Looking at the picture below, and having no idea what premises these are exactly, one would say … yet another church or basilica. Quite a big one. Indeed it is one of the largest European churches quite close or even within the European top ten as per size. For people, who travel Europe accustomed to the huge and splendid cathedrals, it is nothing unusual. Yet another one. Let us visit it.
Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Poland, the front view
This would however not be that easy as it looks like. This huge basilica is located among fields and nature with only small villages surrounding it. The closest city, not even on a tourist itinerary is located around twenty miles away. The other interesting fact is that it is practically brand new. The construction works ended just 2004.
The basilica is officially called Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland. It is located in a village Old Lichen in central Poland. It was build quite close to a place where people had visions of Mother Mary in the XIX century. A short explanation for non-European readers: Mother Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ, central figure of the Catholic religion. In Poland, that besides Ireland and some southern European countries is told to be the major Catholic nation in Europe, many pilgrims visit spots where she appeared to people with a message.
The basilica is subject to some controversy in Poland. It is one of at least three major sacral objects constructed present-day in the country. The projects consume ten of millions of Euro, what in the country with dropping down churchgoing rates is by many considered as squandering. Contrary to other projects, this one was however financed by private means. So no issue here. The names of donors are displayed on walls at the basilica ground level. These are thousands but thousands of people.
The other controversy is about its architectural style. For some reason, many people are of the opinion that new sacral objects should be designed modern way, with interesting concept and be of minimalist style. The building materials should be natural and qualitative. If classic in style, there should be no place for opulence. The Lichen basilica is none of these. It imitates traditional opulent design simultaneously having the style of its own.
As I had the opportunity to do so, I decided to visit this place to make my own opinion of the Basilica. Below some photo impressions. I made the photos in the early afternoon on a working day, a cold autumn day. The interior was almost empty.
The front look onto the altar
The side look. The right hand side of the photo above.
The front look yet again, this time vertically to show the dome located just in front of the main altar. To comprehend the dimensions look at the man kneeing there. Continue reading