Kalisz, Sanctuary of Saint Joseph
Kalisz is a town with the ancient origins which was mentioned by Ptolemy in his in AD 142. According to the many Roman documents Kalisz was an important trade center on the Amber Route.
The town was heavily demaged during the World War I by the Prussian artillery. The historians estimate that Kalisz was Europe’s most devastated city in this war. The present market square is surrounded by the beautifully renovated houses and a town hall which were totally demaged during the bombarding in 1914. Fortunately many buildings has survived, including the Gothic Cathedral of St Nicholas and the Baroque Church of the Assumption. The cathedral built in the 13th century has a beautifully decorated Renaissance ceilings above a high altar with a replica of the painting „Descent from the Cross” by Rubens (the original was lost in the fire of 1973). One of the most interesting is the Polish Chapel decorated with the stained glass made by W. Tetmajer. The Church of the Assumption which is also the Shrine of St Joseph, hides in its interiors many masterpieces of art such as: the Gothic Picture of Our Lady (1424), the Gothic Pieta from the 16th century and the miraculous picture of the Holy Family from 1670 called „St Joseph of Kalisz”. Nearby the church there is a fragment of the medieval defensive walls with the Dorotka Tower. Another interesting place to visit is the neoclassical Theatre of Wojciech Bogusławski from 1922-1936 and the Renaissance Jesuit Church with Napoleon’s obelisk in front of it. It was to commemorate the French soldiers who died in 1813 in the former Bernardine Monastery turned into a hospital. Worth seeing is also the Archeological Reserve in Zawodzie – a reconstruction of the Kalisz stronghold from IX/X century.