When approaching the town of Gostyń (southern Wielkopolska) the magnificent dome of the Holy Mountain Basilica can be seen from faraway. In fact this is the largest dome in Poland: 50 m high and 17 m in diameter. The church is one of the most stunning examples of Baroque architecture in Poland, a historic monument and an important pilgrimage site.
The Holy Mountain at the outskirts of Gostyń has been an important cult centre since the early Middle Ages, however some suspect even in pre-Christian times. What we know for sure is that the basilica was founded by Adam Konarzewski and his wife Zofia, as a thanksgiving for miraculous healing. She ordered the church to be modelled after Santa Maria della Salute temple in Venice. The construction took almost a hundred years.
When visiting the basilica make sure you take a walk into the crypts, hidden beneath the church. Also look for a cannonball in one of the walls – a reminder of a battle fought in Gostyń in 1761. After that you may also visit a souvenir shop located in the nearby monastery.
The Holy Mountain Basilica is famous from the annual Music Festival Musica Sacromontana, held every Autumn. The church offers awesome acoustics and also breathtaking setting for numerous concerts, involving oratorio and church music, classical music and choirs. The entrance to the festival is free.
Text: Jacek Cieślewicz