“Peace Church in Świdnica – a UNESCO listed site. Reinstating the splendour of a Lutheran enclave by renovating organs with the Baroque prospect and the historic cemetery and by reconstructing the presbytery to create comprehensive cultural, educational and social opportunities”. It is a project of the Holy Trinity Parish of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Świdnica.
The project encompasses the preservation of the church’s large organs, the renovation of the cemetery, and the reconstruction of the parsonage, which will house the Lower-Silesian Evangelical Institute. The project is planned for the years 2014 through 2016. It will allow us to save damaged instruments, tombstones and chapels, and bring back their greatness. It also includes the digitalization of selected items from the church’s collection of historical Bibles and other old prints.
This will raise the value of the Church of Peace, which is one of only three Lower-Silesian historical monuments included in the prestigious World Heritage List of the UNESCO. The Lutheran Church (Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession) is the largest wooden church in Europe – it can hold up to 7,500 people. It was built in the middle of the 17th century, after the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty-Years War. The catholic Habsburgs agreed that three protestant churches could be built, in Głogów, Jawor and Świdnica, but with strict conditions: the churches could be built only outside city walls, which was considered a less-desirable area, and only from wood, sand, straw and clay. The emperor did not expect such a building to last very long, but the church survived and is now a testimony to the Protestants’ great determination.
The surroundings of the church form a Lutheran enclave whose size and beauty are unmatched in Poland: it consists of several 300-year-old buildings and a historic stand of trees. Plac Pokoju (“The Peace Square”) is becoming more and more prominent on both tourist and cultural maps of Poland. The tourists marvel at the rich baroque interior of the church, so different from the ascetic Protestant canon. Music lovers are also drawn by the annual International Bach Festival, and the inhabitants of Świdnica participate in numerous art workshops.