Złotoryja – church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The church began to be build, by the inhabitants of the settlement, in the first decade of the 13th century. The building of the temple was patronized by prince Henry the Bearded, who in 1211 gave Złotoryja municipal rights. In 1233, Herman, the first known parson of the church, was mentioned, so it is assumed that in that period the transept and chancel of the church were completed. Around 1270, the Knights Hospitallers Order took patronage over the church, which for centuries had a huge impact on the expansion and renovation of the temple. Works on the construction of the nave, which began around the mid-13th century, were completed at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. In the years 1482–1485 a west tower of the church was erected under the supervision of the master builder Georg Hehrücker, who at the beginning of the works was warned by the city council that he would pay a penalty of 10 guilders, if it was necessary to stop construction due to poor quality. The second tower was added around 1485-1490 from the east of the church. In 1620, the north-west tower had to be renovated, and in the 18th century both towers were crowned with baroque helmets. In the years 1914-1918 a general renovation of the temple was carried out, revealing, among others Romanesque foundations.

Architecture

   A church built of sandstone was erected in stages and, as the sources said, the concept of the whole were changed at least twice. First came out foundations of the eastern part, the presbytery and the transept, which was planned to be completed by three semicircular apses, but when the foundations rose above the ground, the chancel was given a pentagonal form. The other two apses at the transepts were semicircular. Inside the presbytery was covered with a six-part vault, and it was illuminated by two small windows with tracery. Entrance to the transept led from the south and north through richly decorated portals, above which rosettes were located. The interior of the transept was planned to be covered with a cross vault, but only two bays were made, and the others probably only during the construction of the nave.
   Low arcades testify that the nave was initially planned to be erected in the form of a basilica, i.e. with the central nave higher than the aisles and illuminated with its own windows, but works related to the second stage of construction were resumed according to a new concept in which the hall church was built in the fourteenth century. Its interior received five bays, including tower bays, only when the organ gallery was set up, it caused the separation of the western part of the church. The entrance was placed on the west side, two small portals also led to the inside in the second bay from the east (today walled up). The interior of the nave was covered with cross vaults with rectangular bays in the nave and square bays in the aisles.
   It was planned to build two western towers in the church, but the southern one was only raised to the height of the crown of the nave walls, leaving the shape of the building asymmetrical (as in the church of St. Martin in Jawor). The north-west tower was higher, it received a four-sided base, passing higher into the octagon. The second tower was added atypically from the east of the temple to the presbytery, while changing the shape of the apse. It received five floors and was supported by high buttresses located on the extension of the walls. On the axes of all its facades were slender windows, two-light with tracery, and above it single-light, smaller windows.
   From the north, in the first half of the 16th century, a sacristy covered with a net vault was built, while from the south at the intersection of naves, a chapel of Holy Cross, open to the nave with an ogival arcade. Its interior was covered with a cross vault and illuminated by a wide and low window with a three-light tracery.

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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.

Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.
Kozaczewska-Golasz H., Halowe kościoły z XIII wieku na Śląsku, Wrocław 2015.

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