Palace, park and manor farm complex, Drogosze
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Palace, park and manor farm complex



The residential complex in Drogosze, including a monumental, Baroque palace, a vast park combined with artificially composed surrounding landscape as well as the relics of the farm serve as testimony to the greatest artistic achievements in the region. The palace is among the largest and most outstanding manors of the former Eastern Prussia.


Wilkowo Wielkie (the name of the knightly manor used until the construction of the Dönhoffstadt palace, today known as Drogosze) existed as a church village since 1361. At that time it was owned by the Wolfsdorff family, the builders of the Medieval manor house (the appearance of which remains unknown). From 1477 onwards, the manor was owned by the Rauter family. In years 1596 – 1606, Ludwig von Rauter erected a Late Renaissance palace. Despite being a fortified structure, the four-storey palace had a number of impressive decorative features, including an avant-corps projecting from both sides of the palace, crowned with scrolled gables. The bastion fortifications surrounding the palace also encompassed the farm, the palace garden and the animal farm. In 1690, Rautner’s Renaissance palace burned down after a lightning strike. At that time, the manor was already in the hands of Albrecht Fryderyk Dönhoff, a general lieutenant, commander of Klaipėda, closely related to the prince’s court in Königsberg. The monumental Baroque palace situated between the courtyard and garden was built in years 1710 – 1714 by son of Albrecht Fryderyk, Bogusław Fryderyk Dönhoff, who named it Dönhoffstadt. The architect responsible for the design of the palace remains unknown. The design is sometimes attributed to the renowned royal architect Jean de Bodt, the designer of the facade of the Berlin arsenal and the unquestionable author of the design of the now-defunct palace in nearby Friedrichstein (which used to be located in the territory of what is now known as the Kaliningrad Oblast), bearing a striking similarity to the palace in Drogosz, built in years 1709-1714 by the elder brother of Bogusław Fryderyk, Otto Magnus Dönhoff. The authorship of the palace was also claimed by John von Collas, a specialist in water engineering who enjoyed a great reputation in both Berlin and Königsberg. Having served as the construction manager during the construction of the palace, he is believed by some to be the actual designer of the building. The fittings of the magnificent interiors of the palace were created in the 1720s and the 1730s; in 1725 the palace chapel was completed, while in the 1760s the facades were redesigned. In 1785 a forecourt replaced the earlier stairs leading from the courtyard. An impressive formal garden in the Baroque style was established around the palace, decorated with numerous sculptures in years 1715 – 1720. The entire property was surrounded by a vast animal farm. During the 18th and the 19th centuries, the formal garden was transformed into a landscape park with several ponds, park pavilions etc. The last owner from the Dönhoff family in the female line, Wilhelmina Angelika Dönhoff zu Dohna had the the palace chapel redesigned in the Neo-Gothic style in 1830. In 1889, the next owner of the palace, count Udo zu Stolberg-Wernigerode, added a mausoleum with symbolical gravestones of the Dönhoff family from Drogosze line – Angelika (who died in 1866) and her brother Stanisław (died in 1816), adorned with free-standing marble sculptures of the deceased made by a sculptor from Berlin, Eduard August Luersse, as well as modest wall epitaphs plaques of the representatives of the zu Stolberg-Wernigerode line. Next to the residential section of the manor there was a farm incorporating several separate yards and featuring a number of interesting buildings, such as the unusual brick stables, as well as the utility gardens. In 1954-1991 the palace was the seat of the Centre for Farmer Training; today, the palace is in private hands and remains disused.


The palace complex in Drogosze is situated about 25 km to the north-west from Kętrzyn, by the road from Korsze to Barciany, close to the village. It comprises a grand palace located between the forecourt and the garden, relics of buildings of the old farm site and a vast landscape park. An access alley leads towards the palace. The palace itself is a brick structure with plastewred walls, built on a strongly elongated rectangular floor plan, with a twenty seven-axis front facade following a 7+13+7 layout, with a portico on the front axis and an avant-corps projecting from the facade overlooking the park; the main section of the palace follows a two-bay layout, while the narrower wings feature a single-bay layout. The building is a multi-storey structure with a pronounced main body accentuated by a taller mansard roof, the front portico with a giant order Ionic colonnade and the avant-corps in the back section of the palace, overlooking the gardens. The wings of the palace are lower than the middle section and are covered with gable roofs with hip ends. The facades of the main body, the side wings and the avant-corps are accentuated by Ionic pilasters on the corners, profiled cornices and other decorative elements (window surrounds, swags and floral ornaments). The interior features a vestibule positioned on the axis of the building, a staircase and a grand drawing room featuring a domical vault with a flat centre section; the rooms are arranged in an enfilade layout. Parts of the interior decorations of the palace, such as the palace chapel, have survived to this day. The manor is surrounded by a vast landscape park (area of the park together with the animal farm is approx. 90 hectares), its composition based on the main Baroque axis and the diagonal axes which were created at a later date. It consists of a section with an oval driveway and utility gardens on the northern side of the palace which was accessible for carriages, a vast park with traces of the old Baroque formal garden on the southern side of the palace and several ponds, with a total area of approx. 10 ha, as well as an animal farm in the east The park, with its valuable old growth of trees, remains within its historic borders and is linked in visual terms with the surrounding, artificially composed landscape of the manor, with its network of alleys lined with old trees connecting the former manor farms which originally formed part of the manorial complex. The former manor farm buildings such as the Gothic Revival barn are in a very poor state of repair.

Limited access to the building. Private property.

Compiled by Marzena Zwierowicz, 7.12.2014.


  • Dohna U., zu Graefin Gaerten und Parke in Ostpreussen, Herford 1993, p.56-58
  • Jackiewicz Garniec M., Garniec M., Pałace i dwory dawnych Prus Wschodnich, Olsztyn 1999, p. 184-189.
  • Kanon krajoznawczy Warmii i Mazur, S. Harajda, I. Liżewska, K. Młynarczyk (red.), Olsztyn 2010, p.24.
  • Lorck von, C., Landschlösser und Gutshäuser in Ost- und Westpreussen, Frankfurt a m Main 1972, p. 205 -208.
  • Rabczewska N., Osiemnastowieczny pałac Dönhoffów w Drogoszach, „Rocznik Olsztyński”, 1983, t. XIV i XV.
  • Rzempołuch A., Przewodnik po zabytkach sztuki dawnych Prus Wschodnich, Olsztyn 1992, p.60.
  • Rzempołuch A., Architektura dworska w Prusach Książęcych i na Warmii, „Roczniki Humanistyczne”, 2002, t.1. z.4, p.216 – 218.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1596-1606
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Drogosze
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district kętrzyński, commune Barciany
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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