Photographer's Note

The Cathedral of Wrocław is one of the most precious monuments of the city. Its creation is associated with the date of 1000 when the Congress of Gniezno, along with the foundation of bishopric of Wrocław took place (since 1930, the archbishopric). It was erected on Ostrów Tumski and was dedicated to John the Baptist. Its current appearance is a result of the effort made by the bishops of Wrocław. In the second half of the 12th century, on the site of former buildings, a Romanesque cathedral was raised. In the 13th century Bishop Thomas I erected a Gothic presbytery with an ambit.

Two small steeples were located over the corners of the ambit, and the presbytery is capped with ribbed hexagonal vaulting. In the times of the Bishop Nankier and the Bishop Preczlaw of Pogarell (14th century) the body of the church was raised, together with the lower parts of the western steeples, sacristy and St Mary’s Chapel in Brick Gothic. The side chapels and the upper tier of the northwestern steeple, along with the spire, were constructed in the 15th century. The southwestern steeple was built only to the level of two storeys. In the 16th century, Bishop John V Thurzo funded a new portal in the sacristy, which is considered to be one of the first pieces of Renaissance art in Silesia. During the period of the Counter-Reformation, the interior of the cathedral was more Baroque in style. In the second half of the 19th century, works were conducted which restored the main Gothic style. During the siege of Wrocław in 1945, the cathedral was severely damaged. Reconstruction conducted within 50 years after the war caused some controversy due to the the Postmodern spires styled after the Gothic ones.

The cathedral is made of brick, it has three naves arranged in the scheme of a basilica, and a rectangular ambit. The central nave along with the presbytery is 68 m long, 8 m wide and 22.7m high. The spires are 91 m high, which makes them the highest spires in the city. The central nave is capped with reconstructed Baroque cross vaulting. Over the presbytery, one can find a hexagonal vaulting, while the aisles and ambit have cross-rib vaulting. In the presbytery one can see the late Gothic triptych of the Dormition of the Virgin from 1522, made in Lubin. Above it a sculpture of the Madonna is placed; the figures of Saint Hedwig, Saint Christopher and Saint John the Baptist are featured on the sides. The stained-glass windows depict the patron saints of the cathedral; Saint John the Baptist, Saint Vincent and the patron of the Piast dynasty - Saint Bartholomew. The Baroque pulpit is emblazoned with bas-reliefs in alabaster. Impressive tombstones and epitaphs from the 14th to the 17th centuries are also worth seeing.

The cathedral has twenty chapels. The most glorious are the gothic Chapel of Saint Mary, and the two baroque Chapels of Saint Elisabeth and Corpus Christi, known also as the Electoral Chapel. The tombstones of Preczlaw and Bishop Roth (sculpted by Peter Vischer) are also located in the church. In the Baroque chapels one can find pieces of art by the most accomplished artists from Rome (a bust of the Cardinal Friedrich von Hesse) Prague or Vienna (J. B. Fischer von Erlach, F. M. Brokof).
The cathedral has four bells. A pipe organ with 151 voices is located in the choir.

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Additional Photos by Barbara Stec (Sonata11) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2763 W: 59 N: 2914] (34075)
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