Gothic Churches Trail
Gothic style in art and architecture appeared in France in XII century as a direct successor of Romanesque style. Thanks to new constructional solutions it was possible to leave the rules of constructing buildings used until then, and to create figures of a new type. After heavy Romanesque buildings the time had come for soaring and slender constructions of Gothic style.
Three-aisled church dedicated to St. John the Apostle and St. John the Baptist is one of the most beautiful and most interesting of Gdańsk churches. This beautifully renovated temple is located somewhat off the beaten track. For 20 years, as St. John’s Centre, it has been serving not only priests, but also artists. How did it happen? Let us start from the beginning…
In the Middle Ages in the place of contemporary Świętojańska Street there were swamps. Not until they were buried and dried out it was possible to start building works. The church – essential for the expanding circle of the faithful in Gdańsk – was built at the turn of XIV and XV century. Bedding it in the slimy ground had been problematic for centuries. Due to off-sets numerous maintenance and safety works were required.
The greatest cataclysm in the history of the church was, however, World War II, during which numerous architectural elements of the temple were destroyed. The post-war years were not merciful to the church too. Deprived of attendants, the church had been slowly falling into ruin. It was not until the nineties that the building was passed on to the Baltic Sea Cultural Centre that promised to reconstruct the facility providing they will be allowed to use its space for cultural purposes. Today, after profound reconstruction, safety works and adjustment the church to its new functions, it is one of the most beautiful and modern sacral and cultural facilities in Poland.
St. John’s Church had plenty of precious pieces of sacral art. Most of them have survived the war. The most valuable treasure of the temple is its stone main altar (1599-1611) erected by Abraham van den Block.
The church serves as a residence of the Pastoral Work of Creative Environments. Each Sunday and Holy Day at 12:00 p.m. there are masses gathering people of culture and art. Every second Sunday of month at 11:00 a.m. masses in the chapel are celebrated in Kashubian language.
How to access point 7:
Go back along Świętojańska Street to the green square with Świętopełk’s statue. Then turn left and you will see a solid brick building which is our next destination. The entrance is by basilica’s tower.