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.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.