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Church of St John the Baptist and St Roch (Warsaw, Poland)

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Historic church in Warsaw.

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      23.09.2011 10:42
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      An awesome building

      Having seen most of Warsaw's churches within the city centre I was interested to see how many churches outside the city in places like Kampinos were made from wood and even further out in the countryside how many were made from red brick. I don't know why but I never associate red bricks with Warsaw and Poland. Brochow is about 50 kilometres from Warsaw and is situated in the county of Sochaczew in Masovia. I came across this very small village by accident when travelling from Sochaczew where I had been to see the house belonging to Frederic Chopin's parents. In fact his parents were married in the church at Brochow and the young Frederic was baptised at the very same church just 201 years ago.

      Arriving in front of the church I noticed a small parked area containing a statue dating back to the year of 1881. I couldn't quite make out who the person in the statue was - he looked like he could have been a shepherd or on the other hand he could have been a monk but seeing that there is a dog in the picture and he is holding a crook - I'll go with my first guess.

      The church itself is another Polish colossal affair built in red brick with two very large towers. It definitely has a 16th century look to it and dominates the village. Surrounding the church is a walled fence again made from red brick and to enter you have to walk through a small arched entrance or through an arched metal gate that swings from a larger white concrete arch. From here I walked around the church from the right side and tried to estimate how many bricks were used to build the church. I soon gave up on that idea as the overall area of the church is immense. So let's just say that thousands of bricks were used. The roof tiles were very small, red and placed in a very uniformed way. I struggled to believe that this church hadn't just been rebuilt as it was in immaculate condition. All the windows are arched in varying sizes even in the towers which have a jade roof and a small metal cross on the top. The gardens surrounding the church within the wall have been planted with conifers and low lying shrubs. There is a wooden crucifix and a statue of pope John Paul in white plaster. The bell house is separate in a building of its own at the back of the church; a tall white building with a red roof and a very small arch door for the bell ringers to enter. Looks like the door was built for tiny people and if I had entered I would have had to bend my head and shoulders.

      We weren't able to go inside as the big, metal door was closed so we aid our Goodbyes to the church at Brochow and left through the gate we entered. This is when I noticed a black metal military display of art work embedded in the wall. This display is to commemorate the fight against the Nazis by the Polish Cavalary as they charged into the village of Brochow in 1939. It seems that wherever I walk in Poland I come across evidence of the Nazi invasion.

      Leading down from the church is a nice country path with trees and a river. It was here we came across a stray dog who looked very thin and was hungry. We had eaten our sandwiches and I only had a cake left which he devoured in one second. He was a very well natured dog and my son was all for bringing him home but I didn't think that was a good idea as he might just have been lost and owned by someone.

      Brochow is a cute little village with very few inhabitants, worth seeing for the peacefulness of the village and the excellent exterior of its parish church even if you aren't able to go inside. The walk down the country lane is enjoyable too - if you had a fishing permit you could probably sit for an hour and try to catch a fish.

      Very difficult to visit if you don't have a car. There is a bus that runs infrequently to Brochow once a day so always best to check at the Tourist Information Office in Warsaw or at the Frederic Chopin Museum in Sochaczew.

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