Wąchock – Cistercian abbey

History

   The abbey was founded in 1179 by the bishop of Cracow Gedek. In the thirteenth century the Mongols invaded it, robbing and killing monks, and burning buildings. Boleslaw the Shy after the destruction in 1260, gave the abbey a new goods and brought new cysters from Morimond. Around 1270 the bishop of Cracow, Paul of Przemianków consecrated a rebuilt monastery church.
  
At the end of the 15th century, the abbot Jan Klecisz raised the church’s gables and covered the new roof. In the sixteenth century the abbots made further changes in the decor of the church. In the years 1636-1643, after the fire, a thorough reconstruction of the monastery was made. In 1656, during the Swedish Deluge and the invasion of Transylvanian prince Jerzy Rakoczy, the church was destroyed. In the years 1656-59 the Cistercians undertook the renovation of the temple and the monastery. Around 1750, after plastering the inner walls of the church, it was decorated with Radwanski frescoes, and the chapel of Wincenty Kadłubek was added to the northern aisle. In 1819 the government’s commission made the monastery dissolution, and the Cistercians were forced to leave the abbey, which was sealed and closed. The monks returned to the abbey only in 1951. In the meantime the monastery church began to function as a parish church.

Architecture

   Wachock abbey consists of the church of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. Florian and monastic buildings. The church is an orienteted building in the type of basilica on the plan of latin cross. Its transept and chancel are closed with straight walls. The presbytery is covered with side chapels, opened to the transept. The façade is decorated with a rosette and a triangular gable. The facades of the church were erected from characteristic sandstone piles laid in bicolour stripes, yellowish and brown-redish. The interior of the church is covered with a rib vault and the aisles are separated by pointed arcades.
  
From the south to the church adjoins a quadrangular monastery with built-up cloisters around the courtyard. In the oldest, thirteenth-century eastern wing survives the chapter room with the original rib vault supported by four columns of richly decorated capitals. In the south wing was a refectory with a rib vault. The romanesque character has also retained vaulted detention, hall and fratery. A fratery called the Brothers’ Hall was a monk’s workplace on a square plan with a palm vault, supported by a single centrally located pillar. To the south-east corner of the monastery adjoins the four-sided, 16th century, abbot’s house with a patio.

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bibliography:
Dzieje budownictwa w Polsce według Oskara Sosnowskiego, t. 1, Świechowski Z., Zachwatowicz J., Warszawa 1964.
Jarzewicz J., Kościoły romańskie w Polsce, Kraków 2014.
Website wikipedia.org, Opactwo Cystersów w Wąchocku.