Kętrzyn – St George’s basilica

History

Beginning of the construction of the collegiate church of Saint George in Kętrzyn was started in 1359 on the site of the former Teutonic watchtower. Initially, the church had the form of a hall temple, which was connected with a four-sided tower by defensive city walls. Due to its defensive character, the building was equipped with hoardings. At the end of the 14th century, the tower was added to the eastern wall, and around 1410, the older western tower was raised. The gables of the west façade have also been bricked. In the years 1470-1485 the church was enlarged and given the form of a three-nave pseudobasilic, at the same time the western tower was strengthened, supplying it with a brick battlement in place of the original wooden porches. The chancel and the sacristy adjoining to it, were created after the fire that took place in 1500. At the final stage of the expansion, thanks to the efforts of master Matz from Gdańsk, the church received diamond vaults. In the twenties of the sixteenth century, it was transformed into a lutheran temple. In 1581, a hurricane broke off the roof of the west tower, and ten years later it burned down from a lightning strike. During the renovation, the crenellation in the destroyed western tower was replaced with a roof, and the chapel of St. James and a choir was erected. The next major renovation works were carried out only in the 19th century and after the Second World War.

Architecture

The Basilica of Saint George is a church with defensive features, orientated, gothic, made of brick in flemish bond on a field stones foundation. It has a three-nave system with five spans. From the south-west side there is a 40-meter high guard and defense tower built into the corner of nave. From the south, a a 32-meter high bell tower is built between the aisle and the chancel. The presbytery is ended on a polygonal basis and reinforced with high buttresses, between which large, ogival windows are placed. The diamond vault in the chancel is based on the motif of the six-pointed star, while in the central nave, aisles and in the chapel of St. James vault has an eight-armed star motif.

Current state

The basilica of Saint George in Kętrzyn is the best preserved defensive church in Masuria and is one of the most valuable monuments of sacred architecture in Poland. The contemporary form of the church was shaped as a result of transformations in the period from the 14th to the 16th century. Admission to the church is free, for a fee you can also visit the parish museum, prison cells and lapidarium.

show this monument on map

return to alphabetical index

bibliography:
Webpage leksykonkultury.ceik.eu, Bazylika Świętego Jerzego w Kętrzynie.