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 1756, and were funded by another Cistercian abbot, Jacek Rybiński.
After the partitions of Poland the area became part of Prussia, in 1831 real estate of the Cistercians was secularized and the palace became property of the House of Hohenzollern. From 1796 until 1836 the Bishops of Ermland (Warmia), Karl von Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Joseph von Hohenzollern-Hechingen resided in the Palace. It remained empty until 1869 when Maria Anna von Hohenzollern-Hechingen, niece of Joseph, took up residence there. After her death in 1888 the ownership of the palace was taken over by the city of Oliva, which used it for offices and apartments.
During the interwar period of the Free City of Danzig the palace contained a museum which housed exhibitions on the history of the region. The director in charge of the of the museum was a Nazi activist named Erich Keyser.
In 1945, at the end of World War II (during which time it served as an arms depot) it was set on fire by German troops who sought to clear the terrain in front of the advancing Red Army. The palace was rebuilt in 1965 through the efforts of the Pomeranian Museum in Gdańsk. It initially served as the ethnographic department of the museum. In 1972 the Museum was elevated to a status of a National Museum.
Since 1989 the palace contains the Department of Modern Art of the Polish National Museum in Gdańsk. In February 1990 a special gallery devoted to contemporary Polish art was established. Permanent exhibitions include works by Polish artists from 19th and 20th century (painting, sculpture and ceramics). It also houses the 'Promotional Gallery' which exhibits works by young artists.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.