Orneta – St John’s Basilica


The construction of the church began during the reign of the bishop of Warmia, Herman of Prague, in the first half of the 14th century. Its consecration took place under the leadership of the bishop of Warmia, Henry III Sorbom in 1379. From the end of the 14th century, adding was started of the same height side chapels as the aisles. In total, ten of theme were created. In 1494, the church was again consecrated. At that time, it was called Saint John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. From the 16th century, its external appearance has not undergone any major changes. The temple was renovated in 1525, after the end of the Polish-Teutonic War. The wall was then adorned with brick ceramics and the gables of the chapels were added. Around 1900, the temple was thoroughly renovated, however without significant structural changes.


It is an orientated building, erected in the gothic style, made of bricks. It has the shape of a three-nave, four-span basilica, without a separate chancel. The central nave is significantly elevated in relation to both side aisles. On the western side there is a tower with a height of 45 meters with the main entrance, built on a square plan and embedded in the main nave. On its left and right side there are two larger chapels on a square plan. From the east and west, the outer walls are buttressed, in which smaller chapels are integrated, which gives the impression of the fourth and fifth naves. The temple now has eight chapels. Over the elevations are built rows of side gables with pinnacles with a quadrangular shaft. The roofs of the chapels have far-advanced gargoyles of water. The outer walls are decorated with a wide brick frieze with several zones, with bas-reliefs of male and female heads. The interior of the church is covered with a stellar vault. Wall paintings in the gothic style from the 14th and 16th centuries have been preserved in various places in the temple.

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Grzybkowski A., Gotycka architektura murowana w Polsce, Warszawa 2016.
Website leksykonkultury.ceik.eu, ościół pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela i św. Jana Ewangelisty w Ornecie.