Interior of the Cathedral

About Project:


(a text excerpt from the conservation program of Prof. Dr hab. Ireneusz Płuska)

"Regothicisation" in relation to the interior of the Opole cathedral should be understood as the exposition of the original walls and brick bonds which are the characteristic feature of the aesthetics of Silesian cathedrals. The exposition of the brick walls, as well as some parts of the pillars and vaults, shall consist of the removal of thick cement plasters which cover the significant aesthetic features of the building's interior. Such a process can be applied only to layers derived of stylish and aesthetic characteristics and which are mainly the result of a utilitarian use of the object, contrary to the rules of historic architecture. Thus, the exposition of the Gothic walls and other stylish Gothic features in the case of the Opole cathedral is connected to the restoration of the building and the reintegration of the historic architectural surfaces of the medieval interior extracted from under cement plaster. In the interior which for centuries was used in a regular manner, even before the application of the plaster, large parts of the brick bonds were transformed or damaged and in this case the only solution is to partly exchange them for new ones, identical to the historic brick fittings. The limits of such "regothicisation" of the interior will be set in accordance with the following rules: preservation of historic truth and authenticity of the architectural work, application of procedures based on contemporary scientific conservation premises, assurance of diligence based on technical and technological expertise, and – most importantly – assurance of indisputable domination of authentic Gothic brick bonds.



(a text excerpt from the conservation program of Prof. Dr hab. Ireneusz Płuska)

The Maintenance concept for the interior design of the Opole cathedral was based on the analogous situation of the Wrocław cathedral, St. Elizabeth's Church, and in case of polychroming with the brick imitation of the vault ribs – on the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew in Wrocław.

In case of plastered vault ribs, there is significant concern that the removal of the plaster from the brick profiles could seriously damage the delicate and unusually thin brick fittings. It should be noted that the decorative imitative painting of geometrical forms on the ribs was very common at the turn of the 16th century. Especially in Silesia (e.g. the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew in Wrocław) craft methods for the texture and colour scheme were used in the form of brick bonds and brick-plaster presentations, supplemented by artistic means. That is why an artistic imitation of the brick should be painted on the present plaster layers on the ribs. This proposal of the aesthetics development of the vault ribs is justified by the analogy of the methods and techniques common especially in Silesia.

A building of such historic and artistic value requires a special maintenance procedure. On the one hand, there is a need for great care in decision making regarding any changes in the transformation or removal of even the smallest historic brick element and disrupting the original technology while removing the plaster cladding of the walls. The use of contemporary maintenance technologies which can expose and protect the original brick bonds for a long period of time also merits caution. The robustness based on the premises of scientific conservation as well as the aspect of professional aesthetics will be the main principles guiding the whole maintenance undertaking.
The artistic effect of the architectural composition of the particular walls, pillars and vaults in the church's interior was originally highlighted by the red building ceramics and white sand-lime joints. The hand-made bricks and ceramic fittings of the pillars constituted the stylish Gothic character of the church's interior. Thick cement plaster applied to the walls at the beginning of the 20th century significantly undermined the original artistic and aesthetic character of the historic interior.

The general objective of the renovation will be the performance of special treatments and activities resulting in the recovery of the architectural appearance of the walls, pillars and vaults that is as close as possible to the original state. Undoubtedly, the present form of the partly changed window openings, pilasters, and walls with the scrafitto decorations on the south and north walls of the side aisles should be preserved. The most important and most difficult conservation task will be the removal of a large part of the cement plaster from the interior walls of the side aisles and partly from the inter-naval pillars profiles. Notwithstanding the stylish and aesthetic aspects, the removal of the plaster will be of serious scientific importance, allowing a more precise determination of the chronology of the construction and the secondary transformations of the church's interior. It will be possible to assess the scope of the presence of the brick Slavic bonds from the original Roman building in the choir part.

Also, the possibility will arise to highlight with the conservation means the possible arrangements of mainly educational and historical meaning.
The conservation of the brick bonds should be of preservative character. It means that the damaged historic brick elements should be replaced only when absolutely necessary. Efforts should be made to use verified technologies during maintenance works, which also should not differ too significantly from the technologies used in the past for the erection of the Opole cathedral, but which should be modified with the achievements of contemporary science and conservation works. The main emphasis lies here on the supplementation of the bonds with, where possible, old bricks recovered from demolitions or contemporary bricks modelled on the historic ones.




Parafia Katedralna pw. Podwyższenia Krzyża Świętego, pl. Katedralny 2, 45-007 Opole
e-mail: | phone: +48 77 454 25 79


Consortium of companies
- Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
- The Interacademic Institute of Conservation and Restoration of Art – Consortium leader

Delegation in Cracow
- KAMEX Restoration of hisotric objects

Supervision inspector:

BUDO-DOM | Halina Ilnicka | Andrzej Zwierzchlejski

Project coordinator:

Agnieszka Węsiora | e-mail:

Administration and Promotion Specialist:

Beata Balicka-Błagitka | e-mail:

Legal services:

The Office of Legal Advisor Monika Rojewska