Gościszów – church of Our Lady

History

   The parish church of St. Mary and St. John the Baptist, now the Our Lady of Częstochowa, is one of the oldest temples in Silesia. It was built between 1200 and 1250, and was first mentioned in written sources in 1303.
    The romanesque church underwent significant modifications in the early modern period. First, a tower was added in the 16th century, and then in the 17th century, in connection with the construction of the crypt, the chancel was extended, which was originally half the length. During the reconstruction, however, a romanesque ending was preserved, which was demolished and then assembled after the walls were extended. However, the upper parts of the widened window openings were changed, the angle of inclination of the roof slopes and new vaults were established. During the 20th century renovation, the original columns of the chancel received new stems and bases.

Architecture

   The church consists of a rectangular, elongated nave (16.8 x 10 meters inside), and a rectangular (6.2×6.2 meters inside), narrower chancel with a three-sided eastern end of a depth of 1.8 meters. It was erected from hewn sandstone. In several places carved stone signs in the form of crosses, arrows and haouse marks were placed on them, and at the bottom of the building there are also vertical carvings and deep scratches probably related to the cult of striking fire. Elevations of the apse were distinguished by rich ornaments, in the corners by placing slender columns bearing a decorated cornice. Below is a frieze with plant and zoomorphic motifs, placed in individual arcades. It depict, among others, deer, hare and fantastic beasts. The window frames in the chancel originally had a decorative, profiled edge on both sides, while the windows of the nave were small, semicircular. The ogival portal in the northern facade comes from the gothic period. The interior of the nave was covered with a timber ceiling, while in the chancel a cross-rib vault was established.

Current state

   The medieval church is now significantly transformed due to the tower added from the west, and especially because of the extension of the chancel. Fortunately, the original apse was put back together with the preservation of the old stonework. The window openings that were transformed in the late gothic period, and especially the early modern times, were less lucky, except for the west in the chancel and the east in the nave in the northern walls. Inside, the original vault of the presbytery has preserved, although corner pillars received new stems and bases during the 20th century renovation.

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bibliography:
Jarzewicz J., Kościoły romańskie w Polsce, Kraków 2014.
Pilch J, Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Sztuka polska przedromańska i romańska do schyłku XIII wieku, red. M. Walicki, Warszawa 1971.
Świechowski Z., Architektura na Śląsku do połowy XIII wieku, Warszawa 1955.