Town hall, Chełmno
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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One of the most valuable examples of Renaissance and Mannerist municipal architecture in northern Poland.

History

The town hall was originally erected somewhere around the year 1298; back in those days, the town hall was a two-storey structure designed on a rectangular floor plan, with a tower on the southern side. The building was subsequently extended substantially and redesigned in the Renaissance style in the years 1567-1572. In the years 1584-1596 a new tower was erected. The tower clock, dating back to the year 1590, is the work of Georg Wilhelm from Toruń. Towards the end of the 17th century, some of the interiors were redesigned. In 1719, the original tower cupola was modified; it was then replaced by a completely new one a mere two years later. In 1743, Jan Roszkowski created the new painted decorations in the Courtroom. The interior layout of the building was partially modified in the years 1835-183, while in 1849 the tower cupola was refurbished. In years 1884-1887, a series of renovation works took place, with the town hall undergoing a partial transformation in the process. The author of this redesign was the architect T.W. Hermann. The building was extended upwards so that it was now a three-storey structure, with new windows being punched through the roof parapet. In the years 1956-1959, a series of conservation works was carried out, during which the remnants of the original, Gothic town hall have been discovered. From 1975 onwards, the edifice has served as the Museum of the Chełmno Region.

Description

The town hall bears the hallmarks of the Renaissance and Mannerist styles, with vestigial remnants of the original, Gothic structure; the tower rising above the town hall is crowned with a Baroque cupola. Situated in the western part of the market square, the town hall faces the east. It is a brick structure, its walls covered with plaster. The town hall is a three-storey building with a basement underneath the southern section, consisting of two chambers featuring vaulted ceilings of the barrel type, with lunettes. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the town hall features a tall tower rising from the centre of its main body. The interior of the edifice follows a three-bay layout. An entrance hall with a staircase is positioned on the axis of the main entrance. Three rooms topped with barrel vaults are located on the ground floor level, in the northern suite of rooms. The square chamber positioned in the middle suite of rooms, right behind the entrance hall, features a double barrel vault. The southern suite of rooms consists of a narrow eastern vestibule and a large room designed on a roughly square-shaped floor plan, positioned on the western side of the building. The vestibule features vaulted ceilings of the double barrel type, while the western room comes equipped with a barrel vault with lunettes. On the first floor, in the northern section of the building, there is a room with remnants of ceiling beams, divided into five smaller rooms at a later date. The layout and vaulted ceilings in the middle and southern sections of the first floor are the same as on the ground-floor level. The former Council Hall is situated in the south-western corner.

The façades of the building feature no architectural divisions, with an uneven number of axes on both storeys; the eastern and western façades follow a five-axial layout on the first-floor level, whereas the northern and southern façade feature a two- and three-axial design respectively.

The ground-floor section of the front façade features four entrance portals in total, although in one of them the door has been replaced by a window; all the other façades at this level are only pierced with small windows with no surrounds, protected by metal grillwork; these windows are not part of the original design and were added in years 1956-1959. At the first-floor level there are large windows framed with decorative surrounds of several different types. A rusticated frieze surmounted by an unusually tall roof parapet runs directly above these windows, with the surface of the roof parapet being pierced by a row of windows providing illumination to the second storey, added in the years 1884-1887. Fragments of pointed-arch blind windows dating back to the Gothic era have been left exposed between the first and the second storey.

The corners of the tower are adorned with plasterwork rustication; the tower walls are pierced with small windows at three levels, although the lowermost windows are not visible from the ground, being concealed beneath the decorative roof parapet. The fourth storey of the tower is occupied by the tower clock. The octagonal cupola of the tower, surrounded by an openwork balustrade, features a two-tier roof lantern and a top section with an outline resembling the shape of a bell or pear; the entire assembly is clad with sheet metal and surmounted by a weathervane with a silhouette of a horse rider.

The building is accessible to visitors.

compiled by Adam Paczuski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Toruń, 27-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce. Vol. XI. Dawne województwo bydgoskie. Issue 4. Dawny powiat chełmiński. Prepared by Teresa Mroczko, published by the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IS PAN), Warsaw 1976
  • Adam Paczuski, Wojciech Romaniak, Dokumentacja historyczno-konserwatorska zespołu staromiejskiego Chełmna, Regional Centre for Research and Documentation of Historical Monuments in Toruń, Toruń 2004 r.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Chełmno
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district chełmiński, commune Chełmno (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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