Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland and Subcarpathia

Church of St. Phillip and St. Jacob

St. Philip and St. Jacob the Apostles' Church in Sękowa was built at the beginning of 16th century. It was made using manually hewed larch wood covered with shingle. The church is a one-nave one with the chancel closed off at three sides. The interior is meagre, since the church was devastated during the wartime at the turn of 1914 and 1915. Wooden elements from the church were used to build trenches and consumed as fire ...
Founded: 1520 | Location: Sękowa, Poland

Archangel Michael Church

The wooden church of the Archangel Michael in Debno is first mentioned in 1335. The present building, the second on the site, dates from the late 15th century. This church has a unique example of medieval decorations. The ceiling and the interior walls are painted using stencils from the 15th and 16th centuries. The decoration contains more than 77 motifs: architectural recalling Gothic forms, animal, human and religious. ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dębno, Poland

Church of the Archangel Michael

The Church of the Archangel Michael in Binarowa was built around 1500. In 1595 a tower was added to the west end, and at the beginning of the 17th century the church was enclosed by an external arcade. Window openings were enlarged and new polychrome decoration replaced the earlier stencilled work. The church is decorated with numerous sculptures and paintings of angels. The church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Si ...
Founded: 1500 | Location: Binarowa, Poland

St. Leonard's Church

The Church of St Leonard was built at the end of the 15th century. From this date have survived parts of the polychrome decoration stencilled on the ceiling of the nave. The church was situated outside the defensive wall of the township and had the function of a cemetery church, a function that it still fulfils. It has been renovated many times, but this has not significantly affected its form or spatial arrangement The ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lipnica Murowana, Poland

All Saints Church

The most valuable monument in Blizne is wooden Church of All Saints from the middle of 15th century. Church was built in the Late Gothic style, of stromal construction, on a stone foundation. In 17th century was surrounded by defensive ramparts. The Church has a rich painted decoration: the remarkable Last Judgement scene is from this period. In the early 18th century there were changes to interior decorations and furnitu ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Blizne, Poland

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael in Haczow has original Gothic polychrome decoration from the late 15th century, although the building has been dated to the previous century. At the beginning of the 17th century the church was enclosed by an earthen defensive rampart. Inside a valuable figural wall paintings dating from 1494 can be seen. It is believed that the Haczów church is the bigges ...
Founded: 1388 | Location: Haczów, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.