About the project

General information

In April 2017, due to a positive decision of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the project of the Diocese of Pelplin entitled “Baroque park complex in Pelplin – making accessible through land development and providing new cultural and exhibition functions” was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

The objective of the project is to protect and develop the cultural heritage of the Baroque park complex in Pelplin. The project falls under Measure 8.1 of Priority axis VIII – Protection of cultural heritage and development of cultural resources of the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2014 – 2020.

Value of the project: PLN 20,518,148.84 (eligible expenditure: PLN 20,510,288.84)

Co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund: PLN 17,433,745.51.

More information on the Institution providing co-financing and the Programme can be found on the websites of :


Ministry of Culture and National Heritag

Intermediate Body of the Infrastructure and Environment Programme

Genesis of the project

The idea of using the potential of Bishops’ Gardens should be seen in the wider context of tourism development in Pelplin, resulting from a slow decrease in the number of visitors observed in recent years. The sales statistics of tickets to the most famous facility – the Cathedral Basilica – confirm the unfavourable trend. This proves that the tourist offer is no longer attractive for the visitors and thus requires the addition of new elements.

The project is therefore an element of a well thought out vision of changes in Pelplin, constituting only one of the elements of a coherent strategy for its development. Two other projects are being simultaneously implemented in the area of the post-Cistercian abbey – renovation of the Basilica and creation of the Kociewian Cultural Centre (KCC), which will be the operator of several facilities and the park. The development of Bishops' Gardens, which occupy the space between the Basilica and the monastery, and the Museum and Archives, naturally and logically complements the remaining activities.

One of the most important shortcomings of the current offer, which is mentioned by tourists and pilgrims, is the lack of a place where one can rest after or during a tour – a place where one can “simply sit and relax”. The project aimed at the revitalisation of the Baroque park complex responds to those expectations.

Project objectives

The objective of the project is to protect and develop the cultural heritage of the Baroque park complex in Pelplin. The achievement of this objective will be supported by three partial objectives:

  1. Revalorisation of the Baroque park complex in Pelplin
  2. Creation of a cultural and educational offer using resources of the Baroque park complex in Pelplin
  3. Creation of a new tourist offer of the Baroque park complex in Pelplin constituting a part of the tourist product “Medieval Post-Cistercian Abbey in Pelplin”

Protection of cultural heritage – revitalisation of the park and renovation of monuments

The historic Bishops' Gardens, with their centuries-long history, are part of the Historical Monument of the President of the Republic of Poland, which since 2014 has been the entire post-Cistercian Cathedral complex in Pelplin. The primary objective of the project is to revalorise the neglected park and restore its original appearance.

Even though you can still admire the geometric arrangement of alleys and numerous rows of hornbeam, lime trees and chestnut trees, unfortunately, the lack of a professional gardener caused some of the plantings to extend beyond the historic shape of the park and destroy the land architecture. The condition of many trees is unsatisfactory, a lot of them require urgent sanitary and tending treatments. The main decorative element of the park – a large round bed of low bushes and flowers, the so-called “parterre”, visible in the picture from 1905 – is no longer there.

The parterre will be reconstructed based on the preserved archival drawing. New alleys and paths in the park will also be made. Some of the trees will be tended to, others that disturb the original composition will be replanted, and new trees and shrubs will be added.

The water cascade, which used to be part of the baroque stairs leading to the bridge over the Wierzyca River, will be reconstructed. An arbour scene will be placed in the central part of the park, opposite the former cart house. At the end of the Gardens, behind the pond, there will be a relaxation area with tables and benches, additionally equipped with various attractions for families with children: willow tunnels, boxwood labyrinth or sandbox under
a willow canopy. Moreover, an irrigation installation as well as lighting and monitoring systems will be installed.

The second task of the project is a thorough renovation of the historic building of the former cart house. The U-shaped building of red brick, built in the first half of the 19th century, was used, according to its name, as a stable building for carts. Thermomodernisation will be carried out (including insulation of the walls from the inside to preserve the renovated brick façade), rafter framing and roofing will be renovated, window and door carpentry will be repaired, the interior will be almost completely rebuilt (including replacement of floors and plasters and modernisation of heating, ventilation, water, sewage and electrical installations), and a glass corridor will be added from the side of the renovated courtyard. The facility will also be equipped with monitoring and fire-fighting systems.

The last element of the project is the renovation of the historic gatehouse, the condition of which, due to the lack of insulation, is quickly deteriorating. Therefore, the most important aspect will be to provide a new damp insulation of walls. It is also planned to replace the floors, place new interior plasters and linings, repair the lintels in the basement, and finally install new windows and doors.

The works are expected to be concluded by the end of January 2022.

Development of cultural resources – revitalisation of the park (Gallery of Cistercian Gardens)

The park, which until now has been open to the public only several times per year, will be open to the inhabitants of Pelplin and tourists coming to the Basilica and the Cistercian Abbey after redeveloping and restoring its Baroque character. The park extending between the Basilica and the monastery, the Museum with its art treasures and Archives with the Gutenberg Bible, is their natural link. The passage between them provides visitors with an opportunity of having a lovely walk and offers a peaceful place to relax.

The potential of the Gardens will be fully exploited through the preparation of an extended tourist offer, using the resources of the park complex and as part of the overall tourist product “Medieval Post-Cistercian Abbey in Pelplin”.

Therefore, a new cultural and educational offer will be created, based mainly on the building of the former cart house. A new exhibition area will be created as a result of the renovated interiors, and the Gallery of Cistercian Gardens will be created in the facility adapted to the new function. The Gallery will present four permanent exhibitions connected with the Cistercians and their lives. The building will also feature rooms for cultural and educational activities.

The gallery makes it possible to talk about subjecting the park not only to revalorisation (development), but also to its authentic revitalisation, that is revitalising the area by attracting visitors and extending their stay. The Gallery, presenting various “light” but interesting exhibitions, will be an attraction not only of the park itself – it will become the third, after the Basilica and the Museum together with the Archives, place worth visiting in Pelplin. At the same time, unlike the others, it will focus not on the solemn sacred art, but on the history and functioning of the abbey – the Cistercian abbey in general and the Pelplin abbey in particular.

The arbour scene will allow the park to host a whole range of cultural events – those already taking place in Pelplin, as well as new ones – opening the Gardens to the full tourist offer of the post-Cistercian abbey.

The attractiveness of the entire post-Cistercian complex will also be enhanced by the installation of a number of information elements: information kiosk, brass information plaques and a board with a map of the Bishops' Gardens made of toughened glass. All activities will be crowned with an installation of huge bronze mock-ups: of the park (in front of the entrance to the Gardens, 1x1 m) and the abbey (in front of the cart house, 1.5x2.2 m).

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