The Parish church of St. Maria Magdalena – a Rococo pearl

From the outside the modest and simple design of the church gives little away of the surprise that awaits inside: a sumptuous interior with subtle details and perfect overall composition. The church is a monument of high value and is the greatest in Dukla.

The church dates back to the 15th century. Originally it was a Gothic style building with a brick presbytery and a wooden nave. We can thank Jerzy Wandalin Mniszech and his wife Maria Amalia that the layout has barely changed to this day – reconstruction took place from 1764 – 1765. The church has been destroyed by fire several times, including once during World War II. It was renovated in 1954 and again from 1964 to 1965. It was completely restored from 1999 to 2005.

The parish church was built in the Late Baroque style with two symmetrical elliptic chapels, domes and separately standing belfry. The church has precious Rococo style interior furnishings and the extraordinary gravestone of Maria Amalia Mniszech from the Brűhl family.


The church interior is bright and elegant. The dancing figures on the main altar look more like actors from the theatre than holy martyrs. These figures represent four virtues: Love, Hope, Faith and Reconciliation and were carved by Jan Obrocki from Lviv.

In the main altar there is also a marvellous tabernacle and a painting of the penitent Mary Magdalene. It is a copy of the original painting by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni which was destroyed in 1944. The copy was painted by the artist Stanisław Jakubczyk.

Illusionistic polychromes on the celling depict scenes from the life and death of the church’s patron Maria Magdalene. In the nave you can admire the side altars (which are smaller versions of the main one), the confessionals, the pulpit with figures of four evangelists and the choir with its antique organ. On the walls hang the Stations of the Cross along with candlesticks and mirrors.


In the vestibule is the gravestone of Franciszek Stadnicki, also carved by Jan Obrocki in black marble.

The most exceptional and valuable of Dukla’s monuments is located in one of the twin side chapels, where the doors are made of wrought iron forged by artisan blacksmiths from Dresden.  This is the gravestone of Maria Amalia Mniszech, carved out of pink and black marble in 1773 by Jan Obrocki. This monument is a quintessential example of Rococo culture. The marble figure of a young, gorgeous and elegant woman is so full of life! Maria Amalia looks as though she is having a short nap and will soon wake up to carry on reading her book or to dash to a ball in a rustling gown.



Travelling from Miejsce Pisatowe to Dukla on road no. 19 you pass the church on the right-hand side, behind the bridge on the Dukiełka River. There are two car parks: one is behind the river on the left (between the gray tenement and the bridge) and the other is close to the Historical Museum – the Palace of Dukla.


49°33’21.8″N  21°40’58.3″E

Parafia DUKLA – FARA
pw. św. Marii Magdaleny
ul. Trakt Węgierski 18
38-450 Dukla
Tel. No.: +48 13 433 00 38
Tel. No.: +48 13 433 07 40

web site:


Mass  Times: 

Saturdays and holidays:

6:30; 8:00; 9:30; 11:00; 15:00; 18:00 (in the summer) 17:00 (in the winter)


7:00, 18:00 (in the summer) 17:00 (in the winter)

Tourist trails nerby: 

 The Main Dukla Municipality Cycling Trail marked in blue

The Sanctuary of St. John of Dukla and the Bernardine Monastery from 18th Century

The sanctuary is a valuable sacred complex and the main centre of the cult of St. John of Dukla, the saintly Bernardine monk from the 15th century. The first church was wooden and built in 1741 by Józef Mniszch – the owner of Dukla. During 1761-1764 a brick church and monastery were constructed.  The current building is of brick with a stately, late baroque façade joined by two towers and covered with baroque cupolas. The final works (towers, bells, altars) were completed in 1777.  The buildings were expanded in the years 1890-1902 by adding the chapel of St. John of Dukla, extending the nave of the adjoining monks’ rooms and erecting the monastery building.

The building is formed of a three-nave basilica with the chancel finished off with a semicircular apse. The roofs over the main naves are gabled and over the aisles they are single-pitched. The interior of the church was transformed into a Neo-Renaissance style with columns supporting the cornice. The nave opens onto the aisles through semicircular arcades. The interior was covered with cross-barrel vaults and dates from the 18th and early 20th century. In the main altar there is a carved crucifix. The Rococo altars in the aisles date from the 18th century. In the right aisle is a chapel containing a silver reliquary with relics of St. John of Dukla. Until 1946 the reliquary was in the Bernardine church in Lviv but after the war it was moved to Rzeszow and since 1974 it has been in the church in Dukla. In the church there are four confessionals in a late baroque style from the 18th century and on the walls there are numerous inscribed marble epitaphs also from the 18th century.

