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The Warsaw Voice » Other » June 2, 2004
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Wooden Wonders
June 2, 2004 By Edyta Gajewska   
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During the International Historical Monument Protection Day celebrated in April at Wawel Castle, Dr. Tomasz Or這wski, secretary general of the Polish National UNESCO Committee, presented UNESCO certificates to parish priests of six wooden churches in the Ma這polska region which in July 2003 were put on the world list of cultural heritage.

Speakers at the ceremony said that Poland was bringing enormous heritage to Europe and the awareness of it made Poland a more self-confident member of the European Union.

The Catholic churches built mainly of larch-with ties to both European values and local building traditions-are unique. The 11th Polish entry on the list includes six best preserved examples of Gothic churches built in the horizontal log technique in Poland, four of them in Ma這polska: in Binarowa, D瑿no, Lipnica Murowana and S瘯owa. All illustrate changes that occurred in European art between the Gothic and modern times. Murals inside the churches are priceless, and a considerable asset of the historic buildings is their location amidst picturesque valleys, woods and fields.
The church in Binarowa (situated by the road from Biecz to Tuch闚) was built on the site of a shrine from the early 14th century. The oldest elements of the furnishing are Gothic sculptures, a bell and a stone baptismal font.

According to a legend, the church in D瑿no (near Nowy Targ) was built by rogues of the Tatra mountains. The church comes from the early 14th century and its interior has preserved the original murals; the oldest object in it is a crucifix on an arched beam.

In 1997, the big flood almost destroyed the church in Lipnica Murowana (Bochnia county). Erected in the late 15th century, the shrine was saved thanks to enormous dedication and work of the parishioners. The church in S瘯owa (Gorlice county), in turn, was unfortunately partially destroyed during World War I.

All these unique churches are worth visiting, especially that they lie on the highly attractive tourist Route of Wooden Architecture. It features over 300 structures and thus sightseeing trips can be even last for a few weeks.
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