Wooden Churches Of Southern Małopolska

The Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list are located in: Binarowa (ca 1500), Blizne (mid-15th century.), Dębno (1335), Haczów (14th/15th century), Lipnica Murowana (end of 15th century) and Sękowa (1520). They were built using the horizontal log technique and represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture.

These old wooden Gothic churches were all located within the historic region of Małopolska in southern and south-eastern Poland and were sponsored by families of nobility as symbols of their prestige.

The horizontal log technique was commonplace in Northern and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages. The wooden church style of the region was Gothic ornament and painted detail and was very different to the style of stone and brick buildings at the time due to the timber construction, structure and form of the churches.

The form of the churches was influenced by the Greco-Catholic and Orthodox presence in the region. They had an extensive spatial structure initially consisting of a rectangular nave and a narrower chancel to the east, usually terminating in a three-sided apse. Chambered towers of post-and-beam construction were added at the west end later on.

The standard of joinery was of the highest quality and the use of advanced joinery solutions allowed for a system of roof trusses binding the log structures of the nave and chancel resulting in tall shingled roofs.

The Wooden Churches Of Southern Małopolska all exhibit diverse techniques and styles of workmanship, rich iconography, outstanding artistic quality and boast valuable décors and fittings.

The oldest church is the 15th century church in Haczów, made of fir-wood and covered with shingles.

The church at Binarowa boasts a very precious wall painting depicting scenes from the New Testament and a carved wood figure of Madonna from the 14th century.

The majority of the wooden churches are located in picturesque mountain valleys and the six trails on the Route of Timber Architecture in the Małopolska region are over 1500km long. They feature 232 timber constructions including 123 Roman Catholic churches, 39 Orthodox churches, 25 rural and small town complexes, and 27 rural architecture museums that comprise 9 skansens and 14 country manors.