Especially noteworthy are the paintings by Tadeusz Popiel representing the life and worship of St. John of Dukla.

Noteworthy is polychromy of Tadeusz Popiel presenting the life and worship of St. John of Dukla.

Dukla was visited by Pope John Paul II just before the canonisation of Saint John in 1997. He spent the night of the 9th June in the monastery. If you make an appointment with the monks, it is possible to visit the apartment in which the Pope slept.

Near the monastery is a modern sculpture called “Cross of Reconciliation” which is dedicated to the victims of war. It is a stylised cross with figures of Pope John Paul II and St. John of Dukla. On the same spot there used to be a monument commemorating the Battle of the Dukla Pass, the heavy self-propelled artillery pieceon, but this has now been moved close to the palace of Dukla.


49°33’34.0″N 21°40’56.3″E


Travel from Miejsce Pisatowe to Dukla on road no. 19 and at the end of the avenue of acacia trees on the right-hand side of the hill is the Sanctuary. The car park is next to the church.

ul. Pocztowa 5
38-450 Dukla
Tel. No.: +48 13 433-00-61
Tel. No.: +48 722 131 821
fax No.: +48 13 433-06-51
web site:

Mass Times:

Saturdays and holidays:

7:00; 9:00; 11:00; 15:00; 18:00


7:00, 18:00 (in the summer) 16:00 (in the winter)


A church festival takes place on the second Sunday of July. The day before, there is a holy mass at the Hermitage on the Zaśpit hill in Trzciana and a procession to the Sanctuary of John in Dukla.

The Market square with the town hall and tenement houses

In the centre of Dukla the old urban layout of the city has survived. In the middle of the market square is the town hall dating from the beginning of the 17th century, which was first built in a Neo-Gothic style and remodelled in the mid-19th century. On the western wall you can see the coats of arms of former owners of the city: the trumpets representing the Jordan family, the Dukla arms and the coat of arms of the Męciński family. The façades of the houses facing onto the market square date from the 19th and 20th centuries. These had to be rebuilt from the ruins after World War II.

There’s a lot of interest in the cellars that lie beneath the market square. According to local legend the cellars in Dukla once formed a network that connected the town’s churches, the palace, the houses around the market square and the town hall. This network was said to connect up to Cergowa Mountain and even with the castle in Odrzykoń.

The palace complex and park

The palace complex and park – currently the Historical Museum in Dukla with both permanent and temporary exhibitions.

From the early Middle Ages Dukla was of great commercial and strategic importance due to its picturesque location at the Dukla Pass – the lowest mountain pass in the Carpathian Mountain main range. When it was first founded, Dukla was owned by knights and since then it has had a long history of frequently changing owners.

In the 16th century at the request of John Jordan, the coat of arms of the Jordan family was inscribed into a manor house in Dukla, thus establishing it as a seat of the family for generations to come. In 1638  Francis Bernard Mniszech fortified the manor house with earth bastions, transforming it into what is known as a “Pallazzo in Forteza” (a fortified palace).

His son Józef Wandalin Mniszech carried out some restoration work in 1709, but in 1738 the building was partially destroyed in a city fire. Less than a decade later, in 1747, Dukla was inherited by the son of Józef; Jerzy August Wandalin Mniszech, who was the Court Marshal of the Crown as well as Castellan of Krakow and a prominent figure at the Saxon court in Warsaw. Between 1764 and 1765 Jerzy August Wandalin Mniszech and his wife Maria Amalia (daughter of Count Henry Brühl who was Prime Minister and a favourite of King Augustus III the Strong) rebuilt one of the bastion buildings as a magnificent palace with two outbuildings and a garden in the French style. Immediately they began to transform the dilapidated and outdated “Pallazzo in Forteza” building into a modern residence with the latest mod cons, exquisitely furnished and decorated in the spirit of the era. The castle was transformed into a sophisticated palace, extended to the west and with the addition of a second floor with a high mansard roof and dormer windows. The facades with their modest architectural details were decorated with paintings of large flowers and red and yellow stripes. The front of the building was moved from the south to the west. The out-dated bastion fortifications were demolished and replaced with two trapezoid-shaped buildings, symmetrically placed either side of the courtyard. At the entrance a gatehouse was constructed and in the garden a theatre was built. The whole property was surrounded by a brick and wrought iron fence.


