Sulechów – Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church


   The church may have been built shortly after the town was founded at the beginning of the second half of the 13th century or at the latest at the beginning of the 14th century After the expansion from the 1488 – 1499 it gained a new nave and parhaps sacristy. The church was seriously damaged during the catastrophic fire of the town in 1557. Then the western gable, the tower and the vaults collapsed. The church was rebuilt by Tadeusz Blitzl until 1562, however, it took longer to complete the rich interior design, since the pulpit was restored only after eighteen years after the fire. The lower part of  the collapsed tower was preserved as a porch and a new tower was erected from the southern side. At that time, a new stellar vault was also made and the construction of the western gable, decorated with recesses, was completed.
In 1539 the temple was taken over by the Protestants and managed until the end of World War II. In the second half of the 16th century, the first library in the town was arranged in the room on the new tower. Important manuscripts and parchment books were kept there. To maintain the building in good condition, renovation and modernization works were carried out. In 1611 a tower was renovated, in which a bell founded by the town council was placed. The next works were carried out after the end of the 30-year war. In 1687, the construction of the new pulpit was completed, and in 1693 another tower renovation was carried out. In 1830, the tower’s octagonal top was added.


   The church was located in the western part of the town, only about 8 meters from the defensive walls. It follows that probably in addition to the sacral, it also served a defense – guard function. After the rebuilding from the fifteenth century, it was a late Gothic building, brick and stone, of a hall form. It had three aisles, narrower chancel ended on three sides from east, a four-sided tower from west side and an annex from the north, probably housing the sacristy. The elevations of the church were decorated with a frieze with a quatrefoil motif. The eastern and western façades of the nave were decorated with gables with rich blende decorations, and the whole nave and chancel were reinforced with external buttresses.
   In the second half of the 16th century, after the collapse of a part of the west tower, a new, slimmer tower was erected on the southern side of the chancel. The original tower was lowered and transformed into a porch. During the reconstruction, stellar vaults were established in the central nave and presbytery, and net vaults in the aisles.


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Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.

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