The interior – even for those who have visited Jawor – is quite a sight. Like Jawor, there are brightly decorated galleries to accommodate the masses, and a number of private boxes for the wealthy. The most impressive is the domed box of the Hochberg family (who had made construction of the church possible), topped with the Hochberg coat of arms. The church’s astonishing altar, added in 1752 to mark the centenary of the emperor granting permission for the church’s construction, is one of the finest in Poland and perhaps the most impressive of all protestant altars anywhere in Europe. It is the work of August Gottfried Hoffmann, a Dresden sculptor who had settled in Świdnica, and its central scene depicts the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan with the Holy Spirit watching from above. Statues of Moses and Aaron flank the scene. The church’s working Baroque organ, installed in 1666, is original. There are a couple of buildings in the church’s grounds that should not be overlooked: the Belfry and the Lutherheim (Luther’s House, originally a school), both built in 1708. If the weather’s good, it’s also worth exploring the grounds to take a look at the tombstones, many of which are intricately engraved.
Around ŚwidnicaŚwidnica, though best known as home to one of the Churches of Peace, is itself well worth a day trip from Wrocław. A fine medieval town that survived the ravages of the 20th century more or less intact, it is in the classic Polish mould, centred on a colourful Rynek. Once in Świdnica it all comes together. The town’s main station, Świdnica Miasto, is just 5mins from the central Rynek (market square), which is dominated by the 16th century Town Hall that sits in the middle. There is also a reasonably helpful Tourist Information Office on the far side of the market square.
Besides the Church of Peace (which is a ten minute walk north of the Rynek) the town’s stand-out sight is the 14th century Sts. Stanisław & Wacław Cathedral, at 103 metres the tallest church in Silesia. Find it on Plac Jana Pawla II, one block east of the Rynek.