The Mniszech family residence was built in the “entre cour et jardin” style (lit. between courtyard and garden). It was one of the most beautiful in Poland at the time. Next to the palace and outbuildings stood a coach house, a brewery and a mill. The long-since demolished theatre was host to both Polish and foreign playwrights and was home to a group of musicians. Within the court there was also a post office, set up before the partition of Poland’s territories between the Russian Empire, Prussia and the Austrian Empire. This post office was much needed due to the numerous international contacts of the Mniszech family.

The palace was one of the most important centres of cultural, social and political life in Poland in the second half of the 18th century.

Maria Amalia Mniszech was an important woman at the time in Poland and she was a talented musician and artist. She was also a relative of the Austrian aristocracy. She attracted many historical figures who visited her residence in Dukla. Maria Amalia furnished the interior of the palace with high-quality furniture, a collection of European paintings, unique historical objects and enriched library collections. The orchestra, court guards and Swiss guards remained in the service of the Dukla court.

In the 19th century the palace complex was owned by the Męciński family and during this time the palace was destroyed twice. In 1821 a large fire broke out in the town and reached the palace, devouring the internal fittings of the building. In 1849 it was ransacked by Russian troops stationed under the command of Tsar Nicholas I, following the Dukla Pass against the Hungarian uprising. Valuable items – furniture and panelling were used by mercenaries for fuel. Cezary Męciński and his son Adam rebuilt and renovated the palace in 1875. In the garden they built a chapel out of stone blocks. It was here that they were both later laid to rest.

The whole of the palace complex was complemented by a magnificent park with symmetrical alleys, ponds, architectural elements, and rows of unusual trees and flowers. Trees and shrubs were formed according to contemporary principles of garden art. Traces of these treatments have survived to this day in the crowns of the oldest specimens. Three trapezoidal ponds separated by high dikes were the dominant feature of the palace park. This layout optically lengthened the perspective of the garden, which was framed with linden avenues and hornbeam “bosquets” (a type of formal planting of trees). An indispensable element of the French formal garden was small architectural objects and sculptures – decorative vases, sculptural groups, trophies and garden tables with stone blocks. Remains of the stone arched bridge from 1765 was spread between two ponds. It had slender pillars, which were crowned with stone vases. Below the stone chapel an icehouse was built in 1875.

The palace park at the time of the Mniszech family was designed in the Franco-Saxon style, but in the 19th century Cezary Męciński and his son Adam introduced typical English garden elements, giving it a more naturalistic look. The new owners rearranged the landscape of the garden, preserving ponds, avenues of lime and hornbeam hedges. In order to soften the geometry of the original design they rounded off the corners of the largest pond and planted trees on the island. The edges of ponds were planted with diverse plants and the dike separating the two larger ponds was planted with trees. These changes got rid of the former main sight line and divided the garden into smaller, more intimate places. Regular planting was blurred by new arrangements of trees and shrubs in free-form clusters and flower beds, perennials and rose gardens were removed. Between them they laid out new winding paths and a picturesque promenade running around the garden through the old lime avenues. It was probably at this time that they removed most of the garden sculptures.

In 1925 the Tarnowski family of  the Leliwa coat arms became the next owners of Dukla. The palace was seriously damaged in September 1944 during the Battle of Dukla Pass (also known as Carpatho-Dukla / Dukla-Prešov Offensive) which saw heavy tank fighting. It was rebuilt after the war and in the 1960s the palace and park became the site of the Brotherhood of Arms Museum. In 2012 the Tarnowski family regained their former residence but the Museum of History is still there in the palace in Dukla.

Despite the serious damage inflicted on the buildings and their contents during World War I and World War II, the rebuilt complex has retained its historical and artistic value and remains a valuable monument of Polish national culture.


Also, a landscaped garden within the historical boundaries still shows clear traces of the French style.

Polish deciduous species still grow in the park: small-leaved and large-leaved linden, field and Norway maples, common beeches, European ashes, English oaks and common hornbeams from the second half of the 18th century. Foreign species were introduced in the first quarter of the 19th century when the garden was planted in the English style. Here we can admire both sweet chestnut and red horse chestnut, ginkgo biloba, catalpa, eastern black walnut, American tulip tree, black pine, Kentucky yellowwood, northern white-cedar and Japanese pagoda tree.


