Palaces, manors and town halls in Poland

Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace is the elegant classicist latest version of a building that has stood on the Krakowskie Przedmieście site since 1643. Over the years, it has been rebuilt and remodeled many times. For its first 175 years, the palace was the private property of several aristocratic families. In 1791 it hosted the authors and advocates of the Constitution of May 3, 1791. It was in 1818 that the palace began its ...
Founded: 1643 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Lazienki Palace

The origins of today’s Łazienki Palace date back to the late 17th century. The Bathhouse was built at the behest of Prince Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, one of the most important politicians, writers and philosophers of the time. The Baroque garden pavilion, designed by the Dutch architect, Tylman van Gameren, was intended as a place for resting, leisure and contemplation. The interiors of the Bathhouse were styliz ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Kraków Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city"s most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978). The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kraków, Poland

Palace of Culture and Science

The Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Poland and the eighth tallest building in the European Union. It is 231 metres tall, which includes a 43-metre high spire. The building was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science, but in the wake of destalinization the dedication to Stalin was revoked. The building was conceived as a 'gift from the Soviet people to the Polish n ...
Founded: 1952-1955 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Antonin Palace

The Antonin property belonged to Prince Antoni Radziwiłł (1775-1833), who married Princess Louise of Prussia, a niece of King Frederick II (Frederick the Great). The prince served as governor of the Grand Duchy of Poznań and resided in the former Jesuit college in Poznań. He spent the spring and summer months of 1821-1826 building his hunting palace in the village of Szperek, which was renamed Antonin in his honour. T ...
Founded: 1824 | Location: Antonin, Poland

Abbot's Palace

The Abbots' Palace (Pałac Opatów w Oliwie) is a roccoco style palace in Oliwa. The first portion of the palace, the 'Old Palace' was constructed in the 15th century. Later, in the first half of the sixteen hundreds a 'New Palace' was added, which served as the residency of the then abbot of the Cistercians, Jan Grabiński. The final additions to the palace were made between 1754 and 175 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Wilanów Palace

The history of the Wilanow Palace, a wonderful Baroque royal residence, began on April 23, 1677, when a village became the property of King John Sobieski III. Augustyn Locci, the king’s court architect, received the task of creating only a ground floor residence of a layout typical for the buildings of the Republic of Poland. However, military successes and an increase of the importance of royalty in the coming years ha ...
Founded: 1677-1696 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Belweder

Belweder Palace is today the residence of President of the Republic of Poland. The present building is the latest of several that stood on the site since 1660. Belweder once belonged to Poland"s last king, Stanisław August Poniatowski, who used it as a porcelain-manufacturing plant. From 1818 it was the residence of Russian Grand Duke Constantine, who fled it at the beginning of the November 1830 Uprising. Afte ...
Founded: 1660 | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Ostrogski Palace

Ostrogski Palace site was bought by Prince Janusz Ostrogski in early 17th century. As the area had been still a suburb of Warsaw and exempted from the laws of the city which prevented the inhabitants from building private fortifications, Ostrogski decided to build a small castle there. For that he financed a bastion on which the manor was to be constructed. However, it was not until after his death that the manor itself w ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Warsaw, Poland

Old City Town Hall

Old City Town Hall in Szczecin is a shingle-roofed hall built for the municipal government in the 15th century.At the time of its construction it was known as the new Town Hall erected at the site of the one built in the previous century. In 1968, the building was brought back to its original look. With care and skill were restored, among others, Gothic ornaments of the interior walls. A sumptuously adorned elevation was ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Szczecin, Poland

Green Gate

The Green Gate (Brama Zielona) is one of the city"s most notable tourist attractions. With the Golden Gate and the Highland Gate, the Green Gate spans the Long Market and Long Street, together comprising the Royal Route. The Green Gate was clearly inspired by the Antwerp City Hall. It was built 1568-1571 as the formal residence of Poland's monarchs. It is a masterpiece by Regnier (or Reiner van Amsterdam), an Amsterd ...
Founded: 1568-1571 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Town Hall

Located in the centre of the Old City Market Square, the monumental Old City Town Hall is one of the biggest and most magnificent town halls in Europe. It is a monument to Toruń"s glory as the former trade empire of Hansa. The construction began in 1274 and it was extended and rebuilt between 1391 and 1399 and extended again at the end of the 16th century. Today Town Hall hosts the District Museum, which is one ...
Founded: 1274 | Location: Toruń, Poland

Main Town Hall

The main headquarters of the Gdańsk History Museum is a Gothic-Renaissance Main Town Hall, dominating the panorama of the Royal Route – the most representative route of the listed part of the city. The origins of the Town Hall, which from the very beginning was the seat of the authorities of the main Gdańsk area, from the 14th century referred to as the Main City, go back to the early Middle Ages. From the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall"s long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant. The town hall was developed over a peri ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Old Town Hall

The 16th-century Renaissance building was once home to the office of the Polish astronomer and city councillor Johann Hevelius, whose statue can be found in the park in front of the building. The former headquarters of the Council of Gdansk, the Old Town Hall served as the headquarters of the Soviet Army during the dying days of WWII, probably because it was practically the only building left standing in the city at the t ...
Founded: 1517 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Brzeg Town Hall

Brzeg Town Hall is a Renaissance building designed by Bernard Niuron built between 1569 and 1577. It is considered to be one of the most important Renaissance monuments in Poland. In addition to its role as the seat of the municipal government of Brzeg, the building houses several other institutions. The first building housing the municipal government in Brzeg already existed in the 14th century but was burned down ...
Founded: 1569-1577 | Location: Brzeg, Poland

Rogalin Palace

Rogalin is primarily famous for its 18th-century baroque palace of the Raczyński family, and the adjacent Raczyński Art Gallery, housing a permanent exhibition of Polish and international paintings (including Paul Delaroche and Claude Monet and the famous Jan Matejko"s large-scale painting Joanna d"Arc). The gallery was founded by Edward Aleksander Raczyński. Rogalin is also known for its putative ...
Founded: 1768-1776 | Location: Rogalin, Poland

Centennial Hall

The Centennial Hall was constructed according to the plans of architect Max Berg in 1911–1913, when the city was part of the German Empire. The building and surroundings is frequently visited by tourists and the local populace. As an early landmark of reinforced concrete architecture, the building became one of Poland"s official national Historic Monuments, as designated April 20, 2005, together with the Four Domes ...
Founded: 1911-1913 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was originally a palace of the Prussian monarchy and today it houses the city museum. Initially a Baroque palace of Heinrich Gottfried von Spätgen, chancellor of Bishop Francis Louis of Neuburg, it was built in 1717 in a Viennese style. In 1750, after Prussia took control over Silesia in the First Silesian War, the palace was purchased by the Prussian king Frederick the Great and was converted into his r ...
Founded: 1717 | Location: Wrocław, Poland

Kamieniec Zabkowicki Palace

1838 Marianne of Orange-Nassau, Princess of the Netherlands, daughter of King William I of the Netherlands and his first wife Friederike Luise Wilhelmine of Prussia, visits for the first time Kamieniec Zabkowicki, which was inherited after her mother. After deciding to build summer residence on its premises, the same year architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel prepares the first draft of the palace. He also involved a young, ...
Founded: 1838-1873 | Location: Kamieniec Zabkowicki, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.