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:
Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years.
The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, of which the only remaining parts are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes, on the north side), and the Giralda (formerly the minaret, now the belltower).
Shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into the city's cathedral. Its orientation was changed and its spaces partitioned and adorned to suit Christian worship practices. The internal space was gradually divided into chapels by constructing walls in the bays along the northern and southern walls. Almost the entire eastern half of the cathedral was occupied by the royal chapel that would hold the bodies of Ferdinand, his wife and Alfonso the Wise.
In 1401, city leaders decided to build a new cathedral to replace the grand mosque that served as the cathedral until then. Construction continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish offered half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and labourers and other expenses. Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the crossing lantern, or cimborrio, collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The crossing again collapsed in 1888 due an earthquake, and work on the dome continued until at least 1903.
The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 metres. In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.
The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), dominated by a vast Gothic retablo (altarpiece) comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, as well as Santa Maria de la Sede, the cathedral's patron saint. The lifetime's work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.
The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 105 m. The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance.
The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the main attractions of the cathedral for visitors, housing the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from the 1892, with four bearers presenting the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.