The meeting with Chełm should be started with Chełm Hill from which you can enjoy a picturesque panorama of the city. From its eastern edge you can see the railway housing estate "Dyrekcja". In the north-west part of the hill, in a vast park is the High Hill which buries the remains of Daniel Romanovich's castle.
The central place of Chełm Hill is occupied by the BASILICA OF THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN MARY ['BAZYLIKA P.W. NARODZENIA NAJŚWIĘTSZEJ MARII PANNY'], majestically dominating the city. It was built on the site of the 13th-century Orthodox church of the Virgin Mary which served Orthodox and Uniate bishops. The present-day building was erected according to Paweł Fontana's design in the years 1735-1756 and was founded by the bishop of Chełm Filip Wołodkowicz. On 15th September 1765 the church was the place of the coronation of the marvellous painting of the Chełm Madonna. After the Union had been dissolved, the church was thoroughly transformed and given a Byzantine-Orthodox form. In 1919 the church was given to the Catholics and in 1931 St Mary's parish was created. The church is an exceedingly precious old building of architectural interest and is an old St Mary's sanctuary which has had its origin in the worship of the painting of Our Lady of Chełm. The original icon, probably painted in Byzantium, was taken away by the Russians in 1915 and at present is kept in Lutsk, Ukraine. Since the interwar period Chełm has only had a replica of the paintinga.
The Basilica is surrounded by a semicircle of buildings, among which stands out baroque UŚCIŁUGSKA GATE ['BRAMA UŚCIŁUSKA'] fitted into a chain of buildings erected in the 17th-18th centuries. At the southern edge is the UNIATE BISHOPS PALACE ['PAŁAC BISKUPÓW UNICKICH'] built in c. 1711 on the initiative of bishop Józef Lewicki. Situated to the north of the Basilica is the BASILIAN MONASTERY ['KLASZTOR BAZYLIANÓW'] erected in the years 1640-1649 and founded by bishop Metodiusz Terlecki. Nearby is the BUILDING OF THE ORTHODOX VIRGIN MARY BROTHERHOOD OF CHEŁM ['BUDYNEK CHEŁMSKIEGO PRAWOSŁAWNEGO BRACTWA BOGURODZICY'], an organisation established in order to russify Chełm Land. The next item is the BELFRY ['DZWONNICA'] erected before 1878 and constructed during Russian architectural transformations. After the complex had been taken over by the Catholics, it was remodelled and at present it constitutes an integral part of the cathedral complex.
Parafia Rzymskokatolicka Mariacka
ul. Lubelska 2,
tel. + 48 82 565 24 75,
+ 48 82 565 68 66
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