The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
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The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

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.

Contact:

Parafia Katedralna

pl. Katedralny 18, 50-329 Wrocław

tel.: 071 322 25 74

www.archidiecezja.wroc.pl

e-mail: katedra@archidiecezja.wroc.pl

How to get there:

The Cathedral is located in Ostrów Tumski, in the centre of Wrocław.

Visiting:

Cathedral can be visited daily, with the exception of the hours of services.

Masses: on Sundays and holidays : 7.00 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 10.00 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 1 p.m., 4.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., and on workdays: 6.30 a.m., 7.00 a.m., 8.00 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 6.30 p.m.. Every Thursday there is an 8.00 a.m. mass in the Chapel of Corpus Christi. There is a church fair on 24 June.

During summertime, on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the lift to the observation deck on the steeple is available for tourists. Tickets: adults – 4zł, concessions – 3zł.

Fixed and regular events:

Connected with the liturgical year.

Car parking:

On the Katedralny square.

Gallery

Places to eat:

The closest cafés and restaurants are situated in the nearby hotels. Due to the fact that the site is located near the city centre one can easily choose from many eating places in the vicinity.

Accommodation:

Wrocław offers many accommodation services, the closest ones are:

Dom Jana Pawła II

ul. św. Idziego 2, Wrocław

tel/fax: 71 327 14 00

www.hotel-jp2.pl

A contact form is available on the website.

Hotel Tumski

ul. Wyspa Słodowa 10, 50-266 Wrocław

tel.: 71 322-60-88 / 99, fax: 71 322-61-13

www.hotel-tumski.com.pl

email: hotel@hotel-tumski.com.pl

Hotel HP Park Plaza‎

Ul. Bolesława Drobnera 11/13, 50-257 Wrocław

tel. 71 320-84-00

www.parkplaza.pl

A contact form is available on the website.

Tourist Information Office:

Centrum Informacji Turystycznej i Kulturalnej

Rynek 14, 50-107 Wrocław

Opening hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

tel. 71 344-31-11

mobile 663-888-725

www.wroclaw-info.pl­

e-mail: info@itwroclaw.pl

Dolnośląska Informacja Turystyczna

Sukiennice 12, 50-107 Wrocław

tel. 71 342-01-85

www.itwroclaw.pl

e-mail: wroclaw-info@itwroclaw.pl

Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.