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    • Day 9

      Royal Gnieznzo Cathedral

      September 16, 2019 in Poland ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F


      The Royal Gniezno Cathedral (The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert, Polish: Bazylika Archikatedralna Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Marii Panny i św. Wojciecha) is a Brick Gothic cathedral located in the historical city of Gniezno that served as the coronation place for several Polish monarchs and as the seat of Polish church officials continuously for nearly 1000 years. Throughout its long and tragic history, the building stayed mostly intact making it one of the oldest and most precious sacral monuments in Poland.

      The Cathedral is known for its twelfth-century (ca. 1175), two-winged bronze doors decorated with scenes of martyrdom of St. Adalbert of Prague and a silver relic coffin of that saint. The coffin was made by Peter von der Rennen of pure silver in 1662 after the previous one, established in 1623 by King Sigismund III Vasa himself, was robbed by the Swedes in 1655, during the Swedish invasion.

      The temple is one of Poland's national Historical Monuments (Pomnik historii), as designated on September 16, 1994 and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.
      Early history
      The religious temple dates back to the end of the ninth century, when an oratory was built in the shape of a rectangular nave. At the end of the tenth century Duke Mieszko I of Poland built a new temple on a cruciform plan and remodeled the existing nave oratory. In the year 977 Duchess Dąbrówka, the wife of Mieszko I, was buried here. Before the arrival of St. Adalbert of Prague in Gniezno, Prince Bolesław I the Brave, later the first king of Poland, rebuilt the temple according to the plan of a rectangle, elevating it later to the rank of a Cathedral. In the year 999 the funeral of St. Adalbert took place and later also his canonization by Pope Sylvester II.

      In March 1000 Emperor Otto III came to Gniezno to pray at the tomb of now blessed St. Adalbert. He then called the Congress of Gniezno, where Polish Prince Bolesław I the Brave and the Emperor discussed plans to create a joint kingdom of Germany, France, Rome, England and Slavic States. He initiate the creation of the Archdiocese of Gniezno and the first metropolis church in Poland, subordinate only to the pope. The first appointed archbishop was Radzim Gaudenty. In 1018 a fire started in the temple and it took in seven years to repair the structure.

      In the year 1025 Bolesław the Brave was crowned as the first King of Poland in the Gniezno Cathedral. After his death Mieszko II Lambert succeeded to the throne. In 1038 Czech prince Bretislav I surrounded and conducted a siege of the city, destroying and robbing the borough and the precious treasures inside the cathedral. After a few years the temple was rebuilt in the Romanesque style and consecrated in 1064. Twelve years later King Bolesław II the Bold was crowned in Gniezno. At the end of the eleventh century the eastern part of the temple suddenly collapsed.
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