The construction of the Krasiczyn Castle started in 1580, initiated by a local nobleman Stanislaw Siecienski of Siecin, who came to the area from Mazovia. Works lasted for 53 years, and the castle was not completed until 1633, by Marcin Krasicki, son of Stanisław and Voivode of Podolia, who in the meantime had changed his name. Originally, the castle was a fortified stronghold, protecting southern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, Marcin Krasicki, who was regarded as one of the most important promoter of arts in the country, turned the fortress into a sophisticated residence (palazzo in fortezza), under supervision of Italian architect, Galleazzo Appiani. Also, he dubbed the complex Krasiczyn, after his last name. The Krasiczyn castle was built on the site of an older, wooden complex, called Sliwnica, which had probably been built in the 14th century.
Despite numerous fires and wars across the centuries, the castle's complex has been essentially unchanged since the early 17th century. Built as a square, with walls representing all four quarters of the globe, at the corners there are four oval-shaped towers: Divine (Boska), Papal (Papieska), Royal (Krolewska), and Noble (Szlachecka). These names reflected the eternal order of the world, with four grades of authority. The rectangular, spacious court is surrounded to the east and north by living quarters, and to the south and west by walls, adorned with attics. In the middle of the western wall, there is a square-shaped tower of the clock (Zegarowa), added by Marcin Krasicki at the beginning of the 17th century. This tower serves as a main gate, with a wall bridge over the moat.
One of most precious elements of the complex is the chapel, located in the Divine Tower, which has been compared to the Sigismund's Chapel in Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral. Among other interesting things, there are richly sculpted portals, loggias, arcades, and unique sgraffito wall decorations, whose total area is about 7000 square meters. All works were overseen by Italian architects, and the details were completed by craftsmen from nearby Przemysl. The sgraffito depicted Roman emperors, Polish kings, members of the Krasicki family, hunting scenes, and saints of the Roman-Catholic Church. Unfortunately, most of the interior design has been destroyed, mostly by the Red Army soldiers, who were stationed there from October 1939 to June 1941.
Near the castle, there is the Swiss Pavilion, connected with Krasiczyn by a secret passage. Standing also in the adjacent park is the Hunter’s Pavilion, a villa in 'the hunter style'. The park itself is abundant with birds and plants.
After World War II, the Communist government nationalized the complex and set up a high school of forestry in the buildings. In the 1970s, the castle was a property of automobile manufacturer from Warsaw. After the collapse of the Communist system, the castle found a new owner, Warsaw's Industrial Development Agency, which has carried out extensive renovation of the complex. As a result, in 2000, Krasiczyn was added to the association of hotels and restaurants located in historic buildings Currently, Krasiczyn castle is a popular tourist attraction and there are organized sightseeing tours held here.References:
From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.
The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.
At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.
The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.
The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.
Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).
The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.
At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».
The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.