The Temple of Art and Light: The Pearl – photo-icon of Lower Silesia

People from Poland could help the Pearl with 1,5% of their tax.

Early classical era monument, decaying since 1945 as a former evangelical church, today rises from the ruins as a multifunctional cultural arena, thanks to the efforts of the Your Heritage Foundation (Fundacja Twoje Dziedzictwo).

“The most beautiful object in Lower Silesia! The interior moves you to a completely different world!”

Do you want to visit the Pearl?

The 2023 cultural season has ended!

The 2023 cultural season in our Temple of Art and Light: the Pearl, started with the comic opera “Serva Padrona” by Giovanni Pergolesi, was closed yesterday with the excellent performance “Action Medea”.
It was an active season at the Pearl. Painting and photography exhibitions where you could not only admire the works, but also talk to their authors. The following artists presented their works: Thinloth, Justyna Koziczak, Monika Cichoszewska, Mariusz Mykicki.
The season began with the excellent comic opera by Giovanni Pergolesi “Serva Padrona”, directed by our Eleni Ioannidou from Ars Augusta e.V. The main roles were played by outstanding soloists: Elvire Beekhuizen as Serpina and Mikołaj Bońkowski as Uberto, and they were accompanied silently but expressively by the famous mime Bogdan Nowak as Vespone. The instrumental layer was provided by the excellent baroque band “Das Lausitzer Barockensemble” composed of: Szczepan Dembiński, Adam Piotr Rorat, Dominika Garncarz, Kacper Szpot, Klaudyna Żołnierek, Mateusz Janus, Marcin Bajon, supported by the talented flutist Susan Joseph.
Shortly afterwards, thanks to cooperation with the Municipal Center of Culture and Sports in Bolesławiec, the ecumenical choir of the Vang temple from Karpacz visited the Pearl.
Like every year, the Pearl hosted the PixelMania cosplay event, gathering photographers and participants from all over the world within the walls of the Temple of Art and Light.
The oratorio “Il Davide” by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, directed by the talented opera director Rocc, turned out to be a real feast for the eyes and ears. The event was created in cooperation with the Ars Augusta association and the Kulturní Morava association.
Five outstanding soloists: David: Doubravka Součková (soprano), Saul, king of Israel: Aco Bišćević (tenor), Jonatan, son of Saul: Helena Hozová (soprano), Abner, leader: Jiří Miroslav Procházka (bass), Eliab, David’s brother: Aneta Petrasová (alto), accompanied by the choir and orchestra “Volantes Orchestra”, under the baton of Marek Čermák, provided an unforgettable musical and aesthetic experience.
During the “National Reading”, organized in cooperation with the Public Library in Żeliszów and GOKiS Bolesławiec, our guests read together “Nad Niemnem” by Eliza Orzeszkowa.
Twice, including at the end of the season, the space of the Pearl was filled with the torn soul of Euripides’ Medea, illustrated by the play of three amazing actresses: Marie Walker, Joanna Kurzyńska and Marta Horyza. Their voices were hypnotizing, resounding with depth in the souls of the gathered audience in the performance “Action Medea” from the repertoire of Studio Kokyu, directed by Przemysław Błaszczak.
Thank you, wonderful audience! Thank you to our artists and partners!
Now it’s time to calm down, continue conservation work and prepare for the 2024 cultural season.
See you in the Pearl!

We invite you to events in 2024!

“The exterior is quite interesting, yet the interior is something truly breathtaking!”

A few words about earlier history…

The Temple of Art and Light is located in Żeliszów (formerly Giersdorf) next to the Bolesławiec. It was built according to a design attributed to the famous architect Carl Gotthard Langhans, creator of, among others, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. However, some art historians attribute it to the builder Grundmann or Carl Gotthard Langhans Jr. The building was built in 1796 – 1797 on an ellipse plan with dimensions of approximately 20 × 30 m. In 1872, a bell tower was built from Bolesławiec sandstone, designed by local architect Peter Gansel. However, the tower’s builders did not demonstrate the skill of their predecessors, seriously damaging the roof structure of the main building on the tower side, which resulted in an increase in the deflection of the columns on the second level of the gallery.

Pearl’s facades are distinguished by the lack of architectural decoration. The tiled roof is adapted to the elliptical shape of the building. The interior was once richly decorated. It is single-space, surrounded by wooden galleries. The ellipse-shaped floor is matched by an undecorated dome supported by a gallery structure in the form of round wooden columns, mostly made of pine. The two storeys of the gallery, accessible by a single-flight staircase, were equipped with full wooden balustrades. Currently, the stairs have been restored without the balustrades.

