Toruń – basilica of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist


   The first parish church was probably built shortly after the relocation of the old merchant settlement to the place of today’s Toruń in 1236. At the turn of the 13th and 14th century a second, larger church was erected. At that time, the chancel was first established, and then, after the demolition of the first church, a three-nave body with a hall corpus. The appearance of the western part is not known, but it is generally accepted that a square tower was adjacent to the west façade. From this construction phase, the chancel has been preserved and the walls and pillars of the three eastern bays to half the height.
   The next phase of the construction of the temple is connected with its reconstruction after the city fire in 1351. By the beginning of the 15th century the body was extended by one bay, a new tower from the west and a series of side chapels by the northern aisle were built, and the main nave was raised giving the church the shape of a pseudo-basilic. In the 15th century the church received its final shape, preserved until today. In the years 1475-1480 the southern chapel was added. The great, massive tower of the church was erected in the eighties of the 15th century in the place of the previous one, which partially collapsed and was demolished. Most of all, however, the body of the nave was raised to the present height, and was covered with a stellar vault.
Since the 16th century, when Toruń became a Protestant town, the church was jointly and alternately used by Protestants and Catholics, and again from 1596 only by Catholics. The Toruń cathedral was not affected during the 20th century warfare.


   The church, one of the finest examples of gothic architecture on the Chełmno land, has the form of a three-nave hall with a lower chancel and side chapels. From the west is located a massive, four-sided tower, whose western façade is separated by a deep recess, passes through its entire height. This concept was to be even more effective, because it was planned to build a fourth storey, on which the recess would be closed with an arcade. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, and probably also financial difficulties, the idea was not implemented. At the sides of the tower adjoining lower annexes preceded by porches. On the northern side, in the fourteenth century, a large, three-bay sacristy with high-class figural corbels was placed.
   The chancel has a rib vault above the first and third bays and stellar over the middle one. This is one of the oldest examples of the stellar vault in the Teutonic state, on which perhaps it were modeled many subsequent churchesThey are in it stone corbels with symbols of four evangelists and the Lamb of God. The square bays of the naves have been covered with stellar vaults, but they are asymmetrical in the aisles. In the church there are gothic paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries, medieval sculptures and pride of the cathedral, a powerful seven-tone Tuba Dei bell of 1500 year.

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Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.
Website, Bazylika katedralna św. Jana Chrzciciela i św. Jana Ewangelisty w Toruniu.