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:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.