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Frontpage News 2012 Frescoes in the limelight


Polands leading conservators at work

  • The Cathedral in Sandomierz, Poland, is currently being restored. The Cathedral is home to Poland`s largest 15th century Russo-Byzantine frescoes, and several previously unknown frescoes have been uncovered in the restoration process.

    Sandomierz in south-eastern Poland is home to 25 000 inhabitants and was historically known as a city of learning and culture. 12th century chroniclers mention Sandomierz along with Kraków and Warsaw as the biggest towns in Poland. Sandomierz was a ducal seat and a royal residence, and is known for its beautiful old town, which contains more than 120 well-preserved historic buildings.

    One of the historic buildings attracting large number of locals and tourists alike is the nearly 650 years old Cathedral Basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The original Gothic Cathedral was redecorated in the baroque style in the 18th century. The ongoing restoration works focus especially on the 15th century frescoes in the presbytery, said to be the largest ones of their kind still existing in Poland.

    In the course of the restoration process, previously unknown older, gothic frescoes have been discovered. The visible parts of these frescoes will be preserved and exhibited.

    The conservation departments of the Universities of Krakow, Torun and Warsaw established the company which is carrying out the restoration works. Poland`s leading expert in the field, Prof. Zalewski from the University of Krakow, is supervising the restoration.

    The project will also finance new loud speakers, light and security systems, and includes a number of research activities, such as photogrammetric surveys and thermal imaging. The project has attracted considerable interest and has been subject of a series of lectures and study tours.

    Sandomierz is also home to an EEA Grants human resources project run by nongovernmental organisation Caritas. The NGO has been awarded funding to establish a vocational school for young mentally disabled people which will better enable them to enter the labour market and foster their sense of self-respect.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    "Interior Restoration of the Jewel of Early Gothic Architecture - Cathedral Basilica in Sandomierz - Phase One"

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage


    € 3,013,662



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Roman-Catholic Cathedral Parish in Sandomierz

    Project duration:

    38 months

    Project cost:

    € 3,545,485

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    25 April 2008

    The purpose of the Project is the restoration of part of the "Birth of Our Lady" Cathedral Basilica in Sandomierz, with the overall objective of preserving Polish and European religious cultural heritage and attracting tourism to the area. Reference is made to the application dated 14 April 2007 and to any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - Conservation works in the Presbytery, in the Holy Testament Chapel, in the Mansjonarska Vestry, in the Curate's Vestry, and conservation of historic items in the Cathedral, such as some of the historic paintings, furniture and other parts of the interior;

    - Selection of the contractor;

    - Purchase of equipment necessary for conservation and modernization works;

    - Purchase and installation of a security system;

    - Purchase and installation of a loud-speaking system;

    - Research activities (including analytical and historical study of paintings, photogrammetric surveying, thermal imaging, wall surface surveying);

    - Project management, publicity and accounting.

    The Project Promoter is the Roman-Catholic Cathedral Parish in Sandomierz.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage provides at least 10 percent of the estimated eligible Project costs, and that the City Council of Sandomierz provides at least 5 percent of the estimated eligible Project costs.