49°33’18.8″N 21°41’03.5″E

Military cemeteries from World War I and II

The military cemeteries are located in the northern part of the city, behind the church and the Bernardine monastery. An impressive gate leads to the cemeteries: the aftermath of the Great Wars. At the gate there is a memorial plaque dedicated to Lieutenant Rajmund Feliks Świętochowski, who was killed on 2 September 1939 on the Polish-Slovakian border in Barwinek. The plaque was funded by the Lieutenant’s sister, Mrs Łętowska.

During the First World War heavy fighting took place around Dukla. After the war ended the cemetery was created and in 70 mass graves unidentified soldiers of different nationalities were buried there.

After the end of World War II in the area around Krosno thousands of individual and mass graves of Soviet, Czechoslovak and Polish soldiers were scattered. They were killed during heavy fighting in the Battle of the Dukla Pass. Their remains were exhumed and transferred to the established military cemetery in Dukla, next to the graves from World War I. In dozens of individual and mass graves Red Army soldiers (mostly Ukrainians), Czechoslovak and Polish soldiers were re-buried. Only 1506 of them have been identified. The centrepiece of the cemetery is a low obelisk with the figure of a dying soldier – “Statue of the Soldier” sculpted by Stanislaw Pomprowicz. Set into the cement are marble plaques with inscriptions in three languages.

The inscriptions say:







IN THE YEARS OF 1939-1944.



49°33’40.9″N 21°40’53.4″E


Travelling from Miejsce Piastowe to Dukla on road no. 19, there is a white church on the hill. The cemeteries are located at the end of the monastery walls. You an park by the gate leading to the cemeteries.

The communal cemetery

The communal cemetery is located next to the church and the Bernardine Monastery by Pocztowa Street. The cemetery was founded in the late 18th century after the Austrians imposed a ban on burial within church grounds. Today it has greatly expanded. In the cemetery there is a chapel dating from its establishment as well as historic tombs.


49°33’35.3″N 21°40’58.4″E

Jewish cemetery

In the 19th century, the majority of the inhabitants of Dukla were Jewish – approximately 85% of the population. Today in the town you can find traces of this local Jewish community. By Cergowska Street are the ruins of the baroque synagogue built in 1758 and destroyed by the Nazis during the war. Nearby is the building of the former Jewish school.

In the nineteenth century, Jews constituted the majority of the inhabitants of Dukla – approx. 85% of the population. Today in the town you can find traces of the local Jewish community. By Cergowska Street are the ruins of the baroque synagogue built in 1758 and destroyed by the Nazis during the war. Nearby there is also the building of the old Jewish school.

The Jewish cemetery in Dukla is located on the southern edge of the town, on the right site of the road in the direction towards Barwinek. Necropolis consists of two parts – so-called the old cemetery, estabilished in the early eighteenth century and the adjacent new cemetery, functioned since around 1870.

On the “old cemetery” (closer to the main road) survived dozens of damaged gravestones called matzevah. Many of them are broken and overgrown with moss.

The new cemetery is fenced with low wall, which has a rectangular shape. You can find about 160 well-preserved gravestones. A large number of tombstones was used by the Germans to control the stream in Smereczne and construction work in Dukla and in neighboring villages.

The Jewish cemetery in Dukla is entered in the Polish register of objects of cultural heritage. Nowadays, the cemetery is under the care of the Association for the Preservation of Heritage of Jews of Dukla Region – “Sztetl DUKLA”.

The cemetery hides many secrets … Helena Rubenstein’s grandparents are probably buried here. Helena was a world leader in the beauty industry.

In front of the cemetery stands a monument commemorating the Jews from Dukla and the surrounding area, who died at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. It was erected by the “SZTETL DUKLA” Association.


49°32’53.6″N 21°40’58.9″E

Cmentarz żydowski w Dukli

The ruins of the baroque synagogue from 1758

The ruins are situated at Cergowska Street in Dukla. The synagogue was built of stone. It is square-shaped with sides measuring 15 metres. The only parts that survive are the walls to the roof, the entrance portal, the bimah (a platform usually located in the middle of the temple which served as a pulpit from which the Torah was read), and the Aron ha-Kadesh (a niche in the altar in the eastern wall made for storing Torah scrolls).


49°33’15.7″N 21°41’06.4″E

Ruins of the brewery

The ruins of the brewery date from the mid-18th century. The remains of the building are located by the bank of the Jasiolka River, close to the park wall. Only remnants of walls survive.


