Our tour of Kłodzko’s religious monuments starts at the feet of the fortress, which replaced the gord on Fortress Mountain. Today, there is nothing left of Saint Martin’s church, Saint Wenceslaus’ church, or the Saint Augustine monastery, which had stood here in the past.

We are now going in the direction of Łukasińskiego street along the northern frontage of the town square. Other than Czeska street, this is the oldest street in the city. It was formerly known as Ząbkowicka and is located on the route connecting Prague and Wrocław. In the 12th century, the Order of Saint John built a hospital and chapel at the street’s end. Today, it is the location of Saint George’s and Saint Adalbert’s church, formerly known as the Church of Christ the King, and the convent of the Order of Saint Clare. The church was funded by Kłodzko count Henry the Elder and built in the 15th century, but it was subject to numerous future expansions and modernisations. It was never an interesting tourist destination, but this all changed due to a recent discovery. In 2015, it was discovered that the layers of paint were covering up forgotten frescos of Karl Dankwart, a notable baroque painter who served as court painter to King John III Sobieski and the author of the decorations in the Jasna Góra basilica in Częstochowa. The precious frescos are currently being exposed, restored, and studied by experts.

As we take the same route back to the city centre, we have Saint Mary Magdalene’s chapel to our left. This arcaded chapel was built in the 19th century as a part of the former city hospital. We can see the statue of the Good Shepherd on the second storey of the façade. On the first Sunday of the month, the chapel hosts Trent masses, which are conducted according to the traditional Roman rite.

We turn left in the town square to cross the gothic Saint John’s Bridge, the construction of which started in late 13th century. Its barriers hold 6 baroque statues, which is why the bridge is often compared to the Charles Bridge in Prague. The oldest statue is Pieta from 1655. The others come from the early 18th century and present the King of Bohemia Saint Wenceslaus, Saint John of Nepomuk – a Prague canon who was drowned in the Vltava under the orders of the king of Bohemia, the patron of Kłodzko Saint Francis Xavier, the Crucifixion, and the Holy Trinity with the Coronation of Mary. The latter was founded by Baron Franz Ferdinand von Fitschen to appease for the crimes of his father Otto, who murdered his wife Barbara.

We come down from the bridge on the Młynówka to Sand Island. The regular form of the church of Franciscans, who had settled here in the 13th century, is a colourful closing of the perspective seen from the bridge. The monastery’s buildings, which were located outside of the city walls, were destroyed numerous times by wars and floods. Construction of the current Our Lady of the Rosary church began in 1629, but the finishing work took a long time and the expansion of the monastery continued until the year 1731. The monastery was flooded once again in 1783 and the walls still show signs of the most recent flood of 1997. There is an interesting enormous (10 m x 18 m) refectory inside. Its vault is covered with frescos painted in 1744 by Felix Anton Scheffler, the “Silesian Raphael”. The paintings present the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary, Saint Francis, as well as other saints, fathers of the church, martyrs, and believers and explain the organisation of the Friars Minor, who are composed of three orders: Franciscans, Saint Clares, and the so-called conventuals.

From Sand Island, we cross Plac Franciszkański (Saint Francis’ Square), which is home to the statue of Saint Francis, then go down Daszyńskiego street, through Sybirak Park, and climb the stairs leading from Zawiszy Czarnego street to the Jesuit church in Plac Kościelny (Church Square). The gothic collegiate Virgin Mary’s church is currently the oldest temple in the city. Its cornerstone was set by the Order of Saint John all the way back in 1344 under the initiative of Prague Bishop Ernst of Pardubice, who died in 1364 and left a considerable amount in his will to the construction of the church. When he was young, the future archbishop studied in Kłodzko at Saint John’s school, but he was not a good and devout student. Legend says that he completely changed his ways and dedicated himself to serve God after the Madonna on the altar painting turned her head toward him as he was praying. The church is also home to the tombstone and white marble statue of a kneeling Bishop Ernst created by German sculptor Johannes Janda in 1864. The quality wooden sculpture of the Madonna with the Siskin dated to the second half of the 14th century, which is currently located in Saint James’s chapel, also comes from the Augustine monastery associated with Ernst of Pardubice. In 1624, when Kłodzko was returned under the administration of the catholic Habsburgs after the Thirty Years’ War, the gothic temple was turned over to the Jesuits, who subjected it to extensive reconstruction. The previously raw interior of the collegiate church was transformed with rich baroque decorations. The main altar (1727–1729), which was created by Wrocław Jesuit Christopher Tausch, is located in the centre. A richly decorated gothic figure of the Madonna made of linden wood in 1450 stands in the altar under the canopy. The galleries hold the busts of the 14 patrons of Kłodzko. The interior decorations created by Michael Klahr the Elder – the pulpit, confessionals, and the organ casing – are of particular value.

We leave the Virgin Mary’s church and go along the former Jesuit college down the street named after the blessed Gerhard Hirschfelder. This German priest, who was the minister of the Kłodzko youth and opponent of national socialism, was arrested in 1941 and sent to the concentration camp in Dachau, where he died.

Our tour of Kłodzko’s religious monuments ends at the late baroque Saint Mary’s column, west of the city hall. The statue of the Virgin Mary was funded in 1680 by councillors, Jesuits, and the head priest of the Różanka parish as a votive offering after the city was struck by a plague and fire. The statue presents Mary standing on a tall column and surrounded by Archangel Gabriel, the Guardian Angel, Saint Joseph, and Saint Florian. There are four saints – patrons of infectious diseases – standing below on corner pedestals: Francis Xavier, Charles Borromeo, Roch, and Sebastian. The statue of a sleeping Saint Rosalia, another patron protecting from plagues, is located in the recess. Saint Mary’s columns were common in the Habsburg Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries. Interestingly, the Kłodzo column was patterned after the one funded in 1650 in Prague, which was destroyed in 1918 by a mob of anti-Habsburg demonstrators.

The most persistent enthusiasts of religious artwork can keep touring to explore for more sculptures, statues, and chapels, of which there are plenty more inside and around the city.