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Article title

Dwa niezrealizowane chóry katedry krakowskiej w pierwszym dwudziestoleciu XIV wieku

Title variants
Two Chancels of the Cracow Cathedral Unaccomplished in the First Two Decades of the 14th Century
Languages of publication
During the archaeological research conducted by Zbigniew Pianowski and Janusz Firlet in the 1980s and 1990s, under the eastern section of the Cracow Cathedral remains of foundation walls were discovered: they were newer than the Romanesque cathedral, yet older than the existing Gothic church. The remains form the shape of two chancels, undoubtedly abandoned at an early construction stage. At the older stage, plans were made to construct of a small polygonally enclosed chancel surrounded by a three-sided ambulatory featuring chapels; such a layout had by then been applied only in the Uppsala, Halberstadt, and possibly Poznań cathedrals, so a model for the Wawel one may be found among the three. However, in the course of the second stage, the design was altered for a more extensive, single-nave chancel closed with a straight wall, perceived as of a non-cathedral type (though applied in Olomouc, Paderborn, or Chełmża), yet widely popular in Central Europe. Its Cracow precedence can be found in the monumental chancel of the Dominican Church. The sources testify to the fact that the Romanesque Cathedral survived until 1306 when it was devoured by a fire. The construction of the current church was launched in 1320. Thus both abovementioned projects must be dated to the short period between the two events. Additionally, Bishop Muskata was in exile during most of that period, while a lot of political turmoil was witnessed in relation to the consolidation of the reign of Władysław I the Short both in Cracow and throughout Poland. It seems, however, that it was the Cracow Duke who initiated the construction of the ambulatory chancel, the project initiated possibly after the suppression of the Cracow burghers’ revolt in 1312. Moreover, it may have been supported by Archbishop Jakub Świnka. The reasons for abandoning the projects remain unknown. The second one was most likely started several years later, possibly only upon the return of Bishop Muskata to Cracow in 1317. The foundations laid at that stage were almost entirely reused during the construction of the chancel preserved in the Cathedral up to this very day.
Physical description
  • Instytut Historii Sztuki Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Kraków
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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