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Wooden Churches

Beskydy is a mass of mountains that stretches to form an arc on the territory of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia from Moravská Brána (Moravian Gate) to Kurovské sedlo (Kurovské saddle). In the Czech Republic you will find Moravskoslezské (Moravian-Silesian) and Slezské (Silesian) Beskydy, in Slovakia Beskydy mountains are titled Kysucké, Oravské and Nízké Beskydy and in Poland we know nine mountainous blocks named Beskid.

The Beskydy landscape has had the power to enchant people with its picturesque beauty since the time out of mind. The first inhabitants, as the archaeology unveiled, were dwelling here already in the Old Stone Age. They were coming to these places for ages in order to settle here and create a community of people with characteristic culture and folk customs that have been preserved until today. The extensive region of Beskydy has got plenty of forms, ranging from deep forests, steep hills and wild natural sceneries up to urban landscapes of Frenštát, Rožnov pod Radhoštěm or Frýdlant nad Ostravicí.

The first historical mentions about the settlement places in Beskydy are usually associated with the construction of religious objects, chapels and castles. Let?s go and have a look at these picturesque constructions that were left to us by our ancestors. Let?s examine this extraordinary set of churches built by the hands of folk wood carvers and architects from the best available construction material, i.e. wood.

Wooden churches in Beskydy constitute a part of a unique set of sacral folk constructions. This set of wooden churches built in the course of five centuries is with regard to the concentration, variability and good state of preservation of individual constructions considered absolutely unique in Central Europe.

The typology of the Central European wooden churches is associated with bricked churches. Single-aisle type of church is predominant, but exceptionally we can encounter also three aisles (Polish Mogila). When talking about the structures of the churches, the oldest one was probably the palar structure. Another technique was the grooved structure with wooden panelling and mesh.

These techniques are followed by traditional technique of timbering or logging, which survived more or less until today. Another important structure that came to the Central European region from the West was so-called Western frame. Its principle consists in frame structure with panelling inserted to the beam thickness. In 16th century the churches are enriched with a porch along their perimeter that protected the beams of the church walls against rotting and concurrently it also protected parishioners against unfavourable weather. The ceilings of the wooden churches are usually flat, with filler blocks, but we can encounter also characteristic arch imitations (Hervartov, Gůty). Roof timbers were also an important structure. The oldest and the simplest type of roof timberwork is the so-called ridge purlin. A new type of roof timberwork appears in gothic period, i.e. collar beam roof. A new type of roof timberwork called studded timberwork appeared in the 16th and especially in the 17th century, which survived until 19th century. The towers of the wooden churches appear in the 16th century, by that time their function was substituted by individual standing belfries. The towers are not logged and therefore they have a lightweight, static and economical structure that resists well to the wind. Architectonic form responds to the contemporary period-style architecture, though usually with substantial delay. Especially those elements are received that can be easily transformed with carpenter?s tooling into the wooden material.

The typology of portals with medieval churches in Central Europe includes almost all the types known from the bricked architecture (keel arch, saddle portal, canopy arch, lancet arch, rectangular) especially in the neighbouring Poland. The exterior of the wooden churches is very simple and modest. The situation in the interior of the churches is considerably different, as it is the most representative part of the church. The flourishing era of wooden churches was in the 16th and especially in the 17th century thanks to the Protestants. The most complicated churches were born in hands of trained architects and under supervision of relevant lords of the manor. The most progressive features taken over from the period-style architecture appear especially in these churches within the wooden architecture.


Therefore Beskydy mountains are a real fairytale paradise not only for the wood carvers. There is no other place with such concentration of wooden constructions. These wooden religious constructions, churches, chapels and belfries are completely exceptional and today unique constructions. A visit to Beskydy mountains will allow you to see with your own eyes these unique constructions and make yourselves acquainted with the heritage of folk constructors, carpenters, wood carvers and painters, which they left to further generations.

Kostel Povýšení svatého Kříže (St. Cross Elevation Church)

49°55?07,9??,19°09?20,9?? google maps

Site Stara Wieś koło Wi lamowic

History Current appearance of the church is a result of several significant architectonic adjustment that took place in 1787, 1883 and 1926. Apart from that considerable changes were carried out in 1939, 1913, and 1911. The church is situated on an elevated terrain, encircled with trees and a cemetery from the northern side. Together with the neighbouring rectory building from 19th century and wooden building of former rectory school it composes a picturesque architectonical complex. Wooden sanctuary was built in the form of a log object with a tower on columns. It is encircled with chapels with Stations of the Cross. It was restored in 1530, which is disclosed by the inscription read from the triumphal arc of the church: ITA ECCESIA AEDIFICATA IN HONOREM DEI ET BEATE DEI GENITRICIS MARIE ET IN HONOREM SANCTE CRUCIS (This church was built in honour of God and the Mother of God and in honour of Saint Cross). The main altar holds the painting of the Mother of God with St. Catherine and Barbara from the beginning of 16th century that is probably a part of an unpreserved triptych. Worth mentioning is also the Baroque and Rococo mobiliary of the church including portable altars: neo-Baroque on a plate with picture of Rosary Mother of God and Crucified Christ and late Baroque from 1732 with paintings of Holy family and Saint

Jan Kante. The church was unluckily covered with cement asbestos in 1913 and 1939, first the core and then the belfry.

