St. Mary’s Church in Torun

The post-Franciscan Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary erected in the second half of the 14th century, is one of the most outstanding artistic and architectural achievements of sacral architecture in Poland. In the 14th century it was the highest hall church in Central Europe with the naves and aisles 26.8 metre (88 feet) high. The church provided inspiration for the extension of St. Johns’ Church in Torun and St. Mary’s Church in Gdansk in the 15th century. According to the Franciscan rule, the church does not have a tower but three rather small ave-bell towers instead.

The church and the cloister remained in Franciscan hands up to the Reformation period, i.e. up to 1559. The cloister, which was the oldest and most significant in the whole of the Teutonic state, was the residence of the Prussian customs. Here during the synod of 1243 a papal bull was announced dividing the Teutonic state into four dioceses. Between 1559 and 1724, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the major church in Toruń. Inside, attention is captured by the slenderness of the church, emphasized by the high narrow windows with the nineteenth-century stained glass designed in the Gothic style, pillars separating the aisles and the interior buttresses in the south aisle, which form a kind of chapels. There is also about 27-meter-high polychrome stellar vault. The surviving elements of the interior furnishings can be divided into three groups. The oldest group, dating from the Franciscan period, include the Gothic polychrome decoration (1380-90) on the interior buttresses of the south aisle, highly valuable and of high artistic standard, depicting monumental figures of Saints against the unreal architectural background; the early fifteenth-century oaken stalls on both sides of the presbytery, richly and intricately carved; the Gothic figure of Christ in the Tomb in the north aisle.

Address: Panny Marii Street

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