Oleśnica – St John’s Basilica


   The church in the present place existed in the form of a chapel, probably already in the twelfth century, as a wooden building. It was mentioned for the first time in 1230. After living of the princes in the castle, the neighboring parish church became a “castle”, that is the temple of the dukes of Oleśnica, with the participation of whom it was expanded. In the fifteenth century, at the time of the Piast dynasty, it became a brick three-nave basilica and in such a general shape survived to the present times.
In 1495, it became the castle’s church of Podiebrads of Ziębice-Oleśnica, intending to make it their mausoleum. For this purpose, they extended the temple around 1500-1510, adding a large two-span chapel, probably a prince’s chapel. In 1498 or 1513, they started burials in the crypt, which nowadays is called Podiebradads Crypt.
In 1538, the church was taken over by Protestants. Its further development took place, in 1596, the matronea were built, and in 1621 the church tower was raised. The church survived the fires that plagued the city, especially the one from 1730, but it did not resist the aging of the structure. In 1905, during the ongoing expansion of the church, there was a construction disaster. As a result, the vaults of the main and southern naves collapsed, destroying or damaging a large part of the historic equipment. Until 1907, reconstruction plans were being prepared and money was collected for this purpose. The reconstruction and renovation of the interior decoration was completed in 1910.


   In its present form, it is a orientated, gothic brick building. The church is three-nave, basilic type with an extended chancel finished in polygons. A square tower adjoins it from the north. The whole interior is covered with groin and stellar vaults.

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Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Website olesnica.nienaltowski.net, Kościół zamkowy – obecnie Bazylika Mniejsza.