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Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska

Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska

The wooden churches of southern Little Poland represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture. Built using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe since the Middle Ages, these churches were sponsored by noble families and became status symbols. They offered an alternative to the stone structures erected in urban centres.

Églises en bois du sud de Małopolska

Les églises en bois du sud de la Petite Pologne représentent des exemples exceptionnels des différents aspects des traditions de construction des églises médiévales dans la culture catholique romaine. Utilisant la technique des rondins de bois disposés horizontalement, répandue en Europe du Nord et de l’Est depuis le Moyen Âge, ces églises étaient construites par les familles nobles et devinrent également un signe de prestige. Elles offraient une solution de rechange intéressante aux constructions de maçonnerie pratiquées dans les centres urbains.

الكنائس الخشبية في جنوب بولندا الصغيرة

تشكل الكنائس الخشبية في جنوب بولندا الصغيرة الامثلة البارزة للمظاهر المختلفة لتقاليد بناء الكنائس القروسطية في الثقافة الكاثوليكية الرومانية. وتم استعمال تقنية الحطبات المدوّرة الخشبية الموضوعة بشكل أفقي والتي كانت شائعة في أوروبا الشمالية والشرقية منذ القرون الوسطى. فهذه الكنائس شيّدتها العائلات النبيلة وأصبحت ايضًا علامة للفخامة. كما توفر حلاً ذكيًا لتحول عملية تشييد المباني الممارسة في المراكز المدنيّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

南部小波兰木制教堂

南部小波兰木质教堂反映了中世纪教堂建筑的不同侧面,是罗马天主教传统文化的典型代表。建筑手法采用水平伐木技术,这种技术自中世纪时就在北欧和东欧盛行。这类教堂由贵族家庭赞助修建,后来成为地位的象征。对于石质结构来说,这种木制建筑物构成了市中心的另一建筑特征。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Деревянные церкви на юге Малой Польши

Деревянные церкви на юге Малой Польши – яркая иллюстрация того, что в средневековом церковном строительстве в римско-католической культуре могли проявляться самые различные тенденции. Построенные с использованием методов горизонтальной укладки бревен, характерных для Восточной и Северной Европы со Средних веков, эти церкви были заказаны знатными родами и приобрели символическое значение. Они составили альтернативу каменным сооружениям, возводимым в городах.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Iglesias de madera del sur de Małopolska

Estas iglesias son ejemplos excepcionales de los diversos medios tradicionalmente utilizados para la construcción de los lugares de culto católicos romanos en la Edad Media. Para edificarlas se utilizó una técnica muy extendida en Europa Septentrional y Oriental desde los tiempos medievales, que consiste en la colocación horizontal de cilindros de madera. La construcción de estos templos era costeada por familias nobles y llegaron a convertirse en un símbolo de prestigio social. Desde el punto de vista arquitectónico ofrecieron una alternativa interesante a las construcciones realizadas con materiales de albañilería en los centros urbanos.

source: UNESCO/ERI

南部小ポーランドの木造教会群 

source: NFUAJ

Houten kerken van zuidelijk Klein Polen

De houten kerken van zuidelijk Klein Polen zijn goede voorbeelden van de verschillende middeleeuwse kerkbouwtradities in de rooms-katholieke cultuur. De kerken werden gebouwd met behulp van de horizontale stam techniek, sinds de middeleeuwen gebruikelijk in Oost en Noord-Europa. Adellijke families sponsorden de bouw van de kerken, waardoor het statussymbolen werden. De houten kerken boden een alternatief voor de stenen bouwwerken in de stedelijke centra. De houten kerken van zuidelijk Klein Polen zijn van bijzonder belang geweest in de ontwikkeling van de Poolse houten architectuur. Ze waren niet alleen een essentieel onderdeel van een nederzetting, het waren ook oriëntatiepunten en ideologische symbolen.

Source: unesco.nl

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Wooden Churches of Southern Malopolska © Our Place
Justification for Inscription

Criterion (iii): The wooden churches of Little Poland bear important testimony to medieval church building traditions, as these related to the liturgical and cult functions of the Roman Catholic Church in a relatively closed region in central Europe.

Criterion (iv): The churches are the most representative examples of surviving Gothic churches built in horizontal log technique, particularly impressive in their artistic and technical execution, and sponsored by noble families and rulers as symbols of social and political prestige.

Long Description

The wooden churches of southern Little Poland bear exceptional testimony to the tradition of church building from the Middle Ages. They have also been preserved in the context of the vernacular village and landscape setting, and related to the liturgical and cult functions of the Roman Catholic Church in a relatively closed region in central Europe. They are exceptionally well-preserved and representative examples of the medieval Gothic church, built using the horizontal log technique, particularly impressive in their artistic and technical execution, and sponsored by noble families and rulers as symbols of prestige.

The history of Poland goes back to the unification of the Christian lands and the constitution of the kingdom in the 10th and 11th centuries. Churches have been of particular significance in the development of Polish wooden architecture, and an essential element of settlement structures, both as landmarks and as ideological symbols. They were an outward sign of the cultural identity of communities, reflecting the artistic and social aspirations of their patrons and creators. The nine sites in southern Little Poland represent different aspects of these developments.

