The site

The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec is the oldest monastery in Poland, with almost one thousand years of history. Over the ages, it went through periods of prosperity and decline, until its dissolution in 1816 and re-opening in 1939. Today, rebuilt from ruins, it is open to guests wishing to experience the living Benedictine tradition.

Its rich history and centuries-old tradition makes the Abbey, along with its museum, a unique place to encounter Polish history, culture and art. The architectural complex of the abbey combines Romanesque austerity with Gothic lightness and Baroque opulence.

Tyniec, besides being a historical relic, is also home to the largest community of Benedictine monks in Poland. As a living community of monks, the daily rhythm at the monastery is marked by the hours of prayers and work. By taking part in the Vespers at sunset evening prayer or in the Compline night prayers, visitors can listen to Gregorian chants resounding in Tyniec, unchanged for centuries.

After the Second World War, Tyniec Abbey played an important role in the Polish Church and its history – here the initiative of translating the Bible from the original languages to the Polish language found its origin; here the Polish translations of new liturgical books, introduced after the Second Vatican Council, were prepared.

For the reasons mentioned above, in 2017 the Abbey was awarded the title of a Historic Monument of the Republic of Poland. It is the highest possible distinction given to monuments in Poland, awarded to immovable heritage objects of particular importance to the culture of the country. Today the monastery in Tyniec is open for pilgrims as well as for tourists, being a place of meeting and dialogue.


The project

European Heritage Volunteers Projects at Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec have been an occurrence since 2019, providing a unique opportunity for participants to be in close contact with Poland’s cultural heritage by living and working for two weeks in a thousand years old monastery which is wealthy in history and artistic tradition.

The project in 2021 involved the participants in the cleaning of precious Baroque wooden sculptures, altar fragments, and paintings from the Abbey church interior before further conservation works. The programme was designed to let the whole group be closely involved into the conservation process at all levels that are possible for non-professionals and students in the field alike. Thus, the project was a perfect opportunity for students of conservation-restoration to gain a close hands-on experience and apply their theoretical knowledge.

The work required gentleness and precision, but the results are worth the efforts. The participants handled vulnerable and valuable historical objects with the supervision and guidance of professional restorers-conservators, who ensured the safety of the objects as well as enabled the participants to ask questions and consult their actions on an ongoing basis. After the works were finished, the artefacts were returned to their place in the church, where they can now be admired by all the visitors to the Tyniec Abbey.

The conservation activities were preceded by the theoretical introduction on history, history of arts as well as conservation and restoration techniques. Thus, the participants were able to understand the whole conservation process and not only the small part in which they were directly involved.

The programme was completed by visits to monuments and sites iconic for the cultural heritage of Kraków and Lesser Poland.


The project was organised by Fundacja Chronić Dobro in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers.

European Heritage Volunteers