St. Mary's Church

Toruń, Poland

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 St. Mary’s Church in Gdańsk in the 15th century. According to the Franciscan rule, the church does not have a tower but three rather small ave-bell towers instead. The church and the cloister remained in Franciscan hands up to the Reformation period, i.e. up to 1559. The cloister, which was the oldest and most significant in the whole of the Teutonic state, was the residence of the Prussian custos. Here during the synod of 1243 a papal bull was announced dividing the Teutonic state into four dioceses.

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Panny Marii 4, Toruń, Poland
See all sites in Toruń

Details

Founded: 14th century
Category: Religious sites in Poland

More Information

www.visittorun.pl

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mikołaj Grajnert (5 months ago)
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected in the second half of the 14th century by Franciscan friars, who arrived in Toruń just a few years after the city was founded in 1239. The well-preserved monumental Gothic edifice is the third, possibly the fourth, church built on this site. In accordance with the strict Franciscan rule, the building had no tower, but rather three small fléches facing the Old Town market square. To the north, the church bordered a friary which was pulled down in the 19th century. The demolition works threatened the construction of the church as its main outer wall began to lean and the structure had been additionally weakened by heavy damage sustained during the Napoleonic wars. The preventive measures taken at the right time saved from demise a church which still houses an abundance of invaluable masterpieces of art. Inside the church, of particular value are murals of saints painted in 1380s. Another precious feature are richly carved tall wooden stalls situated on both sides of the extensive presbytery. These benches were used by medieval monks, and from mid-16th century, after the church was taken over by Protestants, they seated the representatives of the Lutheran city council of Toruń. The church was the most important place of worship for the Evangelists of Toruń. They attached particular significance to preaching and common choral singing, it is little wonder then that the pulpit and organ, which date back to the early 17th century, were made with exceptional craftsmanship. The sound of the organ accompanied one of the most important ceremonies that have been held here, namely the funeral of the Swedish princess Anna Vasa, a sister of the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa, which took place in 1636. Her burial in Cracow was vehemently opposed by Catholic clergy as Anna Vasa was a Protestant and during her lifetime kept away from the royal court, residing permanently at the castles of Golub-Dobrzyń and Brodnica. Known as an avid protector of Lutheranism, patron of artists and benefactor of the poor, the princess was interested in botany and is claimed to have been the first person in Poland to grow and smoke tobacco. The Baroque grave slab, funded by the king Ladislas IV Vasa in 1636, is situated in her mausoleum which adjoins the north side of the presbytery. The church was also the burial place of numerous outstanding burghers and noblemen of Toruń, which can be seen from the Baroque and Renaissance epitaphs mounted on the walls and the grave slabs incorporated in the church floor, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary was returned to the Catholics in 1724, following religious riots known as the Tumult of Toruń. The church and the priory were then occupied for nearly a century by the Bernardine monks, who promptly built a Baroque high altar , the rood screen separating the presbytery from the nave and all the side altars preserved up to the present day. One of them, situated at the end of the south aisle, contains a painting of the suffering Jesus which used to belong to king John III Sobieski and is believed to have served as the field altar during the battle of Vienna in 1683. The abundance of furnishings and decor as well as the fascinating history of the church create a unique atmosphere which is additionally increased by the beams of light penetrating the the 19th-century stained glass windows.
Nikolas Hiday (11 months ago)
The only bad thing was that the church was in the woods and was being repaired. the interior is beautiful, studying it you can learn for yourself a lot of new things. Quite an annoying factor was the huge number of groups of children entering excursions. they talked very loudly and interfered with the atmosphere of the church. I was glad that the church entrance is free. Unfortunately, there is no entrance to the spire, but there is something to look inside, so you will not be bored. When I visit the city, I recommend everyone to come here!
Why Not Tattoo & Piercing (12 months ago)
Lovely Church and lot of interesting art in.
Emilian Kavalski (13 months ago)
a beautiful old church in the old town of Torun
Julie (2 years ago)
One of the best chuch I have visited in Europe.
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The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.