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Cistercian Monastery in Wąchock

Practical Information

  • Detailed InformationZwińRozwiń
    • Object type:
      Religious monuments
    • County:
    • Community:
    • Address:
      Wąchock , ul. Kościelna 14
    • Postal Code:
    • Latitude:
    • Longitude:
    • Tourist region:
      Starachowice Region
    • Monday:
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    • price:
      Full 10 PLN, half 5 PLN
  • Description

    Wąchock  upon the Kamienna River is located 5 kilometers from the town of Starachowice. Pride of the place is Poland"s best-preserved Romanesque monastic church devoted to the Holy Virgin Mary and St Florian.

    The monastery was delegated by the Abbey of Morimond in Burgundy, France. The abbey was probably founded by the Cracovian bishop Gedko of the Grifit family in 1179. In the early 13th century, the Cracovian bishop Iwo Ordowąż brought an Italian construction workshop of master Simon to Wąchock. The builders started to raise a three-nave basilica with transept and side-chapels in the presbytery. At the same time, they began the construction of the square monastery building around the cloister garth.

    A rule of the greatest possible simplicity was an obligation in the construction of Cistercian buildings. The church was are made of gray and reddish-brown stone blocks alternately laid to form striped surface.

    The monks painstakingly restored the monastery after two Mongol raids. The church acquired Gothic appearance in the 15th century, and a century later an abbatial palace was erected next to it. In the 1640s, the monastery was remodeled in Baroque style. Two corner towers were added to the western wing as well as a tall one in the middle of it. Today it serves as a belfry.

    In 1656, the army of prince George II Rákóczi of Transylvania turned the town and its environs into ruin. The monastery lost its treasury, precious objects and rich archives. The tzarist authorities disbanded the order in 1818. The Cistercians returned to Wąchock in 1951, and the restoration of the precious monument of architecture was undertaken by the order and the state administration.

    The Cistercians supported military efforts of the January Uprising (1863-64) insurgents under generals Marian Langiewicz and Dionizy Czachowski by offering them shelter in the monastery premises. They also  rendered aid to the partisans of Hubal, Ponury and Nurta during World War II. Major Jan Piwnik alias Ponury was buried in Wąchock in 1988. His remains were successfully brought home from Lithuania after a long period of fruitless endeavors. The celebrations turned into an important patriotic manifestation. In 1991, a national memory room was opened in the monastery premises, and four years later the Pantheon for Commemoration of the Polish Underground State 1939-45 was created.

    A unique collection of mementos from the times of national uprisings was the basis for the creation of the Cistercian Museum located next to the monastery gate.

    The church in Wąchock is a three-nave basilica with transept and presbytery with identical side chapels imitating the Tuscanian architecture style. Its naves are topped with cross-ribbed vaults. Many elements of the former monastery are well-preserved. For example, in the eastern wing, there is an armarium (small monastic library for current use), chapter house, common working room, dormitory on the upper level, and refectory decorated with sumptuous Romanesque stone-works in the wing. The chapter house with cross-ribbed vaults supported by four pillars with richly ornamented capitals is considered the most beautiful Romanesque interior in Poland.


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    • 21.013326644897
    • 51.074355878491
    • Wąchock, ul. Kościelna 14
    • Cistercian Monastery in Wąchock