The Pearl as a church was used by the local Evangelical parish until 1945. The Catholic parish used the nearby church of St. John Nepomucen. After the German inhabitants left, the church remained in excellent condition. The red army did not destroy Żeliszów, so the Pearl had full equipment until its doors were opened by the comunist authorities – crystal chandeliers, carpets, benches, prayer books, a wooden pulpit and an altar and baptismal font made of local sandstone.

After its opening by decision of the authorities, the Pearl was no longer used for its original purpose. Although half of the inhabitants of Żeliszów wanted it to become a Catholic temple, it was ultimately decided to abandon this plan. Initially, it was used as a sheepfold and a warehouse, but then its space was no longer used. As a result of the looting activities of some of the newly arrived residents of Żeliszów, the Pearl lost its altar, pews, pulpit, chandeliers, carpets, bells, organs were devastated, and finally the local residents began to treat the Pearl as a free source of building materials. Then, the formwork was torn off the floors of the galleries and the floors of the tower, and most of the sandstone on the ground floor was also stolen. The windows were broken, the sandstone reliefs were destroyed, and one of the portals behind the altar was completely removed. When the tower’s helmet tilted, it was knocked down. As a result of the tree impact, part of the roof truss on the western side collapsed. The partially missing roof covering in the remaining part also no longer provided protection for the wooden structure of the roof and the vault canopy. The Pearl was almost completely unprotected from rain and snow.

… and a few about recent history.

Interestingly, Pearl of Żeliszów, due to an error in the classification of its age, was included on the list of monuments of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship on December 12, 2005, under number 669/A/05. The reason for this state of affairs was the law in force in the 1950s, which stipulated that only buildings built before 1850 could be entered in the register of monuments. The date on the Pearl’s tower – 1872, which was the date of the tower’s addition, misled the authorities regarding the age of the building itself, which is why the Pearl was off the register until 2005.

Since the former inhabitants left Żeliszów, the Pearl was state property, managed by the Bolesławiec Rural Commune. Over the decades of destruction of the facility, there were several ideas for developing its space. In one version, it was to become a gymnasium for a nearby primary school. In another, the main building was to be demolished and the tower was to serve as a viewing point and a GSM transmitter. In order to protect the facility against the entry of curious people, the commune decided to brick up all door and window openings with materials left from other investments.



In 2010 short film “The Chapel” by Patryk Kizny was made in the Pearl, thanks to which the Temple of Art and Light became recognizable all over the world. Despite this, although photographers and artists from all over the world began to visit the Pearl, it did not stop the progressive degradation of the temple.

At the end of 2012, the Your Heritage Foundation based in Warsaw, on the initiative of the founder – Thinloth Korwin-Szymanowska, started the “Pearl of Żeliszów” project, which aimed to save this small miracle of Lower Silesia. By implementing its assumptions Foundation signed a letter of intent with the Bolesławiec Rural Commune on cooperation for the Pearl of Żeliszów. As a result of the implementation of its provisions, on July 17, 2013, the Foundation took over the Pearl from the commune along with the adjacent cemetery and began a fight to save the deteriorating monument. At the end of 2013, the galleries were covered to protect the wood from rain and snow, so that the facility would survive until renovation works began. These started already in 2014, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Marshal’s Office of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and donors.

The scope of the renovation

The main renovation works at the Pearl took place in the years 2014 – 2019 with the participation of funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Marshal’s Office and donors. The scope of work carried out included:

  • full renovation of the roof structure
  • replacement of the roof cover
  • full renovation of the vault structure and reconstruction of the dome’s plaster
  • reconstruction of the lightning protection installation
  • gutters
  • reconstruction of the missing supporting structure of the building, and supplementation and conservation of the preserved one
  • structural stabilization of the building
  • reconstruction of the ceilings in the tower
  • reconstruction and supplementation of the structure of the gallery

In the following years, minor works were carried out, including:

  • restoration of window joinery in the upper line of the main building
  • reconstruction of the window joinery of the Pearl’s high windows
  • restoration of window joinery in the tower
  • restoration of floors in the tower
  • restoration of floors in the galleries
  • restoration of the stone stairs in the tower
  • reconstruction and addition of wooden staircases towards the gallery
  • reconstruction of the honorary box
  • conservation and replenishment of sandstone on the ground floor of the tower
  • partial reconstruction and addition of sandstone on the ground floor of the main building


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Perła / The Pearl