Środa Wielkopolska – collegiate church of St Mary

History

   The Gothic parish church of Środa Wielkopolska probably began to be built at the beginning of the 15th century. It can be assumed that the works were advanced or completed in 1411, when the Dominicans were brought to the town, who began to build their own temple and since the town also managed to erect the city walls. From 1419, regular congresses of the Greater Poland nobility, held in and around the church, began to take place in Środa. During the regional councils, the senators met inside the temple, the deputies stood in the stands in front of the church, and the secretary in the chapel, separated from irascible debaters with a metal grate. In 1423 the building was raised to the rank of a collegiate church. This promotion was to be ensured by a local priest named Bartłomiej.
   At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the collegiate church was enlarged by adding aisles and raising the tower. In the mid-16th century, the tower was topped with a Renaissance attic, and in the years 1598-1602 a renaissance tomb chapel of the Gostomski family was added from the south.

Architecture

   The parish church in Środa Wielkopolska was erected in the northern part of the medieval town, close to the city’s defensive walls. Originally, this building had one, rectangular nave and two-bay, also rectangular chancel. The above two bays were of varying sizes, covered with a cross-rib vault, while the nave was probably covered with a wooden ceiling. On the west side, on the axis of the facade, a four-sided tower was erected, reinforced with two corner buttresses placed at an angle. Its external façades were richly articulated with blind panels, and inside on its floor there was a gallery with a high arcade opened to the nave. On the north side of the presbytery there was an elongated, four-sided sacristy.
   As a result of the late-Gothic reconstruction at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the collegiate church, by adding two low aisles, became a basilica building, with a narrower, five-side ended presbytery, narrower than the central nave. The sacristy was still adjacent to it from the north, and the tower was from the west. Inside the church stellar vaults in aisesl and cross-ribbed vaults in the extended presbytery were established.

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bibliography:
Kowalski Z., Gotyk wielkopolski. Architektura sakralna XIII-XVI wieku, Poznań 2010.
Maluśkiewicz P., Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2008.

Website regionwielkopolska.pl, Kościół pw. NMP Wniebowziętej w Środzie Wielkopolskiej.