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:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.