49°33’28.2″N 21°41’16.2″E

The ruins of the customs house – 16th-19th centuries

Dukla established in the fourteenth century gained importance in the mid-sixteenth century. At that time customs house on the trade route to Hungary was established. In 1588 King Zygmunt III Waza granted the town the right to store wine and since 1595 all goods transported across the border had to be cleared through customs in Dukla. From Hungary omainly wine, beer, horses, dried plums, cheese and iron were transported. From Poland to Hungary traders exported cloth, yarn, leather, honey, herring.

The first customs house was located in the town hall. It had a high turnover of exported, imported and transit goods. The new customs house was probably built in the seventeenth century and was located to the southeast of the market. The trade that the customs house brought to the town, along with the various privileges that were bestowed on the traders in Dukla, all contributed to the wealth of the inhabitants. The ruins are located at Kosciuszko Street. These are the only ruins of a customs house in Poland.

Black locust Avenue

On either side of the road into Dukla there is an avenue of more than 200 false acacia trees. Apparently it is the longest avenue of black locust trees in the world.

Hermitage of St. John of Dukla in Trzciana

The Hermitage is located on Zaśpit hill in Trcziana. An asphalt road leads from Trzciana to a car park near the forest where a paved path then continues on to the Hermitage (approx. 300 m away). According to history, St. John of Dukla (“Jan” in Polish) was born in 1414 and spent his hermit-like youth in the surrounding forests, including the Zaśpit hill. The Hermitage was founded by Maria Amalia Miniszech in 1769 after the beatification of Blessed John of Dukla. Legend has it that Maria Amalia, the landowner of Dukla, saw St. John in a dream and he commanded her to build a chapel in the place where he had lived. The original wooden chapel burned down in 1883 and in 1887 Cezary Męciński had a replacement wooden chapel built in its place. The third chapel, which still stands today, is a neo-Gothic brick chapel that was built from 1906-1908 thanks to the efforts of Ambroży Ligas, the head of the Bernadine monastery in Dukla. He built the Hermitage to the design of the Bernadine monk, Kamil Żarnowski. Paintings on the walls by Władysław Lisowski from Sanok represent the life of John.

Next to the Hermitage there is a replica of St. John’s simple home called “the hermit’s house” and a terrace with an artificial cave where holy water runs from a spring.

On the paths around the Hermitage there are chapels dedicated to the Stations of the Cross.


49°30’54.7″N 21°40’34.6″E

Masses in the church:

From 1 May to 31 October

On Sundays – 12:00; 16:00 PM

On weekdays – 18:00 PM

Way of the Cross – on Sundays 10:30 AM

The holy festival of “Plenary Indulgence” is held on the second Saturday of July.

Celebrations take place every year at the Hermitage to mark the start and finish of the motorcycle season and the start of hunting season on St. Hubert’s Day.

The eighteenth century wooden church of St. Michael Archangel in Wietrzno

This church was built in 1752 using elements from an earlier building of late baroque design. In 1880 the walls were decorated with paintings by Leon Wróblewski. In 1906 the church was completely renovated: the windows of the presbytery and nave were enlarged, giving them a pseudo-gothic arched form.

The church is a typical example of wooden religious architecture from eighteenth-century Małopolska using late Gothic motifs. It stands on a hill in the central part of the village. The walls of the church are built from large logs that are stacked one on top of the other and joined at the corners. The tower is constructed using a post-and-beam framework. The rectangular presbytery is closed on three sides, with the rectangular sacristy from the north. The nave, wider than the chancel, on a square layout with adjoining to the north along the entire length of the rectangular porch. In the main altar, the eighteenth-century late Gothic painting of Our Lady of the Angels array of approx. 1480. – Probably the work of Krakow painter.


49° 36.062’ N, 21° 42.228’ E


Travel on road 19 from Miejsce Pisatowe to Dukla, turn right on the local road to Bóbrka (there will be signs to the Museum of Oil and Gas Industry). After approximately 3.2 km turn left and after another 2 km turn right to the wooden church in Wietrzno. After 200 m you will reach your destination.


Parafia pw. św. Michała Archanioła w Wietrznie
Wietrzno 25a

38-450 Dukla

Tel. No.: +48 13 433 30 18


Web site:

Mass schedule:

Saturdays and holidays:
8.00 AM, 10.30 AM, 15.30 PM
Working day:

18.00 PM (in the summer) 17:00 PM in the winter