Masses Sunday: 7:00, 7:30, 11:00, 16:00. 16:30

Weekdays: 6:30

Contact Address: 43-330 Wilamowice,
ul. Paderewskiego 9,
tel. (0-prefix-33) 845-73-66,
wikary (0-prefix-33) 845-70-54


Kostel sv. Martina v Ćwiklicích (St. Martin?s Church in Ćwiklice)

49°59?08,2??,18°59?43,2? google maps

Site Ćwiklice

History It is mentioned in 1326, the existing one was built at the turn of 16th and 17th century; rebuilt in 18th century and at the turn of 19th and 20th century; it is of log structure, the tower is framed, presbytery is enclosed with flat wall; there used to be a sacristy at the north (now gallery), the new sacristy is at the south; the framed aisle is of rectangular, almost square shape; at the south part of the aisle there is a later chapel; the interior is now covered with flat ceilings (in presbytery on the wall behind the main altar there are traces after a cradle); the interior was enlarged very recently with an area underneath the tower; and a polychromy from the time of origin of the church was also discovered recently.
The main altar ? late Baroque (18th century); side altars ? late Baroque (18th century); altar in the chapel ? Baroque-Classicist period (end of 18th century), restored in Wrocław (1940); paintings: St. Mary Magdalene (both 18th century), Misericordia Domini (copy of the church of the reformers in Krakow 1st half of 19th century, Mother of God with two saints (folk, 19th century); carvings: statuette of a beggar, probably from 17th century, two statuettes of angels (Baroque, 18th century), two statuettes from 18th century (St. Jan Nepomucký and Karel Boromeus).

Masses Holy Masses on Sundays:
07.30, 10.30, 16.00
Vespers ? 15.30

Holy Masses on weekdays:
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday ? 07.00
Thursday, Friday - 17.30


Kostel sv. Klement w Miedźne (St. Clement?s Church in Miedźna

49°58?51,2??,19°03?02,3?? google maps

Site Miedźna

History It is the biggest wooden sanctuary in Pszczyński district. The mention about it dates back to 1326; in 1628 the church in Miedźna together with the church in Grzawa was visited by protestant Dean of Pszczyńa Johannes Hoffmann. The existing church was built in 17th century; it was extended to the western side in 18th century; the frame of the church walls is made of logs, the tower is cylindrical; the presbytery is enclosed with a simple wall; the aisle ? prolate rectangle; there is a cradle vault in presbytery and flat ceiling in the aisle. The church is encircled with chapels encased with board up to the half height; the chapels have inbuilt entrance doors covered with Baroque caps. Main altar ? late Baroque (1st half of 18th century); two side altars (18th century); in the aisle on the left there is another altar (late Baroque, 18th century); pulpit (18th century); two portable altars: rococo one (19th century) and second one, also from 19t h century. Paintings: Stations of the Cross (18th/19th century), Death of St. Joseph (19th century), King David (1st half of 19th century), St. Hedvika (1st half of 19th century).

Masses Sun ? 7:30, 10:30, 16:00

Mon, Wed, Sat ? 7:00

Thu, Fri ? 17:30

Contact ul. Wiejska 47
43-227 Miedźna
32 / 211-61-23


Kostel sv. Jana Křtitele v Grzawě (John the Baptist?s Church in Grzawa)

49°57?42,8??,19°03?30,1?? google maps

Site Grzawa

History Built probably at the beginning of 16th century; in the period from 1580 to 1651 it was held by protestants; in 1628, the church in Grzawa (together with the church in Miedźna) was visited by protestant Dean of Pszczyńa, priest Johannes Hoffmann. In 1651 the church was regained by Catholics; the church was reconstructed in 1690; it is of log structure, the tower is framed; oak beams are well visible from the outside, on which there is foundation of the church walls; the presbytery is enclosed by a simple wall; the sacristy is of the same length as the presbytery; the aisle is rectangular with almost same length of the sides; the ceilings inside are flat; the church is encircled with chapels from outside opened around the aisle and presbytery, but enclosed around the tower.
The main altar ? last quarter of the 17th century. It was renovated in 1870 by Karol Stankiewicz, painter and gold plater from Kęty; two side altars are from Baroque period (17th century) as well as the organ; pews and the bench for the patron of the church are from Baroque period as well.
Pictures: John the Baptist?s head (1747) painted on plate; Execution of John the Baptist (18th century); Christ Crucified (18th century); Mother of God Częstochowská (folk); Stations of the Cross (1841) signed by Eliasz Lipek; Baroque-folk portable altar with picture of St. Joseph with Baby; on the boards below the organ choir there is a folk painting.