The Church of the Archangel Michael (Binarowa) was built around 1500, with a roof of zaskrzynienia type. [CL - explain term?]In 1595 a tower was added to the west end, and at the beginning of the 17th century the church was enclosed by an external arcade. Window openings were enlarged and new polychrome decoration replaced the earlier stencilled work. The Church of All Saints (Blizne) has a rich painted decoration: the remarkable Last Judgement scene is from this period. In the early 18th century there were changes to interior decorations and furniture. Near the church, there is a group of buildings of the presbytery. The Church of the Archangel Michael (Debno) is first mentioned in 1335. The present building, the second on the site, dates from the late 15th century. This church has a unique example of medieval decorations. The ceiling and the interior walls are painted using stencils from the 15th and 16th centuries. The decoration contains more than 77 motifs: architectural recalling Gothic forms, animal, human and religious.

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael (Haczow) has original Gothic polychrome decoration from the late 15th century, although the building has been dated to the previous century. At the beginning of the 17th century the church was enclosed by an earthen defensive rampart. The Church of St Peter and St Paul was built in 1789 from a donation. The furniture was designed in Baroque style but was substantially altered in 1836. In 1846 the Stations of the Cross were installed in the external arcade. There were more renovations later, but the form and decorations have been kept. The Church of St Leonard (Lipnica Murowana) was built at the end of the 15th century. From this date have survived parts of the polychrome decoration stencilled on the ceiling of the nave. The church was situated outside the defensive wall of the township and had the function of a cemetery church, a function that it still fulfils. It has been renovated many times, but this has not significantly affected its form or spatial arrangement

The Church of St John the Baptist was originally connected with the re-Catholicization of the region by the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand III. The construction of this church began in 1651. It was renovated in 1816-19 and the tower was remodelled in 1901. In 1926-27 the chapel was covered with a cupola, which was removed in 1935 and rebuilt as it had been earlier. The Church of St Philip and St James the Apostles (Sekowa) is an auxiliary church, built around 1520, on the site of an earlier church. The building has a square plan with no aisles; the chancel has a three-sided east end and the building is covered with a high roof. The Church of Archangel Michael of Szalowa was built in 1736-56. The vestibules in the facade are later additions. This church differs from the others because of its architectural form, although it was still built using the same technique as the rest. The church has a nave and two aisles, and it is built in basilica form. The extremely rich Baroque-Rococo polychrome decoration and fittings date from the 18th century.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The history of Poland goes back to the unification of the Christian lands and the constitution of the kingdom in the 10th and 11th centuries. Marked by important progress and the foundation of dozens of new cities in the 14th century, Poland's most impressive development is from the end of the 15th to the 18th centuries, when it was united with Lithuania and formed an empire ranging across the whole of central Europe. It is against this background that one can also see the development of wooden architecture in southern Poland, where it has been an inseparable element of the cultural landscape.

Churches have been of particular significance in the development of Polish wooden architecture, and an essential element of settlement structures, both as landmarks and as ideological symbols. They were an outward sign of the cultural identity of communities, reflecting the artistic and social aspirations of their patrons and creators. In early Poland, churches were elite buildings of exceptional significance due to the importance of their patrons, who were usually monarchs, Church officials, monasteries, and finally knights (later aristocrats). Church building was not the work of folk carpenters, except much later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, in a period of increasing social and cultural differentiation.

The oldest well preserved Roman Catholic wooden churches date back to the 15th century. They demonstrate the participation of professional craft workshops belonging to guilds and builders' lodges, sometimes employing both carpenters and masons. These churches are complex, of good craftsmanship, and free from improvisation in their construction. The few well preserved late medieval churches have many features in common. The typical church building was composed of a nave, almost square in plan with a narrow chancel, and generally with a three-sided east end. The churches were orientated with their altars to the east. Originally, the churches were built without towers, which were added later. There were various architectural developments, such as roof structures, in succeeding centuries, and some of the solutions are unique in Europe. The Gothic character of medieval churches was emphasized by simple stylistic details, such as the shape of door and window openings, arcades, and arches. Until the second quarter of the 16th century there was a common plan for the churches.

The internal fittings were in the style of the period, produced in guild workshops, and the themes and presentations followed rigorous ideological and iconographic rules. New architectural elements, such as towers and arcades, started appearing in the late 16th century, and strict adherence to the old church type was gradually abandoned. From the beginning of the 18th century there was a tendency to exceed the limitations of the traditional model, a symptom of institutional and social changes, and architects or skilled dilettantes attempted to apply to wood Baroque concepts developed in brick architecture. This is an interesting chapter in the history of the wooden sacral architecture, represented in basilica- and aisled-hall churches, sometimes with cupola-covered chapels or cruciform buildings with a central plan, facades with two towers and elaborate interiors with spiral columns, cornices, all executed in wood in ‘imitation' of brick architecture. Later styles, such as late Baroque, the Regency, and Rococo, also had an impact and mural decoration is used in illusionist compositions to increase the impression of interior spaciousness. In the 19th century there were revivals, and wooden churches were built with classicist or neo-Gothic features but mostly in details and interiors. The beginning of the 20th century was marked by an interest in the beauty of folk art and the ‘rediscovery' of a ‘national' architecture.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation