Church of Peace

Top choice in Lower Silesia

This magnificent building, the largest baroque timber church in Europe, was erected between 1656 and 1657 in just 10 months. The builders were not trying to set any records; the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 allowed the Protestants of Silesia to build three churches as long as they took less than a year, had no belfry and used only clay, sand and wood for materials. The churches at Świdnica and Jawor remain; the one at Głogów burned down in 1758.

The Świdnica church is a shingled structure laid out in the form of a cross and contains not a single nail. The interior is a beautiful, peaceful place to sit in contemplation for a few minutes; the timber structure seems to possess an intimate inclusiveness that big stone churches sometimes lack. The baroque decoration, with paintings covering the walls and coffered ceiling, has been preserved intact. Along the walls, two storeys of galleries and several small balconies were installed, allowing some 3500 seated worshippers and 4000 standees. The church was added to Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2001.

The church is 400m northeast of the Rynek; enter via the arched gateway off ul Kościelna.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lower Silesia attractions

1. Rynek

0.31 MILES

The Old Town’s market square contains a bit of every architectural style – from baroque to postwar concrete structures – the cumulative effect of…

2. Old Trades Museum

0.33 MILES

Housed in Świdnica's town hall, this institution contains reconstructions of an old tavern – Świdnica was always famous for its beer – along with a…

3. Town Hall

0.34 MILES

This yellow building dates from the 1710s, though its white tower was built in 2012. The original tower collapsed in 1967; it took over four decades to…

4. Church of SS Stanislaus and Wenceslas

0.37 MILES

East of the Rynek, this massive Gothic stone building has a facade adorned with four elegant 15th-century doorways and an 18m-high window (the stained…

5. National Stallion Depot

8.44 MILES

A five-minute walk east of Książ Castle is the National Stallion Depot, housed in what were once the castle's stables. It offers 45-minute horse riding…

6. Książ Castle

8.75 MILES

This impossibly photogenic castle, the largest in Silesia, commands a thickly wooded prominence in Książ. Following the destruction of an earlier…

7. Ślęża Landscape Park

9.59 MILES

Some 34km southwest of Wrocław, the solitary forested cone of Mt Ślęża rises to 718m above the surrounding open plain. It was one of the holy places of an…

8. Góry Stołowe National Park

27.1 MILES

The Góry Stołowe (goo-ri sto-wo-veh; Table Mountains) are among the most spectacular ranges of the Sudetes, as they’re topped by a plateau punctuated by…