• Wanja Wedekind

A unique portal of Polish cultural heritage

Cracow: The fortified monastery complex of the Norbertan Sisters west of Wawel Castle Hill houses one of the oldest churches in the Polish royal city of Krakow.

The church dedicated to Augustine and John the Baptist was consecrated in 1181, after about 20 years of construction, and suffered numerous destructions in its further history.

On the northern facade, however, a Romanesque entrance portal has been preserved (Fig. 1), which is assigned to the original building and is currently being restored by Firma Konserwatorska Piotr Białko a leading restoration company in Poland (Fig 2).

The portal is made of different regional sandstone types, which are mainly characterised by their varying grain sizes. Some of these sandstone varieties are sensitive to salt weathering.

At present, extensive safeguarding measures, archaeological excavations and investigations are taking place in order to be able to carry out sustainable conservation for this unique example of Romanesque architecture in Cracow.

In cooperation with the leading conservator Karolina Pachuta and conservation specialists from Berlin and Warsaw, ACS is carrying out extensive investigations into individual varieties of the stones used and object diagnostic investigations. These include petro-physical and lithological investigations, measurements of electrical conductivity and electrical capacity and ultrasonic measurements.

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