Sacred architecture, churches and monasteries

It is impossible to describe the wealth of the religious architecture of Mazovia. Warsaw itself hosts several dozens of historic churches that represent almost all eras and styles. The oldest gothic temple is St John’s Cathedral in the Old Town, while Virgin Mary Church in New Town is also a fine example of the gothic. The church of the Merciful Virgin Mary in the Old Town was built in baroque style. In the capital you can find some other beautiful baroque monuments, e.g. Dominican’s church in Old Town or beautiful church of Visitation Sisters in Krakowskie Przedmiescie. The Augsburg Lutheran Church is a monument of early classicism, just like St. Alexander’s Church in the Three Crosses Square (Plac Trzech Krzyzy). Some neo-renaissance churches were built in Warsaw in the 18th century, including: St. Anna’s in Wilanow, St. Borromeo in Chlodna street or All Saints Church in Grzybowska. Szmulki in Praga are proud of the Holy Heart of Jesus Basilica from the early 20th century, one of the favorite film locations in Poland, with wide stairs and grand columns. Filmmakers also like the Camaldolese Monastery in Bielany, which is beautifully situated on a slope of Bielanski Forest. In the very heart of Warsaw, in Tamka Street, the greenery hides a 17th-century convent of Daughters of Charity in which the time stopped two hundred years ago. The oldest church in Warsaw today is St. Catharine’s, which used to be far out from town in the past, now a small, building in neo-gothic style beautifully situated on a hill. Praga is graced with St Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church. Until WWII Warsaw had the highestconcentration of Jewish population in Europe. Today there are only three synagogues and the finest monument of them is the Nozyk Family Synagogue in Twarda Street.

You can find beautiful churches and convents in almost any town of Mazovia. One of the most important Polish monuments is 12th century Basilica in Plock, which has been renovated in neo-gothic style in 16th century. The Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary in Gora Kalwaria has a baroque – rococo interior. Assumption of the holy Virgin Mary Parrish Church from 15th century is also interesting, as well as Sigismund in Szydlowiec, which was also built in 15th century in Saxon baroque style. The Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary Church in Czerwinsk upon Vistula (Czerwinsk nad Wisla) was originally built in 11th century and is considered for a valuable example of romanesque architecture, despite being often remodeled and nowadays being more of an eclectic building. Beautiful, not-known churches are hidden in Radom; just to mention few most interesting: 14th century parish church, Little Brothers Monastery, historic orthodox church and grand neo-gothic cathedral of the Holy Virgin Mary. Sieciechow Abbey is a valuable 18th century post-Benedict monastery including a church ornamented with fine frescos, partially ruined monastery and abbot’s palace. Beautiful example of religious art is Parish Church in Solec upon Vistula (Solec nad Wisla), built in 14th century, remodeled during renaissance. Historic Ilza in south Mazovia is also proud of 17th century parish church with rich, baroque interior. Many valuable churches are also located in the area of Sochaczew. The most valuable cult destination is Niepokalanow, which used to be the center of romanesque catholic culture and its most important object was modern Sanctuary of the Immaculate Mother of God.

Wooden churches scattered around entire Mazovia – old orthodox and romanesque catholic churches or chapels, are very interesting shooting locations. Eight objects like that can be found just around one town – Ciechanow, usually located in little towns or villages. Czersk area has 11 wooden churches while Warsaw only six. Each of the churches was constructed in a different style, and astonishes with simple lines and harmony of architecture. The oldest larch church in Mazovia is in Chynow, near Gora Kalwaria, simple outside – surprises with rich interior. One of the most beautiful monuments of the sort is church in Lewiczyn, near Grojec, which is astonishingly effective, both inside and outside.

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