Castles, palaces and manors of the Great Poland on the World Wide Web is an attempt to organize and offer many sites in the Great Poland where you can find this residences. My love for these residences began when I started to visit my friend outside Poznan. I did many tours and I found these buildings in almost every village, small town and city.
Castles, palaces and manors in the Great Poland count more than 800. In this site, you can find some of them. Presently, some of numerous castles, palaces and manors are turned into museums, contain rich collections of furniture, pictures, products of artistic handicrafts, porcelain, arms and armour. Some of these buildings are house government offices, agricultural institutions, colleges and hotels. Some of them open for visits, meetings, receptions. Some of them are private-owned and not open to the public. Other residences are in ruine (I don’t present them). I include short description of residences which I visited. I intend to present a site as complete as I am able to find some information in literature. So this site will regulary increase and bring more detailed information on castles, palaces and manors. Every description includes 5 parts:
L o c a t i o n
H i s t o r y
C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n
P a r k
P r e s e n t - d a y
The Great Poland (Wielkopolska)
- geographical and historical background
The western-central part of Poland as a historical and geographical unit is composed of the Great Poland region. River Warta winds its way trough the central part of the region. On the river is sighted the town of Poznan, the biggest city of the Great Poland and the capital of the whole region. The Great Poland region lies on the plain. However, in places it abounds in post-glacial hills, lakes and forests. Some of the morainic hills reach the altitude of 50-100 metres above sea level, the highest of them is Gontyniec Hill (191 m a.s.l.) near Chodziez. The southern boundary of the region bordering upon Silesia is lined with the Ostrzeszowskie Hills, the highest of which is Mount Kobyla Gora (282 m a.s.l.). Strings of lakes are found near Wolsztyn, Sierakow, Chodziez, Poznan and Gniezno. Larger forest complexes are situated in the northern part of the region, especially near Miedzychod (the Notecka Forest).
Young Glacial landscape
of the Great Poland Lakeland
The Great Poland is the oldest part of Poland from the historical point of view, sometimes it is called the cradle of the Polish state. The independent Polish state came into existence in the 10th century, during the reign of Prince Mieszko I. But the unification process bringing together the Slav tribes inhabiting the area started already in the 8th century. Polish recorded history began in 966 AD, when the pagan Slavs were converted to Christianity. Near Gniezno and Poznan, the state of Polanie was founded in the 10th century, thus starting the one thousand year history of Poland. In the late 10th century, Prince Mieszko I raised Poznan to the rank of the state's capital.
The Warta Valley near Sierakow
The region lies at the crossing of important trading routes leading from the North to the South and from the West to the East The wars in the 17th-18th centuries hindered the development of the country, the number of its inhabitants dropped considerably. By the end of the 18th century, as a result of the Partitions of the Polish state, this territory fell under the Prussian rule. In the second half of the 19th century the German government initiated a systematic germanization of the Great Poland which was the beginning of so called Longest War of Present-Day Europe, a war for land, commerce, culture and language. The Poles stood fast against the Germans on both economic and cultural fields: numerous Polish banks and rural organisations were established. The larger part of Great Poland returned to the mother-country in 1919, as a result of the Great Poland Uprising which began in Poznan on 27 December 1918. At present this region is one of the best developed areas of Poland.
Residences of the Great Poland
The Great Poland is crowded with valuable monuments of ecclesiastical and secular architecture, representing all styles. In the countryside one can often come across fine examples of timber structures, such as shapely old-style wind-mills, churches and belfries.
Defensive castles became an integral part of Polish landscape in 14th century. In 15th and 16th centuries, castles and also palaces served as the official residences of the country's lords and bishops. From 17th century the landed aristocracy started to build their houses: palaces, villas or manors.
Poland's turbulent history (before and after II world war) has reduced many palaces and castles into piles of rubble. Some of them, however, have been spared and today, restored - continue to enchant us with their beauty.
Castles, palaces and manors can provide us with the best possible, most descriptive of history and architecture lesson, presenting the authentic scenery of past events and offering an insight into the everyday reality of days gone by. They can delight as a part of overall view of the landscape or with the magnificence of their architecture, or they can inspire us with the richness of their museum. And this is why they are so popular and I have a fascination for them. Touring the Great Poland along the trail of those historical residences might be an exciting experiences. Enthusiasts of strongholds will admire the Gothic castles, while lovers of Renaissance architecture - the 16th century palaces, and who enjoy simplicity - Neo-Classicism residences. Enthusiasts of horse-riding can mount at will or visit anyone of the many stud farms in the region (often connected with palace): Sierakow, Czerniejewo, Pasadowo, Racot, Iwno, Uzarzewo and Kobylniki or others.
beautiful castles, palaces and manors
Kornik, located in the vicinity of Poznan, is a small town situated 20 km south-east from Poznan. A 14th century castle built by the Gorka family owns its present English Neo-Gothic shape (arch. Karol Schinkel) to Tytus Dzialynski, a great patriot fighting for the independence of Poland in the 18th-19th centuries. He was the one who much enlarged the collection of art known as the Kornik collections. In 1924 Wladyslaw Zamoyski, descendent of the Dzialynski family, donated the Kornik lands to the Polish state, thus creating the so-called Kornik Foundation. At present the Kornik castle is considered to be a very interesting museum with valuable collections of historical and national mementoes, Polish and foreign arms and armour, precious paintings by Grottger, Norblin, Bacciarelli, copies of Rubens' works, period furniture representing different epochs and styles. The famous Kornik library contains over 350,000 volumes, books, old prints, manuscripts, among them one by Napoleon Bonaparte. The castle's large park-arboretum comprises over 2,500 species and varieties of trees and shrubs, the largest collection of that kind in Poland.
The village of Rogalin on River Warta, 20 km south from Poznan, has a magnificent park with ancient oaks and a Rococo-Neo-Classical palace which houses a large exhibition of 18th and 19th century interiors. In the palace rooms you will find lovely 17th and 18th century tapestries, French and Flemish arrases, and Meissen porcelain. In a separate building is a gallery of Polish and foreign painting from the 19th and 20th centuries. The palace is a branch of the National Museum in Poznan.
Historical town of Rydzyna used to be a seat of the famous Polish noble family of Leszczynski in the 17th-18th centuries. Maria Leszczynska became a wife of King Louis XV of France. Now the Baroque residence of the Leszczynski family comprises a hotel and a restaurant; some writers and other artists use the residence as a working place.
20 km north from Kalisz is the village of Goluchow with a large landscape park and a beautiful Renaissance castle containing a valuable collection of art. At present a branch of the National Museum in Poznan. 60 km farther, near Zerkow, at the village of Smielow stands a Classicist palace which houses a museum devoted to the greatest Polish poet, Adam Mickiewicz.
The hunting palace in Antonin, the property belonging to one of the richest and well-known aristocratic families in the XIXth century Poland, was built by Prince Antoni Radziwiłł in 1822-24, according to Karol Fryderyk Schinkel's design. Schinkel, the most outstanding architect of Romanticism in Germany, created the remarkable and highly original work, delighting both because of its architecture and position in the woodland park.
Antonin is brightened by the fame of the palace of particularly favourable to artists. This fame is derived from the atmosphere which existed here in the times of Princes Antoni, who himself was a composer and patron of music, as well as from the two visits of young Frederic Chopin.
I thank you for your interest in these witnesses of our rich past and
to visit my collection of residences in the Great Poland.
Poznań, December 1996