The biggest church in Wroclaw is found a small island called Cathedral Island – you guessed it – the island is named after the large cathedral on the spot. The St. John the Baptist Cathedral of Wroclaw is the church is the location of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw where the cardinal has his cathedral.
The church at this location has had some unfortunate history. The first church at this spot was built in the 10th century but it didn’t last long. When the polish conquered the area they tore down the original church to build a bigger basilica around year 1000. The basilica didn’t last long it was destroyed in 1039 by the invading Duke of Bohemia. The destroyed church was replaced by a bigger cathedral to give the name to the cathedral island.
The new cathedral didn’t last long – after the Mongol invasion of Poland and most of Europe it was about time to rebuild the church. The new bigger cathedral was constructed and it was more or less the same building which stands there today. The misfortune of the church wasn’t over yet – in 1540 the roof burned down and had to be replaced. The reconstruction of the roof took another 16 years. The roof survived for several centuries until a new fire broke out. In 1759 the roof burnt again in addition to the tower and other parts of the church. The damage was so great it took 150 years to restore it.
The last blow to the cathedral was dealt in 1945 when the approaching Soviet troops bombed the city and the cathedral. The cathedral was 70 percent destroyed just before the Soviet conquered the town. The church needed to be rebuilt like most of the city. And the reconstruction was swift – the repair was finished in 1951.
If you walk to the cathedral island the visit inside the cathedral is a must. It is worth to go inside and have a look at the windows and the rest of the interior of the church.