"Church of St. Mary" Gdansk Things to Do Tip by mightywease
Gdansk Things to Do: 537 reviews and 1,498 photos
The Church of St Mary is the largest medieval brick built church in Europe and its spires and square tower are a recognizable site on the Gdansk skyline. Begun in 1343 it took 150 years for the church to be completed. Sadly, like much of the Old Town, it suffered a lot of damage during the latter stages of Word War II, the roof was burnt, windows destroyed and the floor ripped up. Many of the treasures from inside the church were, however, saved by being stored in out-laying villages and some, though not all, of these were returned to the church during its post-war reconstruction.
Surrounded by smaller buildings it isn?t easy, externally, to get a sense of how large the building really is, that is better done by viewing the towers and spires from a distance or climbing up the tower itself. Internally the high ceilings and white washed walls make the space self-evident and quite striking. The plainness of the walls forming a suitable backdrop for the ornamental elements contained within the buildings.
The side chapels contain some beautiful pieces of painting and sculpture, particularly the serene Madonna of Gdansk, by an unknown artist, and an especially effecting pieta. In the main body of the church are an impressive carved altar piece, highly decorated pulpit, Astronomical Clock (see seperate tip), a number of wall tablets illustrating such religious themes as Charity and the Ten Commandments and a copy of Hans Memling?s ?The Last Judgement?, the original of which is in the National Museum, Gdansk.
We stayed in an apartment very near to the church and I liked the way it became a part of our daily routine, passing by its walls as we walked to and from the flat, hearing its bells as we were getting ready in the morning. It exerted a presence even before we visited it and, after we had, continued as a kind of comfortable focus to our time in the city.
Entrance to the church is free but a donation of 2 to 4 zl is requested.
Address: ul. Podkramarska 5
Directions: Follow the tower and spires
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