Kostel sv. Kateřiny v Pielgrzymo wicích (St. Catherine?s Church in Pielgrzymowice)

49°53?50,1??,18°39?04,6?? google maps

Site Pielgrzymowice

History Wooden church built in 1675 ? 1680 in the place of former sanctuary (carpenters: A. Werner and B. Duda) using the Church?s money, whereas the wood and the transport was procured by the patron; protocol of 1679 also mentions that the tower is distant from the church (?aliquantum ab ecclesia remota?), later it was annexed to the aisle (protocol of 1688), but is was already old, with the decayed roof (?antiquum cum tecto putrido?); finally a new tower was built in 1746 (Jerzy Dziędzieł with his son Michał and Marcin Smyczek); the death belfry was also annexed later (1746?), because in 1688 id did not exist yet; thanks to the protocol of 1679 we also know the dimensions of the previous church: 28 x 13 ells (17.58 x 8.16 m). Present church was extended in 1908 ? 1911; it is of log type on the brick superstructure. The tower is framed; the presbytery is trilateral and enclosed; the aisle is a prolonged rectangle; chapel is on the left side of the aisle; in the aisle, presbytery and chapel there is a cradle vault, whereas the vault in the aisle is very flattened. There is a protective roof around the church.
The altars are from late Baroque period (18th century); the pulpit is Baroque; the incensory from 1st half of 18th century (Regence style) with municipal emblem of Nysy and IGP sign (probably Ioannes Georgius Pfister).

Masses Holy Masses on Sundays: 7.30; 9.30; 11.00

- Mo, Tue, Wed ? 6:30

- Thu ? 18:00

- Fri, Sat ? 6:30


Contact ul. Karola Miarki 6

43-253 Pielgrzymowice

tel. +48 32 472 30 82




Kostel sv. Ondřeje (St. Andrew?s Church)

49°42?37,3??,19°19?04,7?? google maps

The vaulting of the church was rebuild to semicircular ? quasi-cradle type in the second half of 19th century. The old polychromy was plastered, due to which the church lost its stylistic value. In 1901 the belfry was encased and in 1908 it was covered with shingles, by means of which the capacity of the church was increased. In 1902 ? 1906 with the help of local craftsmen the internal equipment of the church was renovated (main altar and side altars, confessional box) and the substructure of the decaying beams. In 1912 the roof of the church was covered with asbestos cement without consulting it with the conservationists, but shingles were returned to the roof only two years later upon imperative request of the office for the preservation of the historical monuments. In the occasion of coverage, the entrance of the church was completed with a special shelter, creating an ideal place underneath for preaching. Also the wooden floor in the church was repaired, as it had been replaced with ceramic tiles in 1917. The Church of Gilowice has got two oldest bells in the surroundings: Andrew of 1535 and John of 1584. In 1921 the old organ from Rychwałd was replaced with a new one, that were subject to a thorough renovation in the 1970?s. Parish was founded in Gliwice again in 1925 after more than 200 years. The church aisle was extended in 1933, which required the belfry to be shifted by six meters. These activities were taken care of by the carpenters of Gilowice and they were working overnight in order to avoid the curious eyes of the lookers on. The church is located in the centre of the village at the main road. After the construction of the neighbouring church in Rychwałd in 1756 the old wooden church was disassembled and relocated to Gilowice, but without the tower that was good enough only as fire wood. A separately standing tower was annexed later. All the works associated with relocation and assembly of the church were managed by local carpenter Marek Luber. For a period of two centuries the church of Gilowice rema ined Rychwałd curacy without a stable priest.

Masses Saturdays: 18:00
Sundays and feast days: 7:30, 9:00, 11:00, 18:00

Contact34-322 Gilowice
Gilowice 71
tel. +48 33 865 30 10


Farnost sv. Klementa v Zawoji (Parish of St. Clement in Zawoja)

49°39?01,2?,19°33?06,6?? google maps

Site Zawoja

History Construction of Parish church of St. Clement on a so-called Hawk meadow (nowadays Zawoja Centre) was initiated in 1757 ? 1759, but since those times it was many times reconstructed and renewed. The biggest reconstruction, during which the church was also extended, took place in 1980?s and the appearance of the church comes exactly from that time. It is a wooden church encased, the aisle was extended with a characteristic annexed tower. Inside there is an interesting polychromy and wooden alters. Their style is a follow-up to folk Baroque. There is a Baroque baptistery that is also worth seeing.

