Saturday, 6 December 2014

GDANSK - Cathedral in Oliwa

7th December 2014

Last summer I was in Gdansk which is located at the Baltic Sea. It is very important city in our history it is a cradle of Solidarnosc and Lech Walesa the Nobel Peace Winner. It is also place full of famous landmarks. One of them is Cathedral in Gdansk Oliwa  and its great organs famous around the world. I love visiting church especially when it is very hot at that time when we were in Gansk it was 33 C degrees so it was lovely to walk in the cool church.
The arch cathedral in Oliwa is a three-nave basilica with a transept and a multitude closed presbytery, finished with an ambulatory. The façade is flanked by two slender towers, 46-metres tall each with sharply-edged helmets. It is enlivened by a Baroque portal from 1688, as well as three windows of different sizes and three cartouches. The crossing of the naves is overlooked by a bell tower, a typical element of the Cistercian architecture. The cathedral is 17.7m high, 19m wide and 107m long (97.6m of the interior itself), which makes it the longest Cistercian church in the world. It holds works of art in Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Classical style of great artistic value.

Great organ

The famous great Oliwa organ was designed and constructed between the years 1763 and 1788 by Johann Wilhelm Wulff (Brother Michael, a Cistercian Monk). The instrument contained 83 registers (5100 pipes), 3 manual keyboards (also manuals; Hauptwerk– great organ, Oberwerk– main organ, Kronwerk– crown organ), one foot keyboard (pedal), mechanical tracker action, and 14 wedge-shaped bellows. Theconsole was independently located in the central part of the matroneum and was the first of such kind in the world. The organ front was decorated with Rococo sculptures and moveable angels holding bells, trumpets, stars and suns. At that time it was the largest organ in Europe and probably also in the whole world.
Between 1790–1793, by order of the new Abbot of Oliwa, a widely known Gdańsk organ master, Friedrich Rudolf Dalitz, undertook the difficult task of moving the console from the middle to the north wing of the matroneum, which was extremely complicated owing to the size of the instrument and the complexity of the tracker action system.
During the next major reconstruction (1863–1865), the great organ was given a Romantic layer. The work was carried out by an organ master from Szczecin- Friedric Kaltschmidt. Wulff’s organ was enriched by a mechanical tracker action and 32 new registers. He left the 52 already existing ones (however, some of them were renewed) and all the front pipes. In accordance with the trend of the time, manual three (Kronwerk) was by Kaltschmidt enclosed into a swell box. The instrument now consisted of 84 registers assigned to 3 manuals and one pedal.

The choir organ, placed in the south wing of the transept, was built in 1680 by Johann Georg Wulff and comprised 14 registers. In 1758 Johann Wilhelm Wulff conducted a thorough renovation of the organ, extending the disposition of the organ to 18 registers. Then in 1874, Carl Schuricht performed the organ restoration; however, no further details are recorded. In 1902 Berlin based company of brothers Oswald and Paul Dinse carried out further reconstruction of the organ, introducing a pneumatic tracker action and reducing the number of registers to 14 (2 manuals and a pedal). When, between the years 1934–1935, Joseph Goebel was restoring the great organ, he also took care of the choir organ. It received a new electric tracker action and was connected to the main console. In 2003, a contemporary Emanuel Kemper 17-pipe organ with a mechanical and electric tracker action was imported from Germany. Afterwards, an organ builder Jerzy Kukla installed it in an antique organ case, thus, replacing the previous instrument. The choir organ is at present connected with the great organ.

 Archcathedral Basilica of The Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary and St Bernard in Gdańsk Oliwa

LocationGdańsk Oliwa
AffiliationRoman Catholic
Year consecrated14 August 1594
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusMinor basilica, archcathedral

Enjoy the organ....


  1. Wspaniała świątynia.
    Świetny post.
    Miłej niedzieli:)

  2. Oliwska katedra jest piękna...

  3. Good morning Lucia,
    To think that this beautiful cathedral was consecrated in 14 August 1594. The twin spires are quite spectacular. The video is a nice addition! I hope that you find peace in your life this advent season and I hope to see you next week. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  4. You do have some beautiful churches in Poland! The organ and stained glass window are magnificent.
    You are right about the time of my moon photo yesterday. I'm an early bird -- usually wake up naturally at 5:30 ready to go!

  5. Beautifully constructed and designed. It is a fantastic view to look at.

  6. The cathedral is beautiful, and the organ is stunning!

  7. just amazing. i wish i could be there in person to hear the organ. i have always been very fond them. my Grandma had one as a kid. i would play it like a real pro. not really just playing around and being a silly child. ( :