Gniezno Cathedral

Gniezno, Poland

The Royal Gniezno Cathedral served as the coronation place for several Polish monarchs and as the seat of Polish church officials continuously for nearly 1000 years. Throughout its long and tragic history, the building stayed mostly intact making it one of the oldest and most precious sacral monuments in Poland.

The cathedral played an outstanding role in the history of Poland, serving as the stronghold capital of the first Piasts, and as the starting point for Bishop Adalbert’s Christianising mission to Prussia in 997. It was here that the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III came in pilgrimage in the year 1000 to visit St Adalbert’s grave, and here that in 1025 the coronation of Boleslaus I the Brave took place (and later that of his successors - Mieszko II and Boleslaus II the Bold). In 1018 part of the stronghold settlement and cathedral were destroyed by fire, and a new church was built to replace the pre-Romanesque one at the decree of Boleslaus I. This three-aisled cathedral basilica featured two towers, though little of it survives. It was damaged in 1038 during a raid on Poland by Bretislaus, Duke of Bohemia, and in 1331, when attacked by the Teutonic Knights.

Relict remains of these earlier buildings are concealed within the walls of the present Gothic cathedral, which was built around the mid-14th century thanks to Archbishop Jarosław Bogoria Skotnicki. The first stage of this project saw the construction of a chancel with an ambulatory and a series of radiating chapels around it. In later years (up to 1512) the nave and towers were built. Further restructuring obscured the cathedral’s Gothic form, which was ultimately restored in the 1950s. Chapels which were built or partially remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries to make burial chapels for bishops and canons, are sealed off by wrought-iron screens (14th-18th century) set in Baroque portals made of dark and pale marble.

The most famous works of art in the cathedral are the Gniezno Doors and the coffin containing the relics of St Adalbert. The Gniezno Doors, fitted in the Gothic portal of the south entrance, represent one of the finest examples of Romanesque metalwork in Europe. The pair of doors, cast in bronze in c. 1170, are of uneven size and, interestingly, one of them was cast in one piece whilst the other is made up of 24 sections soldered together. The surface of each door is divided into nine low relief panels depicting scenes from the life and death of St Adalbert. 

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Address

Tumska 8, Gniezno, Poland
See all sites in Gniezno

Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Poland

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paweł B. (13 months ago)
You must see the portal and underground
Kaya Bingham (13 months ago)
The guide tour might be confusing, but the place worth to dedicate your time to. The church is in service so you need to plan your visit between the masses, wedding and other events. Do climb the stairs!
Matthew McConnell (13 months ago)
A must see if you go to gniezno, there are many different pieces of history to see here. Going for the full package was a good decision as getting the audiobook led to hours of information to listen to at whatever pace you would like to.
MD AL EMRAN (14 months ago)
Worth to visit as well as Gniezno city itself. Interesting attraction history wise. Recommend.
S LEG (21 months ago)
Worth to visit as well as Gniezno city itself. Interesting attraction history wise. Recommend.
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