Cathedrals in 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Tumski ('Cathedral Islan ...
Founded: 968 AD | Location: Poznań, 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 Kraków will recognise th ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bydgoszcz, 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

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 his grave was ...
Founded: 1329-1388 | Location: Frombork, 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

Gniezno Cathedral

The Royal Gniezno Cathedral served as the coronation place for several Polish monarchs and as the seat of Polish church officials continuously for nearly 1000 years. Throughout its long and tragic history, the building stayed mostly intact making it one of the oldest and most precious sacral monuments in Poland. The cathedral played an outstanding role in the history of Poland, serving as the stronghold capital of the f ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Gniezno, Poland

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Greek Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Przemyśl serves as the mother church of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Peremyshl-Warsaw. The church was built in the 17th century by the Jesuit order and dedicated to St. Ignatius. After Przemyśl fell under Austrian rule and the suppression of the order in 1773 it slowly fell into ruins and in 1820 was closed by Austrians and turned into a storeh ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Przemyśl, Poland

Przemysl Cathedral

The Cathedral of Przemyśl is the main church of the Archdiocese of Przemyśl, located at the Cathedral Square in the Old Town. The first cathedral of the Diocese was a wooden church which existed from 1375 to 1412, standing in the square beside the present church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From 1412 - 1460 a Ruthenian Orthodox cathedral built of stone stood in the courtyard of Przemyśl Castle which it was strongly as ...
Founded: 1495 | Location: Przemyśl, 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

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

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 following a fire and took ...
Founded: c. 1129 | Location: Płock, 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

Sosnowiec Cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary  was built in 1899 on the plan of a Latin cross basilica type. As of 25 March 1992 is the cathedral of the Diocese of Sosnowiec. The most important Catholic shrine of Sosnowiec was built between 1893 and 1899. In 1896 there was put into operation for the faithful the lower chapel. In 1899 the Bishop of Kielce Tomasz Kulinski erected a new parish, freein ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Sosnowiec, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.