Religious sites in Poland

Church of St. Adalbert

The Church of St. Adalbert is one of the oldest stone churches in Poland. The Church was built in the 11th century and named after the martyred missionary Saint Adalbert whose body was bought back for its weight in gold from the pagan Prussia and placed in Gniezno Cathedral by Boleslaus I of Poland. The interior of the church is cramped, relative to its larger exterior. The floor level is situated under the present level ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Kraków, Poland

St. Mary's Basilica

Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven (also known as St. Mary"s Church) is a Brick Gothic church famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss. According to chronicler Jan Długosz the first parish church at the Main Square in Kraków was founded in 1221–22 by the Bishop of Kraków, Iwo Odrowąż. The building was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Poland. Between 1290&ndas ...
Founded: 1290-1320 | Location: Kraków, 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

St. Andrew's Church

The Church of St. Andrew was built between 1079 and 1098 by a medieval Polish statesman Palatine Sieciech. It is a rare surviving example of the European fortress church used for defensive purposes. Built in Romanesque style, it is one of the oldest buildings in Kraków and one of the best-preserved Romanesque buildings in Poland. It was the only church in Kraków to withstand the Mongol attack of 1241. Along the lower p ...
Founded: 1079-1098 | Location: Kraków, Poland

St. Elizabeth's Church

St. Elizabeth"s Church dates back to the 14th century, when construction was commissioned by the city. The main tower was originally 130 meters tall. From 1525 until 1946, St. Elizabeth"s was the chief Lutheran Church of Breslau/Wroclaw and Silesia. In 1946 it was expropriated and given to the Military Chaplaincy of the Polish Roman Catholic Church. The church was damaged by heavy hail in 1529, and gutted by fir ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

St. Peter and Paul Church

The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul is a Baroque Jesuit church known best for the statues of the 12 disciples lining the fence at the front. Commissioned for the Jesuit order, Sts. Peter and Paul was the first baroque church in Krakow. It is one of the most faithful examples of transplanting the architecture of the famous Gesu Church in Rome to foreign soil, with a fine Baroque facade and great dome. It is said that the J ...
Founded: 1597-1619 | Location: Kraków, Poland

Church of St. Anne

The Church of St. Anne is one of the leading examples of Polish Baroque architecture. The church was first mentioned in 1381 in the deed of donation of Sulisław I Nawoja of Grodziec. In 1407 the church was completely destroyed during a fire, but it was rebuilt the same year in the Gothic style by King Władysław II Jagiełło. The king also attached the Church formally to the Jagiellonian University ...
Founded: 1689-1705 | Location: Kraków, Poland

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi with Monastery of the Franciscan Order is a Roman Catholic religious complex. The Church dates back to the 13th century. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was a monk there in 1919, and led his first service at this church on Poland"s return to sovereignty. There is no consensus among historians about the church"s founder. He was probably Duke Henry II the Pious (1196–1241), son of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kraków, Poland

Royal Chapel

Just to the north and completely overshadowed by St Mary's Church, sits the small Royal Chapel, squeezed between two houses. The only Baroque church in old Gdańsk, it was built between 1678 and 1681 to fulfil the last will of the primate of Poland of the time, Andrzej Olszowski. It was designed by famous royal architect Tylman van Gameren. Its façade is its more attractive feature, and bears the coats of arms ...
Founded: 1678-1681 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St. Mary Magdalene Church

St. Mary Magdalene Church was established in the 13th century. During the Second World War the church was seriously damaged. In 1945 the legendary Sinner"s Bell, which was the biggest Silesian bell, was also damaged. St Mary Magdalene was rebuilt during the period 1947–1953. The most precious relic of the church is a Romanesque portal dating from the 12th century, coming from a Benedictine monastery in Ołbin th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Holy Cross Church

The Church of the Holy Cross is one of the most notable Baroque churches in Poland"s capital. As early as the 15th century, a small wooden chapel of the Holy Cross had been erected here. In 1526 the chapel was demolished, and a newer church was erected. Refurbished and extended by Paweł Zembrzuski in 1615, the church was too small to fill the needs of the growing city. Initially located well outside the city lim ...
Founded: 1682 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Holy Spirit Church

Holy Spirit Church was was built in late Baroque style in the mid-18th century by the Protestants, who were dispossessed of St. Mary’s Church as a result of the Tumult of Toruń in 1724. The slender church tower was added in the end of the 19th century. Today the church is a university church affiliated with Nicolaus Copernicus University. The most finest details in the church are the mid-18th century Rococo high altar ...
Founded: c. 1750 | Location: Toruń, Poland

St. Giles Church

Built in the 13th century, St. Giles is the only church in Wrocław to have survived the Tatar invasions and is today the oldest active church in Wrocław.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Poznan Fara

Poznań Fara is one of the city"s most recognizable landmarks, the most important Christian temple alongside the Cathedral and the finest example of Baroque architecture in Poland. Built between 1651 and 1701, the structure was engineered by Polish and Italian masters in the Baroque style, who also incorporated Roman architectural aspects such as the monumental corinthian columns in the interior. In the mid-18th cen ...
Founded: 1651-1701 | Location: Poznań, 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. Bartholomew's Church

Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew is one of Ostrów Tumski"s most beautiful and iconic structures, thanks to a 70m steeple and impressive entry staircase, this curious sanctuary is actually two churches in one. Split over two levels, the building comprises the shorter windows of the Church of St. Bartholomew beneath the soaring windows of the upper level Church of the Holy Cross. The first ...
Founded: 1295 | 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

St. Mary's Church

The post-Franciscan Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, erected in the second half of the 14th century, is one of the most outstanding artistic and architectural achievements of sacral architecture in Poland. In the 14th century it was the highest hall church in Central Europe with the naves and aisles 26.8 metre high. The church provided inspiration for the extension of St. Johns’ Church in Toruń and ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Toruń, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.