Park (part of the palace and park complex of the Branicki noble family), Choroszcz
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Park (part of the palace and park complex of the Branicki noble family)

Choroszcz

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Designed during the Baroque period, this summer residence with its unusual, cruciform water canal was modelled after the French parks of the late 17th and early 18th century.

History

The lands around Choroszcz were acquired by the Branicki noble family in the early 18th century, with Jan Klemens Branicki inheriting the manor in the mid-18th century. It was here that the wealthy nobleman chose to erect a summer house for himself, located at the northern edge of the town. In years 1725-1730, the first, brick palace was erected on an islet at the southern end of the canal. However, in 1757 this building had to be torn down due to the severe damage to its structure caused by moisture; two years later, it was replaced by a completely new building, its design modelled after that of its predecessor. The design of the entire complex was rigidly symmetrical, its appearance modelled after that of a typical entre cour et jardin - a type of palace complex popularised by the French, with the palace itself preceded by the cour d’honneur and the avant-cour (forecourt), accessed through a gate flanked by the guardhouse and the utility building. In years 1748-1756, the existing garden was transformed into a new, Baroque park. A recreational space known as the garden salon was created ahead of the garden façade of the palace, surrounded by a pergola and intersected by the water canal, with decorative flower parterres providing the finishing touch. A new, transverse canal was also added, as was a number of footpaths radiating away from the canal crossing, each featuring an architectural feature at the end which served as the terminating vista. A round hill surrounded by a line of trees and surmounted by a small pavilion was formed at the end of the main view corridor. Additional decorative features included various gazebos, sculptures, gates and other pieces of garden architecture. An Italian garden was established in the western part of the park, where visitors were also treated to a number of ponds and a basin with a water cascade. Ricaud de Tirregaille, a professional engineer who created the plan for the entire complex, oversaw the additional garden and hydro-engineering design works until the year 1758. The spatial rearrangement of the complex was completed somewhere around the year 1764. After the death of Izabela Branicka in 1808, however, the glory days of the residence were slowly coming to an end. During the 1820s, the manor ceased serving as the residence of its owners and was rented out. In 1840, the manor was first rented and then acquired by Chrystian August Moes, who replaced the former grange with a textile factory. In the 1860s, Moes extended the palace and ordered the canal encircling the islet in which it stood to be filled with earth. From the onset of World War I onwards, the park was forced to endure a long period of neglect. Following the reconstruction of the palace in the 1970s, the park has remained under the administration of the Podlasie Museum. In years 1982-1985, the system of watercourses leading across the park was reconstructed and subjected to various maintenance works.

Description

The palace and park complex is situated in the north-western part of the town of Choroszcz. The total surface area of the park is approximately 26 hectares; the Horodnianka river serves as the western boundary of the park, with arable fields and allotment gardens located on the northern and eastern side of the complex respectively. The southern section of the complex borders with a playing field and the site of the local hospital. The palace itself can be accessed from the east, by travelling down a former park avenue, as well as from the south, where the access road was originally located. The most important part of the park is the cruciform canal as well as the network of footpaths radiating away from the canal crossing; these are supplemented by the alleys leading alongside the banks of the main canal. The palace, positioned on the quadrangular islet at the southern end of the canal, can be accessed by crossing the bridge which spans the southern section of the moat. The main canal, positioned on the middle axis of the palace, leads into a broad walking path which ends with a hill located at the northern edge of the entire complex. The western end of the transverse canal widens to form a quadrilateral body of water, with an islet overgrown with trees situated in the middle. A pair of ponds - an oval and a quadrangular one - are positioned between the arms of the cruciform canal, in the south-western part of the park. On the north-eastern side of the complex there is a round water pond which replaces the former enclosed space within the garden habitually referred to as the “cabinet” or “salon” due to the French tendency to view gardening as a branch of architecture. A trio of ponds added during the 1980s can be found in the south-eastern part of the park. Two bridges span the transverse canal, with a single bridge connecting the banks of the main canal.

The historical complex is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 22-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Dąbrowska A., Pałac w Choroszczy jako rezydencja fabrykanta (1840-1915, [in:] Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego, Białystok 2000, issue 6, pp. 69-80;
  • Choroszcz. Zespół pałacowo-parkowy. Dokumentacja historyczna, compiled by E. Żyłko, Warsaw 1962, typescript PPKZ, collection of the Regional Monument Protection Office in Białystok.
  • Choroszcz. Studium historyczno-przestrzenne parku przy pałacu Branickich, ob. Muzeum Wnętrz. Prepared by A. Walkiewicz, Białystok 1989, typescript of the Historical Monument Conservation Workshop, available in the collection of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Białystok.

General information

  • Type: park
  • Chronology: 1725-1764
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Z. Brodowicza , Choroszcz
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district białostocki, commune Choroszcz - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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