Cathedrals in Poland

Wawel Cathedral

The Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus is a Roman Catholic church located on Wawel Castle hill. More than 900 years old, it is the Polish national sanctuary and traditionally has served as coronation site of the Polish monarchs as well as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Kraków. The current, Gothic cathedral, is the third edifice on this site: the first was constructed and destroyed ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kraków, Poland

Oliwa Cathedral

Oliwa Cathedral is dedicated to The Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary and St Bernard. The first Cistercian monastery on the site was founded by Sambor I of Gdánsk, Duke of Pomerania, in 1186. The first Romanesque oratory was burnt down in 1224 during the pagan Prussians crusade. It was rebuilt in 1234-1236, but destroyed again by Prussian crusade. In 1350 fire that was caused by chimney soot excess completely cons ...
Founded: 1578-1594 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Szczecin Cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of St. James the Apostle was built by the citizens of the Szczecin city and modeled after the Church of St. Mary in Lübeck. It is the largest church in Pomerania and for many years after the reformation was part of the Pomeranian Evangelical Church, but since World War II and the handing over of Stettin to Poland it has been rebuilt as a Roman Catholic cathedral. The church was established in ...
Founded: 1187 | Location: Szczecin, Poland

St. Martin & Nicholas Cathedral

Bydgoszcz"s oldest remaining church is a truly exquisite example of the so-called Vistulan Gothic style, and is, in a word, breathtaking. Parts of the building date back to middle of the 15th century, and the exterior is worthy of more plaudits than many comparable churches, but what really sets this church apart from the rest is its glorious interior. Those who"ve visited St. Mary"s Basilica in Krak&oacut ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bydgoszcz, Poland

Plock Cathedral

Płock Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Masovia, is an example of Romanesque architecture. The bishopric in Płock was founded about 1075. The first definite reference to the cathedral is in 1102, when Władysław I Herman was buried there. The present Romanesque cathedral was built after 1129 by prince Bolesław III and Bishop Aleksander of Malonne. This was a rebuilding follo ...
Founded: c. 1129 | Location: Płock, Poland

Wroclaw Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a landmark of the city of Wrocław in Poland. The current standing cathedral is the fourth church to have been built on the site. A first church at the location of the present cathedral was built under Přemyslid rule in the mid 10th century, a fieldstone building with one nave about 25 m in length, including a distinctive transept and an apse. After the Polish conquest of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Florian's Cathedral

St. Florian"s Cathedral with its 75-meter towers dominates eastern Warsaw"s Praga district and highlight the cathedral’s role as a form of protest against the erstwhile Russian domination of Poland. There has been a Catholic church presence in or around the site of the future church since 1583, but the impetus for creating a lasting and substantial church did not arrive until the late 19th century. The ma ...
Founded: 1897 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Torun Cathedral

Church of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, since 1935 Minor Basilica, since 1992 the Cathedral of Toruń Diocese, is former main parish church of Old Town of Toruń. One of three Gothic churches of the town, built from brick, an aisled hall with a monumental west tower. The first church from the 13th century was a small hall without aisles and with polygonal presbytery. This was replaced by aisled ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Toruń, Poland

Frombork Cathedral

The Archcathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Andrew in Frombork was constructed during 1329-1388. The astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus worked there as a canon (1512–16 and 1522–43). He wrote his epochal work, De revolutionibus orbium cœlestium in Frombork. Shortly after its 1543 publication, Copernicus died there and was buried in the cathedral where h ...
Founded: 1329-1388 | Location: Frombork, Poland

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church (Bazylika Mariacka) is the largest brick church in the world. According to tradition, as early as 1243 a wooden Church of the Assumption existed at this site, built by Prince Swantopolk II. The foundation stone for the new brick church was placed on on 25 March 1343. At first a six-span bay basilica with a low turret was built, erected from 1343 to 1360. Parts of the pillars and lower levels of the turre ...
Founded: 1343 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St. Mary's Cathedral

Koszalin’s most distinctive landmark is St. Mary"s Cathedral (Katedra Niepokalanego Poczecia N.M.P), a Gothic church erected between 1300-1333. Initially serving as a Catholic church, the building was from the 16th century till the end of World War II a temple for the Protestant faith. Since 1945 it again is a Catholic house of worship.
Founded: 1300-1333 | Location: Koszalin, Poland

Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul

The Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Poznań is one of the oldest churches in Poland and the oldest Polish cathedral, dating from the 10th century. It stands on the island of Ostrów Tumski north-east of the city centre. The cathedral was originally built in the second half of the 10th century within the fortified settlement of Poznań, which stood on what is now called Ostrów Tums ...
Founded: 968 AD | Location: Poznań, Poland

Lomza Cathedral

Łomża Cathedral was built between 1504-1525 and inaugurated in 1531. According a legend there was a church near the current cathedral already in c. 1000 AD. After the cathedral was damaged in Swedish wars it was restored to Gothic Baroque style in 1691-1692. The southern sacristy was added in 1886. Łomża Cathedral was again damaged in Second World War and rebuilt between 1952-1958. The most precious t ...
Founded: 1504-1525 | Location: Lomza, Poland

St. Nicholas Cathedral

St. Nicholas Cathedral is a Gothic church established in circa 1247. When the burghers of Elbing (Elbląg) first attempted to adopt the Protestant Reformation in 1525, the provost of St. Nicholas Church maintained Catholic practice. Since 1539 the city council tacitly tolerated and gradually openly promoted Lutheranism, so that St. Nicholas Church had become a Lutheran church by 1573. Following King Sigismund III&quo ...
Founded: 1247 | Location: Elbląg, Poland

Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Cross

The Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Cross (Bazylika Katedralna Podwyższenia Krzyża Świętego) was built in the 15th century on the site where before there was a structure of the 11th and 13th centuries. It was rebuilt several times. With towers with a height of 73 meters is the tallest structure in the city. In the temple there is a painting of the Virgin of Opole, brought there permanently in 1702.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Opole, Poland

St. John's Archcathedral

St. John's Archcathedral in Warsaw stands immediately adjacent to Warsaw's Jesuit church, and is one of the oldest churches in the city. St. John's Archcathedral is one of Poland's national pantheons. Along with the city, the church has been listed by UNESCO as of cultural significance. Originally built in the 14th century in Masovian Gothic style, the Cathedral served as a coronation and burial site for numerous Dukes o ...
Founded: 1390 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Prabuty Cathedral

Prabuty Cathedral was built by Teutonic Order in the first half of the 14th century. It was destroyed in the World War II, but restored in the 1980s.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Prabuty, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.