Starting from the hostel, and looking to the right, we see a huge block of St. Mary's Church, closing the street on the east side. The temple is built of clear dolomite of Silesia and until recently had walls as black as coal mined from the Silesian land. A few years ago the walls have been thoroughly cleaned and now the church look like in the years 1862 - 1870, when it was built. It was the first Catholic church in the emerging Katowice. Of course there were churches, for example in Dębie or Bogucice, but at that time these provinces were not yet the part of the Katowice. Let me invite you to the interior of the church. We go through the porch, above which the 71-metre tower is located.
We enter the nave. Noteworthy are the stained glass windows designed by Adam Bunsch, the student of Joseph Mechoffer. On the left northern darker side they represent symbols of bad, sinful behaviour.
On the opposite side of the church, the sunny south side, the Christian virtues are presented. Vivid colors and ornamentation. The contrast light and colours are impressive. Please, pay attention to the series of paintings by Joseph Unierzyski - by the way, he was the son-in-law of Jan Matejko. The series is called 'Cycle of Mary'.
Dear visitor, you say you are an unbeliever, and you do not care about this reflective design? No one forces you to pray. However, you also need the time of silence and reflection. The church interior is a proper place for it. There is an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Would you like to learn more about this temple? Here you have the details about how to get to the parish office:
Roman - Catholic Parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Father Emil Szramek Square 1
Telephone number: (32) 258 77 44 or (32) 253 97 27
Please contact them directly, and probably someone will guide you.
Speaking of the temples that arose almost simultaneously with our city, we cannot forget about the oldest of them all. A short walk brings us to the Warsaw Street, which was called at that time the Friedrichstrasse. It was there, at the corner of the street Schulstraße (now Szkolna Street which literary means School Street), where the first sacred building in Katowice - Evangelical - Lutheran church dedicated to the Resurrection. It was built very quickly, in the years 1856 - 1858. Because of the rapid increase in the number of the faithful, it was expanded in the years 1899 - 1902 and has survived in its original form up to this day.
The valuable stained glass windows in the chancel, which depict the biblical scenes, were founded in the second half of the nineteenth century by the Thiele-Winckler family. The lateral stained glass windows are from the year 1901. Furthermore, other valuable monuments in the church are: the pulpit which retained in its original form and is decorated with the bas-reliefs and the 41-tone Sauer church organ from the year 1922, which we can listen to during the numerous concerts. The altar is from 1949 and was sculpted by Arthur Cieńciały, who comes from Wisła (in English: the Vistula River). The original altar was unfortunately demolished in the period when the building was managed by the Roman Catholic Church in the years 1945 - 1947.
The Lutheran clergy will be happy to guide you in their church. They talk not only about the history of the temple and its equipment but also are willing to respond to questions regarding liturgy, the principles of faith, etc.
Walking tour can be appointed on:
Evangelical-Augsburg Parish in Katowice
Warsaw Street 18
telephone number: 32 253 99 81
In Katowice there was another large religious community, which existed until the year 1939. They were Jews. The history of the synagogue is a reflection of their tragic fate during the Nazi occupation.
I invite you to take a walk. We go through the freshly renovated after many years square and we get to the Mickiewicz Street (formerly August-Schneiderstraße). On the right side there is an eclectic building of the former City Baths built between 1894 - 1895. A little bit further there is a building of Adam Mickiewicz High School, which was built in a similar style in the years 1898 - 1900. However, the wonderful Great Synagogue was built between them in the years 1896-1900. The architecture of these buildings corresponded perfectly with each other (see the photo).
The most characteristic feature of the synagogue was a great dome of the rib structure, located directly above the main prayer room. At the top of it a lantern was placed. Another striking features were the huge windows decorated with the Gothic tracery and pediments crowned with the perpendicular turrets.
Inside the front of the main hall there was a rectangular hall in which were placed the changing rooms, the wedding room and the church office. The wings of the atrium were topped with domes. The main prayer hall could accommodate 1120 people, 670 men and 450 women . Unfortunately, on 9 September 1939 the temple was burned by the Nazis, its ruins were demolished and the bricks from the demolition went to Warsaw after 1945.
The Square Synagogue is today only a small obelisk reminding us that once there was this temple.
Maciej Mastalski, the tourism enthusiast and lecturer at University of the Third Age in Tychy.
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Hostel Mariacka 13,
street Mariacka 13/4a, 40-001 Katowice, Silesia, Poland
Accommodation, rooms, apartment rent in Katowice center.