Swidnica : Church of Peace
The Church of Peace was founded by virtue of the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Before the war, the townsfolk of Świdnica were free to follow Luther’s ideas and Lutheran services were held in the town. When the war broke out, the Protestants were deprived of the right to have their own faith and their own churches.
However under the Peace of Westphalia, the Catholic emperor Ferdinand III of Habsburg was obliged by the Swedish to allow the Protestants in the hereditary duchies of Jawor, Głogów, and Świdnica to build one so-called Church of Peace in each duchy. Although the consent of the Habsburgs had many severe restrictions – the Protestants could only build their place of worship outside the town walls, it could not have any towers, and it could only be built from non-durable materials like wood, sand, straw, or clay. The building could not look like a church and the construction works could not last longer than a year.
The church of Peace is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.