Strzelin – St Gotthard’s Church

History

   Church of St. Gotthard is one of the oldest churches in Silesia, with its origins dating back to the first half of the twelfth century. The romanesque rotunda which was erected there, in the 14th and 15th centuries was renovated in gothic style. Strzelin itself appeared for the first time in documents in 1220, when the comes Radosław was mentioned, while from 1264 there is information about the distribution of the salaries of the Strzelin church in connection with the creation of the parish in the Biały Kościół. In 1300 an indulgence letter was issued to the church of St. Gotthard, stating that the building belongs to the Polish population, but has no separate salaries.
   The church from 1534 until 1945 was a Protestant temple, with a break between 1689-1708, when it belonged to the Augustinian Order. Before the First World War, the church held masses in Polish, by which it was called “Polnische Kirche”.

Architecture

   Originally, the church was a romanesque rotunda consisting of a nave 6 meters in diameter and a semicircular apse 3.4 meters in diameter. This building was characterized by simple technique and architectural details (window jambs, entrance portal). At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the former chancel was demolished, and a rectangular two-bay interior was erected in its place. The former nave was rebuilt and adopted to the church bell tower. A similar rectangular nave was added from the south in the 15th century. As a result, a two-nave church was built with a two-bay rib vault, with a circular tower from the west.

Current state

    From the original building, a cylindrical rotunda’s nave at the bottom of the tower with a modest portal with a semicircular tympanum have survived. Only the lowest layer of stones and the foundations have survived from the presbytery apse. The gothic part of the church has survived without major early modern distortions, not including the tower’s top.

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bibliography:
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Świechowski Z., Architektura na Śląsku do połowy XIII wieku, Warszawa 1955.