Katowice

Sightseeing

Christ the King Cathedral (Katedra Chrystusa Króla)

Building work began on Zygmunt Gawlik and Franciszek Mączyński's impressive neo-Classical Cathedral on June 5, 1927 with the digging of a symbolic spade of dirt, although it wasn't until October 30, 1955 that it was finally consecrated. A series of minor hiccups including WWII and some typical interference from the post-war communist regime meant that there was no shortage of setbacks for arguably what's the most beautiful building in the city and, somewhat surprisingly, the largest cathedral in Poland. Its first 12 years leading up to the outbreak of the war saw the walls go up and little else, with the end of hostilities heralding a new burst of activity numbering some six years and involving the arrest of the parish priest, the local bishops being thrown out of the diocese and a communist-approved priest brought in to supervise the building's completion. The latter's legacy to the Cathedral was his decision to alter the design of the dome, dropping it by some 38m from its original design and turning what promised to be a truly splendid looking church into something a little more compact and comical. In 1957 the displaced bishops returned, and during the period 1962-65 the interior was adapted to the way it more or less appears today. Although somewhat plain, the interior is truly breathtaking. Of particular interest is St. Barbara's Chapel on the left-hand side of the nave. The patron saint of miners, Gerard Grzywaczyk's sculpture of Barbara overlooks an altar made from coal and a monument to lost miners. Hidden away above the large dome are five bells, of which the largest weighs in at a mammoth 3.5 tonnes. The monument of Pope John Paul II outside commemorates the late church leader's visit to the Cathedral in June 1983, and a new chapel inside was recently consecrated in his name. If you call in advance it's also possible to take a tour with a guide around the Cathedral.

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Open

Open 07:00 - 18:00, Sun 08:00 - 18:00.

No visiting during mass please.

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