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Churches of Peace in Świdnica and Jawor

Over 400 years old wooden masterpiececes inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the second half of In the 17th century, following the Peace of Westphalia, the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand III Habsburg granted the Silesian Lutherans the right to build their churches – at that time huge and several-storey wooden churches called the Churches of Peace were built – in Jawor, Świdnica and Głogów.

 

“Churches of Peace” arose during the period of rivalry between Catholics and Protestants (which ended with the Thirty Years’ War). In its first stage, the Reformation in Silesia was victorious, gaining the support of Catholic dignitaries, e.g. the bishops of Wrocław. The Wrocław magistrate moved to the side of the reformers in 1523, many priests changed their religion without resistance. However, parishioners did not always follow priests, which meant that the faithful remained on the margins of society, and were deprived of their churches and monasteries.

 

 

The Peace of Westphalia after the Thirty Years’ War brought solutions to build new Protestant churches to solve the problem of the shortage of temples. At that time, three “churches of peace” in Głogów, Jawor and Świdnica were established in Silesia. Other churches – called “churches of grace” – arose after the truce in Altranstadt, which agreed that the Protestants would build another 6 temples for themselves. One of them is located in Jelenia Góra.

 

 

The Evangelical churches constructed in Świdnica and Jawor in the second half of the 17th century are the largest wooden ecclesiastical building in whole Europe (the third church, erected in Głogów, was destructed by the fire in the 18th century). Their richly decorated interiors, with characteristic matronaea, are pearls of Baroque sacred architecture. In 2001 the objects were included into the Unesco World Heritage List.

 

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