Pilate’s Town Hall Chapel and the Gradusy (Holy Stairs) Pavilion
The chapel called Pilate’s Town Hall and the pavilion called Gradusy (Holy Stairs) are located in the village of Bugaj, on the gentle slope of a hill called Moriah. They are two separate buildings erected in the first half of the 17th century, in the Mannerist style. This means that they have many decorative elements.
The Gradusy Pavilion is located in front of the Pilate’s Town Hall chapel, slightly below its level. Between them, there is a small square ended with a stone balustrade on the side of the Holy Stairs.
The Gradusy Pavilion is also known as the Holy Stairs. It is twelve meters long, three and a half meters wide and six meters high. When viewed from the side, the lower edge of the building is diagonal. It rises like a slope. The Gradusy Pavilion is covered with a convex tin roof in the shape of half a horizontal cylinder. The walls are covered with smoothed beige stone blocks. There are doors in both shorter walls. They are framed with semicircular decorative openings, i.e., portals. The front wall of the Gradusy Pavilion is the one located below. Both of its corners are reinforced with buttresses, three meters high. The upper, semicircular edge of the wall is crowned with three vertical decorations, the so-called pinnacles. Two of them are located on the right and left edges. They are shaped like a pyramid topped with a sphere. The third one, in the form of a cube with a sphere, is in the center. The entrance on the opposite side is decorated in the same way. The only thing we will find inside the Gradusy Pavilion are the stairs. The twenty-eight steps are made of dark gray granite. Each has a recess covered with glass, which contains a relic from the Holy Land.
The plan of the Pilate’s Town Hall Chapel is in the form of a Greek cross, with arms of equal length. The arms of the cross forming the chapel are eleven meters long and ten meters wide. The walls of the chapel are six meters high. At the intersection of the arms, above the central part of the chapel, there is a dome covered with a tin roof. Measured at the center, it is four and a half meters in diameter and has the same height. It is topped with a roof lantern, i.e. a small tower-like skylight illuminating the interior. Around the dome, above the arms of the cross, there are four gable tin roofs. They are topped with ridge turrets.
The walls of the Pilate’s Town Hall are covered with smoothed beige stone blocks. The entrance to the chapel, leading from the Gradusy Pavilion, is framed by a semicircular portal. Above that, we can see a gallery with a stone balustrade running along the entire length of the wall. It is supported by four columns. They are placed symmetrically, two on each side. The gallery is covered by a crown-shaped tin roof with a canopy. The crown is in the center, and a canopy extends from underneath it to the sides. There are three baroque figures placed on the gallery: Jesus, Pilate, and a guard. Jesus is wearing a crown of thorns and a robe over his naked body. Pilate has a robe and turban, and the guard – a robe and halberd. Inside the chapel there are three altars with reredos: the main facing the entrance and two side altars. The reredoses are a six-meter-high structure made of red-painted wood and huge paintings. The structure of the reredos is decorated with pilasters, i.e., protruding vertical elements shaped like flattened pillars. There are also cornices and carved stems, leaves and flowers painted silver. The painting in the main altar depicts the Pilate’s court. The painting in the left-side altar shows the crowning with thorns, and in the right-side altar – the flagellation of Christ.
The walls of the chapel are covered with mural paintings – patterns composed of twisting branches with thorns and blue flowers. They also show the instruments of the Passion: lances, pincers, hammers, axes, whips, whips, the ladder, and the cross.