The evangelical Church of Świdnica in southern Poland is truly something extraordinary. It was built after the Peace of Westfalen (hence called Church of Peace), which followed a long battle between Catholics and Evangelicals in the german speaking countries. The catholic emperor Ferdinand II. won, but he had to make some concessions to the evangelical communities. Some of the reformed communities were allowed to build own churches, but only outside the city walls and they had to be built almost entirely by wood and within one year. Three communities rose to the occasion and two of these churches from the early 18th century still exist, the one in Świdnica being the largest and most opulent one. Since 2001 the sacral building is a UNESCO world heritage sight.
The city of Tarnów is situated in the south of Poland. Before WWI this part of the country belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire, so the town shares many architectural features with other places in the region like a large square and pretty baroque houses.
It’s been a while. I have been on the road for the last couple of months, so there was no time to update the blog. On the plus side though I got to shoot plenty of photography. So the place here will get more lively again in the upcoming weeks and months. Big news first: There is a new web address! Now the blog can be reached (also) via michaelhoffman.at
In June I got the opportunity to visit Georgia and Armenia. These are two rather small countries south of the Caucasus mountain range, equipped with long and dramatic histories. They have distinct cultures with own alphabets and Christian traditions. While Armenia is a landlocked country, a mountainous place, historically living of trade, Georgia lies inbetween the northern and southern Cacasasus, mostly within a fertile lowland. Georgian are predominantly peasants, many of them cultivate wine. As the grape is one of the most important export products of the country. The urban centre of Georgia lies also within it’s geographic centre. Tbilisi is an interesting place, modern on the one hand, while still maintaining a very traditional and almost oriental flair. But no matter where you are in the country: Chances are high you will spot a church, a very distinctive looking church. Many of these date back as far as to the mid of the 1 Century AC and are still important centers of religious and civic life.