The Dominican monks were brought to Poland about the year 1260, thanks to Jacek Odrowaz. It is also possible that they came to Lublin at the very same time. At first, they had stayed in St.Nicolas's Church, in Czwartek district, as they did not have their own building for their community. Later on, they moved to the Old Town, where the buildings of a monastery and a wooden Oratory
of the Saint Cross were erected, where the relics of the Holy Cross have been kept since the13th century until recently. According to the monastery's Chronicle 'the place wide and comfortable was given by the King Kazimierz the Great' for the purpose of locating a church and monastery there. The place was at the gate to the town that was surrounded by some ramparts. The Gothic church, made of burnt bricks, was erected about 1342, after the Ruthenian-Tatar invasion, when the whole town was put on fire. The temple was build step by step: first the long, closed rectangular Presbytery, then the main nave and only in the 15th century they built the aisles and covered the interior with ribbed vault. The church itself had three Gothic gables and a high steep roof, covered with tiles. Probably the oldest part of the monastery building, the one with a gorgeous Refectory and close to the church from the south side, was also built in 15th century.
The church suffered a lot during the next fire in 1575: all its furnishings, the gables and vault were ruined. In the following years 11 chapels were added, among which the Firleys'Chapel is an example of the most magnificent late-Renaissance building in the Lublin region (with a splendid tomb stone of the Firley Family), as well as the Tyszkiewiczs' Chapel, built in a Lublin Renaissance style that impresses its visitors so much even these days.
After the reconstruction, however, the Gothic features vanished and the temple became more of a late Renaissance character. Its characteristic gable divided horizontally by some Renaissance cornice, was finished in 17th century. The last conservatory works both for the monastery and the Basilica, were conducted in the years 1854 and 1900. It means that for 105 years no serious renovation was made, only some minor repairs. The temple itself was the place where some significant religious and historical events happened. Here, in the year 1569, the King Sigimuntus Augustus took part in a religious celebration after signing the treaty known as the Lublin Union, thanks to which a union between Poland and Lithuania was established.
Model of the Monastery
Everything started in March 2004 from Wojtek Mazur's idea. He persuaded Wojtek Chagowski and me, Krzysztof Chmiel, to make a model of the Basilica together with the monastery of the Dominican monks. Unfortunately, we had only some drafts of the northern part of the monastery, without the ones concerning the Basilica. The drafts were given to us by the IDEA, Architectural Office from Lublin and they contained the concept of restoration of the monastery. It was a hard job to start making the model- we had to do all the measurements as well as photo documentary of the whole object. The 3D model and the drawing were made by
myself with the use of a computer programme. I also had an eye on the whole project and made the block of the monastery.The project started from making separate parts of the whole building and then both Wojteks did their meticulous and delicate work. Wojtek Mazur made all the windows, doors, cornices and other architectural details that were needed in large numbers; and he did the hardest part of the work. His greatest effort, patience and mastery can be seen in all the towers, both the high and small ones. The forms for all the details were made by the firm S-Model, which also provided us with its equipment and materials. Then Wojtek Chagowski began his work - he served as a "glaze" since he put all the glass panes into window frames. He turned out to be irreplaceable when it came to the final work, such as painting, but the last stage of the project we did together. The system of 12 lights illuminating the model was made by Kazimierz Michalik Making such a huge model we had to bear in mind that it must be strong enough, but at the same time light to carry and portable. The model was taken from Wojtek Mazur's flat and transported to the Dominican Monastery where it has been displayed since then.
scriptwriter: Krzysztof Chmiel
from the left: Krzysztof Chmiel, Wojtek Chagowski,
Father Soperior-Hieronim Kaczmarek, Wojciech Mazur.
author: Krzysztof Chmiel
translation: Joanna Galant