Masses Holy Masses: Sundays and feast days ? 7.30, 9.00, 11.00, 17.00 (IX-VI), 18.00 (VII-VIII), Weekdays ? 6.30, 7.00, 17.00 (IX-VI), 19.00 (VII-VIII)

Contact Tel. +48 33 877 50 14

Access Accessible by public service bus


Kostel sv. app. Šimona a Judy Tadeáše v Łodygowicích (Church of St. ap. Šimon and Juda Tadeáš in Łodygowice)

49°44?04,6??,19°07?51,2?? google maps

Site Łodygowice

History The existing church was built in 1634 ? 1636 in the place of chapel of St. Bishop Stanislav of 13th century. The sanctuary is built in log structure made of larch wood. Separately standing belfry was annexed to the church in 1644. Presbyterium was enlarged in 1687 and the aisle was extended in 1748 ? 1799 which is the period of construction of side chapel of the Rosary Mother of God and St. Francesco of Assisi. The presbytery adjoins from the eastern side to the Ogrojec chapel with a statue of Solicitous Christ. Tower with a room and dome-shaped cap was annexed in 1797. The church is encircled with enclosed chapels. The roof of the sanctuary is covered with shingles. There are eight altars inside the sanctuary. The main one is in Rococo style, the altar of the Baby Christ and of the Holy Heart of Christ in the neo-gothic style from 1914, the altar of the Mother of God Częstochowská, Rosary Mother of God, St. Joseph and St. Anthony?s altar in Baroque style.

Masses Sunday ? 7.30, 9.30, 11.00, 18.00, (17.00)

Saturday ? 18 00 (17.00)

Contact. Parish of St. Šimon and Juda Tadeáš in Łodygowice
ul. Jana Pawła II 334-325 Łodygowice

telefon: +48 33 863 11 00


Kostel sv. Mikuláše v Łące (St. Nicolas? Church in Łąka)

49°57?24,8?,18°54?42,5?? google maps

Site Łąka

History It is first mentioned in 1449; since 1570 it is in protestant hands; in 1623 the church was visited by protestant preacher of Pszczyńa Johannes Hoffmann, who noted that ?In Łąka there is a well built and nice church with three bells.? The protocol also states that the priest ther was ?Johan La?itius? (elsewhere mentioned as ?Joannes La?itius vel Lasek?); in 1639 the church was regained by Catholics and the existing church was built in 1660 after the fire of the previous one in 1658.
Bricked substructure was made in 1814 by the mason Weint; later on the church was extended. It is of log structure with framed tower standing separately; the interior of the church is plastered; in the aisle there is a ceiling facet, the chapel has a vault, the ceilings in the sacristy, presbytery and gallery are flat; the presbytery has got three enclosed walls; the aisle is rectangular; the chapel is bricked, with stations of the cross (18th -19th century and with Gothic bell in the tower (15th century).

Masses Sunday: 7.00, 9.00, 11.00, 12.15 and 17.00
Weekdays: From Monday to Saturday 6.30; 18.00.

Contact e-mail:

ul. Dygasińskiego 3 43-241 Łąka
tel. +48 32 447-85-60


Kostel sv. Jakuba (St. Jacob?s Church)

49°42?37,0?,18°56?25,5?? google maps

History It was built in 1797 ? 1800; it is of log type with skeleton tower; trilateral enclosed presbytery; rectangular aisle; in 1933 the walls separating the aisle from the tower were removed and replaced with columns. The ceilings inside the church are flat. The death belfry was built in 1820. The equipment of the church is from late Baroque period, it is mostly formed by articles from the Premonstratensian cloister in Nowy Sącz.

Main altar ? with statuettes of the following figures: St. Jacob (in the middle), St. Peter (left side), St. Stanislav Kostka (right side). Left side altar ? Christ?s Heart with plaster statue; right side altar ? with pictures of St. Jan Nepomucký (1st half of the 17th century); late Baroque pulpit with baldachin, underneath with the relief of St. Ambrož with burning heart in the hand; besides the main altar there is a stone baptismal font dating back to 1800; in the tower there is a bell fr om 1691.

Masses Saturdays: 19:00

Sundays and feast days: 6:15, 9:45, 11:45, 20:00

Contact43-370 Szczyrk Kolorowa 1
tel. +48 33 8178429, +48 33 8178505

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