Poznań – St Mary’s Church


   The church in today’s shape was created in the middle of the fifteenth century, but its history begins around 965, when the castle chapel was erected on the Ostrów Tumski island after the arrival of the Czech duchess Dobrawa. The gothic collegiate church began to be built around 1426, but in 1433 work was stopped due to lack of money. The raised walls were originally intended to serve as the presbytery of a much larger temple, but this was never intended. The bricklayer Hanusz Prusz mentioned in 1444, was responsible for completing the building, and in 1445 a certain Lorek from Kościan built a western gable and covered the roof truss. Only after that, the builder Niklos founded a vaults, which ended in 1448 the construction of the church.
In the nineteenth century the temple was threatened by demolition, which was avoided by the coincidence. Prussians were preparing for demolition in 1805, but in 1806 they had to withdraw from Poznań in front of the Napoleonic army. In 1817, the Prussian authorities again announced their intention to demolish and proceeded to bid the church, but it ended in failure. The chapter rented a temple at the time. A year later, it was visited by the successor of the Prussian throne, the future Frederic William IV, who appreciated the beauty of the church and forbade its demolition. The renovation was carried out in 1859-1862. During World War II the church was on fire, but it survived happily.


   The collegiate is a short hall with a ambulatory, built entirely from bricks. The external façades are characterized by the lack of a buttresses, and in the places where the pillars are laid from the inside, there are shallow lesenes. In the western part there is an short matroneum, accessible from the ground with a staircase in the thick wall. The three-nave interior covers the stellar vault. The entrance to the temple leads from the south side, through a pointed portal made of profiled, glazed bricks. A similar portal is located in the northern elevation. The asymmetry of the church is striking, as the northern elevation is much more modest and done less carefully. Despite this, the church is an outstanding and sublime building, demonstrating the high aspirations of the Poznań cathedral environment.

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Grzybkowski A., Gotycka architektura murowana w Polsce, Warszawa 2016.
Maluśkiewicz P., Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2008.

Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.