Racibórz – church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected around 1300 on the site of an older, already existing from the beginning of the 13th century, from the foundations of townspeople of Racibórz. Over the centuries it has undergone many transformations. In 1426 the church was partially destroyed by fire, after which one of the towers on the western façade was not rebuilt. During the subsequent fire of the church in 1546 destroyed, among others, vaults in the presbytery. In 1574, the interior of the church burned down as a result of the fire and the second tower of the west façade. After the fire of 1774 the nave was reconstructed, and the baroque Polish Chapel was rebuilt. In 1891 the existing nave was enlarged from the south by a two-nave, eight-span hall. The building was severely damaged during the Second World War. Rebuilding in the years 1948-1949 in the spirit of historical reconstruction, partially removed elements and stratification from the nineteenth century.

Architecture

   The church was a hall structure, three-nave with a elongated chancel ended polygonal on the east and a two-tower westwork from the west. From the second half of the 14th century, further chapels and annexes were added to the church. In 1377, a chapel of Corpus Christi was erected as a burial place for priests, and in 1416 a two-storey annex was built to the chancel from the south, housing the chapter house and the treasury. While in the years 1426 – 1446, a chapel for the German population, later called the Polish Chapel, was added to the front façade. From the north adjoins a 16th-century tower on a square plan. In the upper part it passes into an octagon, varied with wimpergs and corner turrets reminiscent of pinnacles.
  
The façades of the church are gothic in character and are varied with symmetrically arranged buttresses and ogival windows pierced 
singly between them (in the presbytery) and in pairs (in the nave). In some of them, 14th-century decorations in the form of tracery are preserved. In addition, in the north elevation of the nave there is an original, pointed gothic, stone portal.
   The five-span chancel is crowned with rib vault from the 16th century, flowing down to the original ancillary columns of the fourteenth century. The nave originally had stellar vaults, now reconstructed in only three eastern spans. The interior of the chapter house is crowned with a four-armed rib vault supported by a centrally located pillar.

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bibliography:
Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Górnego Śląska, Warszawa 2008.