A Guide to Zamość

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Historical buildings

The Cathedral of Lord’s Resurrection and St. Thomas the Apostle

Zamość Cathedral is one of the most magnificent Polish temples. It was designed by...

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LocationZamość, ul. Kolegiacka 1Show on the map

Photograph Małgorzata Leszak-Kuśmierz



Zamość Cathedral is one of the most magnificent Polish temples. It was designed by Bernardo Morando and founded by Jan Zamoyski as the Hetman’s votive offering for his numerous victories; soon the church became the center of religious life in Zamość Estate. Successive Entailers pledged allegiance to the Statute of the Entail, their funerals took place here and soon the temple became the Zamoyski family’s mausoleum. The church performed the same function in “Zamość State” and the Wawel Cathedral in the Republic of Poland.

The church was built between 1587 and 1598 but decoration work was finished in 1630. The only major alteration took place between 1824 and 1826, when at the order of Russian Grand Duke Constantine, many ornaments, including the Zamoyski family’s coat-of-arms and inscriptions pointing to a votive nature of the temple were removed.

Although from the outside the Cathedral seems to be squat, the inside strikes with slender proportions. The central nave of the three nave basilica is decorated with magnificent, sculptured entablature. 85 rosettes, each featuring a different pattern, were placed between the trusses of the protruding cornice. It is said that the stoneworker who made them bet that each rosette would be different. However, when it turned out that two rosettes had the same pattern and he lost the bet, he hacked off the one which was at fault. You can get an A for perceptiveness if you find the empty space where it once was.

In the Baroque high altar, built between 1783 and 1785, there is a painting featuring St. Thomas the Apostle, the patron of the church standing before Christ Arisen. The silver Rococo tabernacle, one of the most magnificent tabernacles in Poland, was made by goldsmiths from Wrocław. At the top of the tabernacle there is the same scene as in the painting in the high altar. Four huge paintings from the 17th century on side walls of the presbytery present scenes from the life and martyr’s death of the patron of the church.

Above the richly-ornamented organ gallery there is 25-voice organ founded by the fifteenth Entailer Maurycy Zamoyski in1895.

Out of the eight Cathedral chapels the Chapel of the Zamoyski Family situated to the right of the presbytery is the most interesting one. In its floor there is a tombstone of the founder Jan Zamoyski and near it a gravestone made from white Carrara marble, dedicated to the fourteenth Entailer Tomasz Stanisław Zamoyski. Full-size paintings on the walls of the chapel feature gray-haired Jan Zamoyski and his son Tomasz and were painted by Wojciech Gerson. The ceiling of the chapel is decorated with Baroque stuccoes made by John Baptist Falconi in 1635.

Next to the entrance to the chapel there is a metal floor door with an inscription which reads: Fundatoribus Grata Memoria (To Founders with Grateful Thanks). The door leads to Entailers’ crypt, where all Entailers and their family members were buried. 

Baroque Cathedral bell tower was built between 1760 and 1775 according to  Jerzy de Kawe’s design. It is 47 m high being only 5 m shorter than the Town Hall tower. In summer, when the tower is available to visitors, they can see a view of the town and its vicinity from the top as well as three bells named Wawrzyniec, Tomasz and Jan kept in the tower. The Jan bell weighs 4.3 tons and belongs to the largest bells in Poland.

Next to the bell tower there is a  monument to Pope John Paul II  built in 1987.

On the other side of the Cathedral there is infułatka, the house of Zamość deans with a beautiful, richly-ornamented portal. On the first floor of the building there is The Religious Art Museum.

The landmark is included in audio guides