Wloclawek (Włocławek, pronounced vwah-swav-ek) is a city in central Poland. It's best known for its many interesting historical monuments, museums, nature parks and clubs. The city’s famous landmarks include:
Copernicus Square, the famous Diocesan Museum with artworks by Guercino, Caravaggio and Dürer, the Gothic Cathedral – one of the oldest (1340) and highest in Poland at 87 meters, Vistula’s Boulevards, the Museum of the Kujawy and Dobrzyn region (tin-glazed pottery and art treasures of Anthony van Dyck or Rembrandt van Rijn) and the Water Dam on the second largest artificial lake in Poland.
Wloclawek is also known as “the city of active holidays”, because there are many possibilities for cycling, pony trekking, walking in the many forests, hunting, fishing and water sports on lakes. Many notable people have lived in Wloclawek, including the great astronomer, Nicolas Copernicus, who studied here at the Cathedral School in 1488-91.
It was here that his affection for astronomy started. Today, we can undoubtedly say that the Da Vinci Code is a myth, but maybe the Copernicus Code is real? If so, some clues could be found in Włocławek, especially on the Sun Watch on the cathedral in Copernicus Square. It's said that Copernicus built the Sun Watch. The history and further information about the Copernicus Code is in 'The Solar Mystery' by Professor Jeremi Wasiutynski.
Also, the chemist and Nobel laureate, Tadeusz Reichstein lived in Wloclawek. As did Jan Nagórski who was the first man to fly over the North Pole.
The city's history stretches over 3,000 years. First the settlement belonged to the Lausitz and, later, the Pomeranian culture. Wloclawek received its own Diocese (bishop) in 1123 and its town rights in 1255. It received its town status in 1255.
During the 14th and 15th centuries the Teutonic Knights captured and destroyed it several times. Over 27 granaries were here and the city was the second best after Gdansk. After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 Wloclawek became part of Prussia and, since 1831 the Russian Empire. Wloclawek was the area of battles during World War I, the Polish-Soviet War in 1920 and World War II. In 1969 a dam was constructed to regulate the water level of the Vistula river, forming the Wloclawek Reservoir.
Wloclawek is also a place of pilgrimage and religious tourism. Destinations include the Cathedral, All Saints Church of Franciscan-Reformers and the Crucifix at the falling stage on the Vistula.
Basilica Cathedral of the St. Mary Assumption Wloclawek
Basilica Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption is a large Gothic building in the Polish city of Wloclawek located near to the Vistula River. Construction on the cathedral began in the 1340's, and it was consecrated in 1411. It was still under construction in the 15th and at the beginning of the 16th century, until its completion in 1526. he cathedral is one of the greatest treasure troves of funerary art in Poland next to the cathedrals in Gniezno, Poznan and Krakow.
Because of its location the cathedral often suffered damage. The waters of the Vistula River, and fires also contributed to its destruction, which finally led to the building of a new cathedral guided by bishop Michal Godziemba (1222-1252). He decided to set up the new cathedral in place of the first cathedral. It's not known for certain when this second cathedral was set up. It was probably a three-aisle building made of stone in the Romanesque style with a wooden ceiling. It lasted until 1329 when the Teutonic Knights destroyed it.
The current cathedral
The history of the cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption begins during the episcopate of Bishop Maciej of Golancz (1323-1364). He was a canon of Wloclawek, Gniezno, Poznan, Plock, Krakow, and Wroclaw. Maciej was the first initiator and the builder of the cathedral.
Teutonic troops captured Wloclawek on 7 May 1329, and destroyed the borough, concentrating in particular on the bishop’s property. The Teutonic Knights forbade restoring the bishop’s town and the cathedral on pain of death.
On 24 August 1330 Maciej of Golancz decided to sign a pact with the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Werner von Orseln, who allowed him to resume public religious activities. To this end, a small church beyond the city arose as a temporary solution. But Maciej Golanczewski still wanted to build a cathedral, and collected funds and created plans to do so. On 25 March 1340 he consecrated the cornerstone to begin building the new cathedral. During the next 25 years, the construction on the walls of the cathedral was ongoing