The Kielce Cathedral
The Kielce Cathedral is located in the centre of the region’s capital, particularly famous for its age-old history and artistic craftsmanship. The immense building is located on the St. Virgin Mary’s Square on the Castle Hill in Kielce. Firstly, it had been a small Romanesque collegiate church of the St. Virgin Mary’s Assumption, erected in 1171 by the Cracow bishop Gedeon. It was built on a hill where the old city of Kielce had been located (280 above the sea level).
The building was modeled on a fortress with two watchtowers and is entirely made of dressed stone. A collegiate chapter and a parish (moved from the St. Adalbert’s Church) were established together with the temple. The collegiate was erected in the place of its present central nave. Due to several rebuilding processes (1514-1522): adding of a vestry, a chapter-house, and a chancel, the building lost its initial form. The collegiate church was again rebuilt in the early 17th C. and then, after 1719, when the towers were pulled down and instead a chapel was added. These changes gave it an early-Baroque character of a three-aisle basilica, based on a rectangular plan. The sanctuary was consecrated in 1728 by the Cracow bishop Szaniawski. Between 1807 and 1818 it became a cathedral. It was renovated in the late 19th C. In 1883 it regained the status of a cathedral church. In 1914, after a restoration and another renovation, the church was again consecrated. In 1970, on its 800th anniversary, it has been uplifted to the rank of a minor basilica, which has been commemorated with a memorial board, placed on its western wall. The most recent part of the building is now plastered. A Gothic triptych, depicting the coronation of the Virgin Mary and the figures of St. Stanislaus and St. Adalbert, a galenic relief of the Virgin Mary, and a baroque main altar designed by Fontana – these are the unique symbols characterising the collegiate. The tourists are also allowed to see the cathedral’s treasure-house and the underground tombs of the bishops.