The Church of St. John of Jerusalem Outside the Walls was originally built at the end of the 11th century, making it one of the oldest churches within the present boundaries of Poznań. The church is dedicated to St. John of Jerusalem (John the Baptist), the patron saint of the Knights Hospitallers, to whom the church belonged until 1832 (and to whom it has now been restored).
A church, dedicated to St. Michael, stood on the site near the fork of the roads leading to Śrem and Giecz at the end of the 11th century. According to Jan Długosz, on 6 May 1170 Duke Mieszko III and the bishop of Poznań set up a pilgrims' hospice there. In 1187 the church and hospice were granted to the Order of the Knights Hospitallers. Around the beginning of the 13th century the Order began construction of a new church, which is essentially the building which survives to this day. It was one of the first brick-built churches in Poland. At some point before 1288 the church was re-dedicated to the Order's patron saint, St. John of Jerusalem (John the Baptist), although the older name was still sometimes used as least until 1360. The Order was also granted land to the east and south of the church, now occupied by the Komandoria district and Lake Malta. Both these names are connected with the Hospitallers: komandoria means a commandry of that Order, while the island of Malta was once the Order's home.
Following fire damage in the late 15th century the church was rebuilt in Gothic style. Around 1512 an aisle, a tower and a timber ceiling were added. In 1736 a Baroque chapel was added on the south side. In 1832 the Prussian government abolished the Order, and the church became a parish church. During the Second World War it was used for storage, and it was damaged during the Battle of Poznań in 1945. It was restored in 1948, with attempts to restore the original Romanesque architectural style.
In 1992 the church was returned to the Order of Knights Hospitallers. The Order has opened an ambulatory care centre for cancer patients there.
The church has buttressed walls, two naves and a pitched roof. The tower, only slightly higher than the nave, has an asymmetric roof. The Baroque chapel on the east side has a cupola with a lantern. The oldest, Romanesque, walls are built in Flemish bond. The Romanesque western portal has two columns: that on the left dates from the 11th century, while the right-hand column is a reconstruction. Above the portal is a figure of John the Baptist. On the same wall is a Romaesque rosetta window. An original Romanesque window can also be seen on the eastern wall of the chancel. The church is topped with a Maltese cross. The remains of an old church cemetery can be found within the walls surrounding the church.
Both naves have a stellar vault from the late Gothic period. The chancel has a late Romaesque cruciform vault. The vaults display frescos painted in 1949 by Stanisław Teisseyre. The chancel has a late Gothic triptych made in a local workshop around 1520, and significantly restored after sustaining damage in the Second World War. It shows the sacra conversazione between the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and Saint Stanisław. With the wings closed it shows the matyrdom of St. Stanisław and the beheading of John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. Another altar can be found in the aisle. In its centre is a picture of the mourning of Christ, many times repainted.
In Holy Cross Chapel is a Baroque altar from 1737. In its centre is a crucifix from the mid-17th century, once standing on the road to Śródka, and regarded as miraculous. It is normally covered by a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the sides are figures of John the Baptist and St. Stanisław. Beneath the chapel is a crypt in which two Hospitaller commanders are buried: Michał Stanisław Dąbrowski (died 1740) and Andrzej Marcin Miaskowski (died 1832).
A sandstone font stands in the aisle, dating from 1522. It is decorated with tracery and a picture of the Baptism in the Jordan, made in 1615.References:
The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the Erfurt city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that can be visited on guided tours organised by Erfurt Tourist Office.
The citadel was originally built on the site of a medieval Benedictine Monastery and the earliest parts of the complex date from the 12th century. Erfurt has also been ruled by Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon, the German Empire, the Nazis, and post-World War II Soviet occupying forces, and it was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). All of these regimes used Petersberg Citadel and had an influence on its development. The baroque fortress was in military use until 1963. Since German reunification in 1990, the citadel has undergone significant restoration and it is now open to the public as a historic site.