When we were in Poland last year in June, one of the "must see" locations on my list was this one… I’ve seen so many beautiful stuff from this place online; Loads of images, a nicely shot time-lapse video ( http://vimeo.com/16414140 ), a 360-degree virtual panorama ( http://www.360cities.net/image/church-in-zeliszow-poland-2 ) and some more, that we decided it was time for us to see this one with our own eyes.
Unfortunately, when we were there, the church was inaccessible.. All holes in the wall were properly closed again (with proper bricks and cement) and there was simply no way to enter, without breaking anything..
So, we decided we had no other option than come back later and hope for a bit of luck.
(The reason they closed the holes in the wall was thanks to a TV documentary that featured this place and it became almost a tourist attraction. Since the building is in bad shape and it can collapse, they decided to brick it up completely..)
So when we went back in Oct. we did a re-visit and were able to visit this awesome location..
Let me first start with a bit of the history;
This classic protestant church was build between 1796 – 1797 and was designed by Carl Langhans Gottard, who, amongst other things, designed the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
The outside of the church is nothing spectacular, but the inside must have been simply amazing; A beautiful alter, white floors, a huge organ, a wooden baptismal font in the middle of the church with a enormous crystal chandelier above it and two huge oval/egg shaped balconies.
The church once offered seats to more or less 400 people.
Next to the church you’ll find a small cemetery…
Since 1945 this church hasn’t been used anymore for services or church like activities, due to a couple of reasons;
First and foremost, when this church was build, the ground it was standing on belonged to Germany and the people living there were mainly protestant.
When the 2nd world war ended, this area was given back to Poland and the Polish people who started living in this area were mostly catholic.
Now, due to the different religion and the recent experiences with the Germans, they rather not used any of the German churches to pray in and so they build their own and used this one for other purposes.
Also, when the first Polish people moved back to this area, they were poor and weren’t in need of a protestant church and so it didn’t take long before the first graves were opened, looking for anything of value; Skulls with gold teeth, coins, rings, jewelry and so on. The same happened to the church and eventually everything of value was stolen or destroyed…
A little later the church has been repurposed as a place to keep the sheep warm and nowadays it’s not much more than a complete ruin.
Due to the fact that nobody cared to maintain the building, it simply started to fall apart and right now it’s in a shape almost beyond repair. (The tower is completely missing, the floors are gone and the roof contains more holes that actual tiles..)
The estimated costs to repair the holes in the roof is more or less a million euro and since nobody is willing to pay this, it’s unlikely the church will ever be restored to it’s former glory.
To show the beauty of this place, here are a few pics of the church, dated 1926;
Ok, that’s it for the history, let’s move on to the current state;
Thnx for looking!!