Gniew – St Nicholas Church

History

   The construction of the church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the guardian of sailors and merchants, began in the mid-fourteenth century, although the first mention of the parish appeared already in 1297. Construction work began with the erection of the chancel, the construction of the naves and the tower stretched until the middle of the 15th century. In the second half of the fifteenth century, when the Teutonic Order left the town, the tower was raised, and chapels were added to the eastern span of the nave. Around 1557, the church was taken over by Protestants. It was not until 1596 that the temple was returned to Catholics. At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the church was hit by an unknown catastrophe. As a result, the upper part of the tower and the vault of the naves, which were destroyed, were rebuilt and restored. In 1945, artillery shells damaged the tower and walls of the church. The roofs and all windows were destroyed. After the war, necessary repairs and renovations were made.

Architecture

   A gothic building is a hall, three-nave church with a harmonious interior. The side aisles are separated from the central nave by octagonal pillars. The apse with the polygonal closure, which is the oldest part of the church, adheres to the nave from the east. The chancel windows with pointed arches are richly profiled. Characteristic of the Pomeranian gothic, in its raw form, is a tower, built into the nave. After the renovation, it was completed with a stepped staircase from the south and north. Strong buttresses support the walls of naves at regular intervals. In addition to the structural meaning, have decorative qualities, accentuate the verticality of the building and separating its surface.
  
The interior of the church is completely vaulted. From the original vaults, the gothic ones have been preserved in the presbytery – a stellar vault with a decorative rib design, and in the sacristy – a rib vault. The north chapel has a similar vault, while the south is covered with a stellar vault. To the gothic period it certainly belongs also a rib vaults under the tower. Whereas the aisle’s vaults were modeled on the vault of the presbytery. From the medieval equipment you can find a gothic bowl of the former baptismal font from the 15th-16th centuries.

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bibliography:
Grzyb A., Strzeliński K., Najstarsze kościoły Kociewia, Starogard Gdański, 2008.
Website gniew.pl, Kościół św. Mikołaja.
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół św. Mikołaja w Gniewie.