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Frontpage News 2012 Krakow`s Jesuit Pearls


Restoring Krakow's Jesuit Pearls

  • Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway take part in preserving some of Krakow's architectural gems for coming generations.

    Under the EEA and Norway Grants €2 million worth of renovation works have been carried out on St. Barbara`s Church, among Krakow's most beautiful churches, the Jesuit Parish Home at Maly Rynek and the Basilica Church of the Holiest Heart of Jesus.

    These 3 buildings are owned by the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, a religious order with long traditions in Poland. The first Jesuits arrived in Poland in 1579. After the disbanding of the Jesuit Society in 1773, the Church and the Parish Home were taken over by the National Commission of Education, remaining in the Commission's service until 1874 and 1908, when the properties were handed back to the Jesuits.

    The Basilica of the Holiest Heart of Jesus was constructed between 1909 and 1912 as part of the Jesuits College (the present-day Ignatianum Jesuit University of Philosophy and Education), and is a unique example of early 20th century architecture. Renovation works have been carried out on the roof, and the pipe organ of the church has been restored.

    Gothic and Baroque architecture
    St. Barbara's Church combines Gothic and Baroque architecture – gothic on the exterior, baroque in the interior. This style is known as the Jesuit style. Built between 1338 and 1402, St. Barbara's Church is situated right next to St. Mary's Basilica, one of Krakow's main tourist attractions. Legend has it that St. Barbara's Church was erected voluntarily by workers building St. Mary's Basilica, as a gift of thankfulness, using bricks and other materials remaining from the construction of St. Mary's Basilica.

    Restoration works on St. Barbara's Church began in 2001, but as the Jesuits are dependent on donations and small grants, progress has been slow. The support from the EEA Grants brought forward the necessary financing to complete the renovation of the roof and the façade, as well as paving of the cloister, renovation of the indoor artwork and furnishings, and restoration of the pipe organs. Situated next to St. Barbara's Church is the Jesuit Parish House. The EEA Grants have been applied here to reconstruct the roof of the building and replace the roof covering.

    Several comprehensive cultural heritage preservation are located within a stone's throw from one another in Krakow. St. Barbara's Church and the Jesuit Parish Home are both located on Maly Rynek in Krakow's UNESCO-listed old town. Maly Rynek is a small square adjoining the Rynek Glówny, where the International Cultural Centre and the 13th century Sukiennice or Cloth Hall, one of Krakow's chief landmarks, are to be found. Both of these properties have been restored with support from the EEA and Norway Grants.

    Photo: Karina Karpinska, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Warsaw.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    “Jesuit Pearls of the South – Conservation of the European Cultural Heritage”

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage


    € 2,004,518



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual project

    Project promoter:

    Towarzystwo Jezusowe. Prowincja Polski Poludniowej (Society of Jesus, the South Poland Province)

    Type of institution:


    Project website:

    Project duration:

    36 months

    Project cost:

    € 2,358,256

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    23 February 2007

    The purpose of the Project is to preserve and prevent the further deterioration of two Jesuit churches and a Jesuit parish home in the Malopolska region, with the overall objective of conserving the cultural heritage of Cracow and communicating the cultural values of the region to pilgrims and future generations. Reference is made to the English version of the application, dated 03 March 2006, and e-mail correspondence with the Focal Point dated 09 June 2006.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    • the interior and exterior renovation of St. Barbara’s church at Maly Rynek, specifically the repair of the roof, external renovation and paving of the cloister, renovation of the indoor artwork and furnishings, and the conservation and restoration of the pipe organ;

    • the renovation of the roof of the Jesuit parish home at Maly Rynek; and

    • the renovation of the Holy heart of Jesus basilica at Kopernika, specifically the repair of the roof, and the conservation and restoration of the pipe organ.

    The Project Promoter is the Society of Jesus, South Poland Province.

    The Civic Committee for the Restoration of Cracow Monuments, which is financed by the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, shall provide at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible project costs.