Zamosc was founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoysky on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea. Modelled on Italian theories of the 'ideal city' and built by the architect Bernando Morando, a native of Padua, Zamosc is a perfect example of a late-16th-century Renaissance town. It has retained its original layout and fortifications and a large number of buildings that combine Italian and central European architectural traditions.
Morando organized the space within the enceinte into two distinct sections: on the west the noble residence, and on the east the town proper, laid out around three squares. To populate it, Zamysky brought in merchants of various nationalities and displayed great religious tolerance to encourage people to settle there: they included Ruthenes (Slavs of the Orthodox Church), Turks, Armenians and Jews, among others. Moreover, he endowed the town with its own academy (1595), modelled on Italian cities.
Zamość is spoken of as a Renaissance town. However, on the one hand, Morando himself must have had Mannerist training, and on the other, in all the countries of Central Europe (Poland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Hungary, certain German regions and, in part, Austria proper), Italian Renaissance architecture had been well assimilated and adapted to local traditions since the 15th century. Consequently, Zamość was planned as a town in which the Mannerist taste mingled with certain Central European urban traditions, such as the arcaded galleries that surround the squares and create a sheltered passage in front of the shops.
The modem town grew for the most part outside the fortifications, which gives the old town a great degree of coherence in its plan and architecture. Having escaped the vast destruction suffered by many other Polish towns during the Second World War, Zamosc is an outstanding example of Polish architecture and urbanism of the 16th and 17th centuries.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed Zamość as a World Heritage Site in 1992.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.