the period 1335-1345. The next construction works lasted between 1413 and 1466, but already in 1488 the building burnt down, and the reconstruction lasted until around 1493, when the choir, the main altar and five other altars were consecrated. Another catastrophe took place in 1549, when one of the gables collapsed, destroying some of the chapels at the same time. At the end of the 16th century, the walls of the sacristy and the northern chapel were reinforced with additional buttresses. In the Baroque period, the vault of the chancel and several side chapels with their windows were transformed. The tower that is visible today was built in the years 1838-1842, after the previous one had collapsed in 1831. In 1945, the church was seriously damaged, and almost all the rich interior furnishings were either destroyed or lost. The roofs and vaults in the nave and in the presbytery collapsed, all but the three inter-nave pillars as well as the gable separating the nave from the chancel were destroyed. The reconstruction began in 1995. Pillars, new roofs and the early modern vaults over the presbytery were rebuilt.

Architecture

   The church was built in Ostrów Island, on the site of the former Piast early medieval stronghold. The first two churches were small stone buildings, consisting of a rectangular nave and semicircular apses on the eastern side. In addition, one of them, the earlier one, on the west side had a slender four-sided tower. In the first half of the 13th century, a magnificent three-aisle basilica with a square chancel was erected in their place, with a polygonal apse on the eastern side.
   Since the end of the fourteenth century, church was a Gothic building, built of bricks in the monk bond, with carefully maide joints from the outside, and plastered inside. Sandstone was used to make architectural details (bases, heads, corbels, window traceries), although the ribs and vaults were also made of bricks. For the construction of the Gothic church, the longitudinal walls of the older chancel (in the western bay and in the middle of the next bay) were used, decorated from the outside with a Romanesque arcaded frieze, with windows and pillars of the chancel arch, which were raised up while retaining Romanesque details. The shape and layout of the octagonal inter-nave pillars also stayed, while the late Romanesque external walls of the aisles were demolished, which, however, were partially used for the foundation of the half-pillars of the walls between the gothic chapels.

   The gothic church took the form of a hall, three-aisle, five-bay building with a four-bay, highly elongated chancel, 15.9 meters high, 23.6 meters long and polygonally closed in the east. The nave was 19.1 meters wide (central nave 7.5 meters wide), 29.1 meters long and the walls were similar to the height of the chancel. The west façade was crowned with a massive, four-sided tower, while a chapel (opened to the north aisle) was added to the northern wall of the chancel, and a sacristy with a room on the first floor was added to the southern wall. Both these annexes had the same height as the chancel, so they could give the impression of a transept, although their dimensions did not allow for the installation of a suitable roof. In their corners, near the eastern corners, spiral staircases were embedded, and in 1431 the sacristy was extended from the east by a third bay. The whole church was reinforced with buttresses, while at the end of the 16th century the weak walls of the sacristy and the southern chapel at the chancel were reinforced with new, more powerful, six buttresses. In all bays of the nave, one large pointed window was pierced along the axis, similarly to the eastern part of the presbytery, well lit by windows in each wall of the closure. The votive chapels were inserted between the buttresses of the nave in the longitudinal walls, giving the impression of side aisles from the outside.
   Three portals led to the center of the nave: west and on the axis of the north and south walls. Inside, in the chancel, there were three bays of cross-rib vaults based on geometric corbels and a six-section vault in the eastern closure. The cross-rib vaults also crowned the aisles, the sacristy and all chapels. In the sacristy the vault corbels had a figural form. The central nave was distinguished by a stellar vault, supported by eight octagonal pillars and decorated with decorative bosses.
   The arrangement of the buttresses of the nave did not coincide exactly with the spacing of the inter-nave pillars, which would indicate a change in the construction concept. Initially, a different spacing of the gothic pillars was probably planned, and later, however, older late-Romanesque pillars were used. The inaccurate layout was especially visible in the northern aisle. The arcades between the naves received pointed forms with a stepped cross-section.

Current state

   The collegiate church in Głogów is one of the oldest churches in Silesia, although it owes its present appearance to a Gothic rebuilding. Currently, it performs sacral functions, although its renovation is still ongoing after the war, including the restoration of frescoes in the side chapels and the vault. In a specially adapted crypt, you can see the relics of a Romanesque church from the 12th century, while the remains of the late-Romanesque collegiate church are visible in the church walls, e.g. a half-column of the chancel arch, windows and details in the western part of the chancel. Unfortunately, due to war damages and transformations from the Baroque period and the 19th century, not many gothic architectural details have survived (corbels and lower parts of the ribs in the nave, single bosses, few traceries in the chapel at the presbytery and in the central nave, fully preserved one tracery in the northern aisle ).

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bibliography:
Kozaczewska-Golasz H., Halowe kościoły z XIV wieku na Śląsku, Wrocław 2013.
Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.

Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.