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Pelplin Abbey is predictably the main reason why people come here. It dates back to 1258 and is a huge monastery. It is now a fully functioning cathedral church, and visitors can attend the poignant Sunday service here. Since 1824 the church, known as Pelpin Cathedral (officially the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), has been the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pelplin.
The church of Corpus Christi is on the other side of the road from the main Pelplin Abbey and attracts far fewer visitors. It has a graveyard and is also known as the Church of St. Joseph – it’s definitely worth a look as it’s so close to the main Cathedral.
It is a common pilgrimage for Catholics to make the short walk out of Pelplin to the huge hill and cross dedicated to Pope John Paul II on the edge of town. It makes a wonderful walk in respect of the Polish Pope who once gave a rousing speech here. Views are also stunning as the large cross is at the top of a hill in the countryside, in Polish the hill is known as Góra Jana Pawła II.
For such a small town of just under 10,000 people, it is incredible how many significant and holy things there are to check out here in Pelplin. Not only is there the famous hill where the Pope preached, as well as the Pelplin Abbey, but there’s also one of the only 49 remaining original copies of Gutenberg’s Bible is here in Pelplin. The Bible is inside the Diocesan Museum and is the only one in Poland. It is also the only existing copy in two volumes surviving in its original 15th century binding.
The aforementioned Gutenberg Bible is just one of many interesting exhibits in the town’s famous Diocesan Museum. For those also visiting the main Cathedral, there is a double entry ticket that also includes the Cathedral tour. The museum has two floors and a shop.
Just behind Pelplin Abbey are the Gardens and the Bishop’s Palace of Residence. You can’t really intervene too much or go inside, as it is private, but you can walk around and admire its beauty.
The “Urząd Miasta i Gminy Pelplin”, as it’s known in Polish, is a strong mustard-coloured building on the main street. It acts as the town hall and offices of the local council.
On the main road through the town, a fancy yellow building stands out. Although this is now used as offices and flats, it was once the Pilgrim’s House.
This could be a sweet bit of sightseeing for those who love abandoned buildings. The sugar factory here was quite big and provided lots of jobs for the local population when it was at its peak. The buildings remain but are largely boarded up, though if you chat to the local council and tourist board you can learn more about the history and see the abandoned parts.
Despite being a very holy and religious town, there is still a great pub in town which is perfect for a Saturday night in Pelplin. It’s a small and cosy bar down by the train station. Beers here are from 6 złoty (£1.20), making it a great stop-off if you’re on a budget.
The Collegium Marianum is a cathedral school for educating nuns and also part of the Pelplin Abbey complex. It has a sad recent history though – in 1939, the school was closed by the German Nazis, most of the professors were killed and the building was turned into a German police school. The good news is that it was reopened as a school in the year 2000, and still functions as such today.