Kołobrzeg – St Mary’s cathedral

History

   The parish church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kołobrzeg was built at the beginning of the 14th century on the site of an older building from the 13th century. Initially, it was given the form of a three-nave hall with one tower, probably added to the old chancel. In the years 1323-1331, a new gothic chancel was built, and in the period 1386-1400 two outer aisles. In the fifteenth century, a gallery (matroneum) was built into the northern aisle, and a north tower was erected. As a result of ground subsidence, the temple was reconstructed several times. At the end of the fifteenth century, the northern and southern towers were joined into one massive block, a middle helmet was added, and in this way the temple was given its final appearance.
  
From the fourteenth century St. Mary’s church in Kołobrzeg played the role of collegiate church, and from the sixteenth century was a Protestant church, which resulted in the creation of galleries over the side aisles. From the 17th to the 20th centuries it was destroyed many times by war. In 1945 during the fights at Festung Kolberg was an important point of defense of the city and was destroyed by the fire of Soviet artillery. After World War II, the ruins of the church were initially intended to be dismantled, fortunately in 1957, it was handed over to the Catholic Church and reconstruction started.

Architecture

   It is a gothic hall church, made of brick on a stone foundation. Finally, it obtained the appearance of a five-nave, five-span temple, orientated and covered with a separate chancel, with the width of the central nave and ended with a pentagon. The nave and adjacent side aisles have one height, while the outer aisles are lower and divided by galleries. The window and entrance openings have pointed, profiled finishing. On the western side there is a massive forty-meter tower, built on a rectangular plan, crowned with a pyramid-needle helmet with a lantern. It was formed from the combination at the end of the fifteenth century, a four-sided north tower and the south tower. On the whole width, the tower is separated by windows and blendes. In lateral aisles, there is a stellar vault, and in the central nave, rib vault is present.
   Inside in the outer side aisles there is a stellar vault, and rib vaults in the central nave, inner aisles and presbytery. Slightly lower external aisles are open with high arcades. On the north-east pillar there is a gothic polychrome with a representation of Madonna with a Child, in the northern inner aisle Parable of the Ten Virgins, and the Passion scenes in the ground level.
  
The medieval equipment includes: a gothic menora dating from 1327, a crucifix from 1330, a baptismal font from 1355, a gothic candlesticks from 1420, and a Schlieffen Crown from 1523, grave plaques of Kołobrzeg’s burghers, as well as stalls of municipal councilors from XIV century. They are the oldest stalls in Poland.

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bibliography:
Kubicki D., Gotyckie świątynie powiatów koszalińskiego i kołobrzeskiego, Pelplin 2001.

Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, 2012.
Webpage wikipedia.org, Bazylika konkatedralna Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny w Kołobrzegu.