The oldest wooden church in Poland is Haczów Church of the Assumption of Holy Mary and St. Michael’s Archangel. This beautiful structure most likely was built in 1388.
Name in Polish
Year of construction
Branch of Christianity
UNESCO World Heritage status
Map of the site
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Haczów was first mentioned in written sources in 1352 when there was established a settlement. The name of the village originates from the substitution of "Hanshoff" – court of Hans. Initially here lived many Germans.
The small village next to Wisłok stream did not grow into a town, but nevertheless, it has persisted as a lively village up to this day.
Soon after the establishment of the village here was built large church from locally available material: wood. Most likely date of its construction – 1388.
This was a quite large building for its time – Haczów Church is the largest Gothic wooden church in Europe up to this day. The church was constructed in the time of Gothic style and its adornment follows the rules of this style.
Next to the church was located the traditional medieval churchyard. Archaeological research shows that people were here buried already in the late 14th century and the early 15th century, burials continued up to the closure of the graveyard in 1772.
Initially the church did not have tower. Large, 25 m tall tower in Baroque style was built in 1624, when some more modifications were done. In 1784 – 1789 church got some more additions.
Before the World War II there was built a new church next to the old one and since 1948 services are held in the new church.
Extensive repairs of the old church were done in 1999 – 2000, shingles were changed in 2006, when the dark church turned into light, cheerful building.
During the restoration works in 1956 an important discovery was made – there were found old, polychrome paintings under the layers of later paint. This discovery "extended" the history of the church – earlier it was thought that the Gothic church was burned by Tatars in the time period between 1624 and 1629 and the current church was built afterward.
Paintings were done in 1494 and now represent the largest collection of paintings from the 15th century in Poland.
These old paintings were covered with the next layer of paint in 1864.
There are other valuable details in the church as well – such as Baroque altar from the late 17th century, other Gothic sculptures from the 15th century, Gothic portals with fine iron fittings of the doors. In the new church has been relocated a special value of Haczów – wooden sculpture of Pietà from 1400. According to legends it was brought by waters of Wisłok stream to the village and is now providing divine protection to village.
Since ancient times human talents and skills have been expressed in religious architecture and arts, and traditions and rituals have evolved around pilgrimage sites. Religious buildings represent a major part of the highest achievements in architecture and crafts.
The treasure of Poland is its architectonic heritage. In spite of terrible wars Poles have persisted and Poland together with its heritage has been reborn as a phoenix rising from the ashes. Most guests would be amazed to learn how many beautiful historical buildings are exact replicas, which were rebuilt in times when life in Poland was not that easy.
Throughout the millennia Christian churches have been the epitome of architecture and arts achievements in Western culture.
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