Głogów – St Nicholas’ Church

History

   The church of St. Nicholas, the most important temple of the left-bank Głogów, was built as a late Romanesque basilica in the 30’s and 40’s of the 13th century. A chancel was built than as well as a nave with apses. In 1218, the church was first indirectly mentioned in documents, when its parish priest named Peter was recorded. After the great fire of the town in 1291, the church was rebuilt in the Gothic style. This work must have been completed or close to completion in 1309, when Bishop Henry approved the foundation of the altar. Subsequent fires of the church took place in 1420 and 1433, the destructions of the building were also mentioned in 1473 and 1489. Reconstruction after the fire of 1642 and 1758 gave the interior of the church an early modern character. At that time, the nave and choir windows were made Baroque one. The church was destroyed in 1945 and since then has been a ruin, periodically subjected to renovation works.

Architecture

   The Romanesque church was in the form of a basilica with central nave and two aisles, without a transept, with aisles closed in the east with apses, the largest of which must have been the apse at the central nave. Interestingly, the southern apse probably had a polygonal shape, made of three sections of an octagon, and the northern apse – semicircular. Under the chancel arcade there were foundations of the wall with recesses on both sides, ended with massive half-pillars, perhaps constituting the basis of the rood screen.
  
The Gothic church from the beginning of the 14th century was situated on the site of an older building, i.e. in the southern part of the town, close to the defensive walls. It was still a basilica with central nave and two aisles, which in the east had an elongated, three-nay and polygonal ended chancel. The apses of the aisles of the earlier Romanesque building were replaced with rectangular chapels near the chancel, other chapels were also placed between the buttresses of the aisles. From the west, a massive and high tower with side annexes was built, constituting an extension of the side aisles. On the northern side of the aisle, the entrance was preceded by a porch.
   The interior of the whole church was covered with a cross-rib vaults, over the eastern end of the chancel of a six-section shape. The aisles were divided into eight-sided pillars on pedestals, with pilaster strips from the side of the aisles. Located on their impost cornices, the inter-nave arcades were equipped with stepped and chamfered archivolts. The ribs were springing from the corbels. The lighting was provided by large, pointed, splayed windows, symmetrically pierced between the buttresses, embedded in deep niches in the central nave.

Current state

   Destroyed during the Second World War, the church is still a ruin, secured only in the most endangered parts of the walls. The best preserved is the west tower (without the highest storey), the eastern, roofed part of the chancel and the walls of the southern part of the nave. Attempts are being made to partially rebuild the monument and transform it into an amphitheater, which raises concerns about combining the historic walls with modernist elements.

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. M.Arszyński, T.Mroczko, Warszawa 1995.
Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.

Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Świechowski Z., Architektura romańska w Polsce, Warszawa 2000.