Słupsk – St Mary’s church

History

   The first parish church in Słupsk was probably erected in the 70’s or 80’s of the 13th century. Initially, it wore the call of Saint Mauritius, which was changed on the Blessed Virgin Mary in the fourteenth century, during the short reign of the Teutonic Order over Słupsk. The construction of a new gothic church was begun perhaps in the first half of the fourteenth century, but there is no source records. In the first phase, a chancel was erected until the mid-fourteenth century, and then in the second half of the 14th century, the naves and tower were built.
   During a fire in 1476 the town was severely damaged. Around 1500 the temple was rebuilt and on the occasion greatly enlarged. Since the 16th century the church was a Protestant temple and returned to Catholics after the Second World War. In the years 1858-1860 a thorough neo-gothic building restaurant was carried out, during which the interior was renovated and gables were added above the southern aisle. In 1894, the porch was additionally transformed under the tower.

Architecture

   St. Mary’s Church was erected in the southern, corner block of the market square. It is a basilica with a three-nave interior with a high central nave and half the lower, quite wide aisles. It was founded on a rectangular plan with the east, narrower and polygonal chancel and a square tower on the west side. Later, the chapel was added and a southern, two-bay and two-story sacristy was added. The roofs over the chancel, the nave and the sacristy are gable, and over the side aisles are mono-pitched, placed transversely to the axis of the church. The ridges of these roofs were located on the boundaries of the bays, thanks to which the windows of the central nave could be large. The building on the outside is surrounded with stepped buttresses, between which there are large ogival windows. The horizontal ornaments are made of cornices: the under windows, the under the eaves and the frieze with the motif of a quatrefoil. An important element of the southern façade (the main side of the church) are many stepped gables with blendes and pinnacles, covering the roofs of the side aisle and the chapel. Similar gables were also created over the northern aisle, and at the center of the south aisle was erected an octagonal stair tower. Another turret was placed at the southern wall of the presbytery. The main tower is divided only with ogival windows. The portals from the west and south consist of five pointed, stepped frames made of a specially profiled bricks.
   Inside, the central nave has been covered with a stellar vault of six-armed stars, supported by octagonal pillars, while the side aisles are covered with cross-rib vaults. The arcade of the chancel arch and the arcades between the naves are pointed, with the arches of the arcades in the naves being profiled on both sides. Above the arcades is a frieze with a motif of a quatrefoil, analogous to the frieze  on outer façade. It separates the upper floor in which the wall is slightly retracted. All windows are arranged in recesses, the jambs of which go down to the inter-story offset. Arches converge on the line of pillars to form pilaster strips, on which the ribs of the vault meet. Bundles of ancillary columns made of three rollers running from pillar imposts to the base of the vault, crossing the frieze and offset. In the presbytery the walls were erected in a two-storey system: at the bottom there is a zone divided by ogival niches, above the large windows. The slender ancillary columns run from the floor to the vault. Above the presbytery the richest eight-arm stellar vault with the numerous additional ribs has been laid out.

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Jarzewicz J., Architektura średniowieczna Pomorza Zachodniego, Poznań 2019.

Website  zabytkowekoscioly.net, Słupsk, kościół Najświętszej Panny Marii.