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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków
Kamieniec Ząbkowicki

Fot. Witold Kubus
VOIVODESHIP: dolnośląskie
DISTRICT: Ząbkowice Śląskie
COMMUNE: Kamieniec Ząbkowicki
DIOCESE: świdnicka
DECANATE: Kamieniec Ząbkowicki
FOUNDATION: 1248 - 1251r.

History of the abbey

At the beginning of the 13th century Kamieniec was a possession of Pogorzelec family, who founded there the cloister of canon regulars of St. Augustine of Wrocław. In 1250 due to the internal problems Augustinians were suppressed. On 7th January 1246 the Cistercians from Lubiąż came to Kamieniec,
Augustinians from Wrocław tried to get back the cloister. The dispute was settled by the papal legate in favour of the Cistercians. Pope Innocenty IV confirmed this fact on 15th July 1251 and later once again it was confirmed by his successor Pope Urban IV on 11th May 1262.
Soon, the Cistercians started building the objects and the church in agreement with their own observance at the same time maintaining previous call of the cloistral church of the Mother of the Jesus which suited their tradition.
Most of Kamieniec's properties and income came from grants. Presumably, the Cistercians founded four villages (Laski, Ożary, Mąkolno, and Chwalisław). The development of the cloister's properties was also due to the new grants and exchanges. At the beginning of the 15th century most of the cloister's landed estates were in their hands until secularization.
The development of the agriculture was supported by a good quality of soils in the Valley of Nysa. They grew crops, leguminous plants, flax, hemp, hops, and grape-vine. On the less fertile soils they raised sheep, cattle and horses. Cloistral ponds, the Nysa River and its tributaries provided fish, and the woods provided game. They also were in the possession of numerous mills, looms, tailors', gravediggers, shoemakers, bakeries, and forges. Apart from that they also dabbled in brewing and alcohol distillation. The cloister had numerous taverns. It also had the right to sale their products on markets and church fairs in Bardo and other neighbouring towns and on a market that was in front of the cloistral constructions.
In 1273 the cloister gained the privilege to extract mineral deposits on its premises.
A very important income was from tithes from a few dozen domains which they had thanks to grants from the bishops of Wrocław. The cloister often argued about them with parish priests, chairs of village councils and people from whom they collected it. Those arguments sometimes led to a partial depopulation of villages.
The first two centuries in the cloister's history were successful not only economically. At the turn of the centuries a provostry emerged in Bardo and it became a well-known centre of Cult of Our Lady also outside Silesia.
The Cistercians from Kamieniec engaged in pastoral activity also in the parishes outside their properties. They cared for the ill, the poor, and the lonely by running hospices and giving alms. Historiographic and liturgical literature was also well developed in the cloister's manuscripts; they were interesting and richly illuminated. Documentary scriptorium was also here.
A really tragic period in the abbey's history was due to the Hussite Wars. Cloistral buildings were destroyed as well as the population of the convent decreased. Further devastation took place in 1467-1471 at the time of wars of Jerzy of Podiebrad with Silesian League. Years of war conflagration brought a lot of economic and material problems. Monastic discipline also suffered a lot due to the conflicts.
In 1524 it was ravaged by the great fire and for quite a long time they had no money to reconstruct and rebuilt it and it was only a few dozen years later, when the Abbot Szymon II ruled, that they managed to finish the reconstruction.
This favourable period however did not last long. During the Thirty Years War once again the strategic location of the cloister decided upon its fate. While numerous assault troops were marching through the City of Kamieniec and its domains, they devastated and looted them. The villages became deserted. Apart from that, in 1633 there was a bubonic fever that resulted in convent's dispersion.
Szymon III (1641-1661) started the period of renovation of the cloistral life; he salvaged the economy and restored the buildings. Abbatial church was also renovated, and in 1675 a full conversion of the cloister started. A new brewery, bakery, tavern and grange were built in Kamieniec. The abbot Augustyn Neudeck started collecting library, and the number of volumes grew over the following years. They also took care of monks' education who studied theology in Prague. Pastoral service came back to their duties, and in 1724 the Cistercians of Kamieniec took care of 9 parishes.
During the Prussian-Austrian Wars (1740-1763) Silesia was once again under the rule of Prussia and King Fryderyk II put taxes on the church. The abbey got into debts and during the Napoleonic Wars their financial situation worsened.
On 23rd 1810 the abbey was suppressed. Its all properties were taken over by the country. A significant part of its endowment was sold and the library was destroyed. Landed property was given to the kingdom's authorities. Most of the post-cloistral properties were bought in 1812 by the Prussian King's sister, Luiza Wilhelmina, the Queen of the Netherlands.
In 1817 a disastrous fire destroyed a great part of the rooms and after blowing the cloistral walls, they were pulled down.
During the World War II in the cloister of Kamieniec and in the former abbatial cloister there was the biggest in the Lower Silesia storehouse of works of art, library collection and archives. After the war this post-Cistercian church again has been doing duties as a parish church.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey


Abbot's building, which was erected next to the northern wing in 1683-1685, has survived until these times, and now houses a department of the Record Office in Wrocław. In the representative hall of abbot's apartments there is a fresco with abbey's blazon and views of Cistercian cloisters in Kamieniec, Lubiąż and a Church in Bardo. On the walls of a staircase there is a cartouche with abbey's blazon. The second preserved part of the cloister is a rebuilt part of the western wing.

Archiwum Państwowe
Plac Kościelny 4
57- 230 Kamieniec Ząbkowicki
0048 74 8173540


Now it is functioning as a parish church of Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Jacob the Older. Rib-vault from 1400 decorates the nave, aisles and presbytery.
High altar was made in 1704 by Krzysztof Königer from Wrocław and a master of carpentry Hanelein from Nysa-it is characterized by a rich figural ornamentation. A polychromed pulpit is an outstanding work of sculptural art and was made by Krzysztof Königer in 1708. Stalls are from the 3rd quarter of the 17th century. Moreover, there is a lot of altars: Heart of Jesus Altar from 1807, St. Bernard's Altar from 1708, St. Stanisław Kostka's Altar, Our Lady of Sorrows' Altar from 1712 and some church chapels: of St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph's Chapel, Holy Cross's Chapel, Maria Magdalene's Chapel
There are also Stations of the Cross (1-8 by Koeppel; 9-14 by Froter from 1820), paintings in aisles showing Lord's Passion by Valerius Mauroner from the 18th century; sculptures of 14 Helpers on the consoles in the aisles by Tomasz Weissfeldt (1709-1711) and epitaphs of Abbot Gerard Wywoda and of unknown member of Schaffgotsch family.

Parafia pw. Najświętszej Maryi Panny i św. Jakuba Starszego.
ul. Kolejowa 20
57-230 Kamieniec Ząbkowicki
tel. 4048 74 817-31-30

Those post-Cistercian objects that have survived until our times belong to Ośrodek Hodowli Zarodowej in Kamieniec Ząbkowicki and they are: shed pigsty, residential building, workshops, and warehouses. Two of them (today's granary and a building in which there is Building of OHZ Board Ltd (Budynek Zarządu OHZ Sp.zo.o.) were registered as monuments.

Ośrodek Hodowli Zarodkowej
ul. Plac Kościelny 1
57 230 Kamieniec Zabkowicki
tel. 0048 74 817 32 14
fax. 0048 74 817 31 46

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