The court of the Fraternity of St George, Gdańsk
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The court of the Fraternity of St George

Gdańsk

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The court of the Fraternity of St George constitutes one of the most excellent examples of Late Gothic secular architecture in Gdańsk and remains an important symbol of the knightly aspirations of the local patriciate.

History

The court was erected in years 1487-1494 by Hans Glothau. The ground floor was used as an armoury, while a grand meeting hall was located on the first floor. In 1566, the roof was embellished with a cupola and a statue of St George . At some point around the year 1591 a series of alteration works were performed, with the windows being enlarged and the facades covered with plaster and then embellished with wall paintings. In 1647, the marksmen’s association abandoned the building; its interiors were subsequently converted to accommodate the needs of a merchants’ chamber. In 1798, the municipal authorities took over the administration of the court. During the early 19th century, the ground floor served as a guardhouse, while the first floor were occupied by a college of fine arts; in order to serve the purposes of the latter, the tall, spacious interiors were split horizontally into two separate storeys. From the 1880s to the early 20th century, the building underwent a series of renovation and conservation works, including the restoration of the original brick facades and the installation of a copy of the rooftop statue which had been taken down during an earlier period; the window traceries were modified, while a 16th-centiry portal, relocated from what is now known as Długa street, was installed in the defensive wall adjoining the court. In 1945 the roof of the building was destroyed; part of the eastern wall has collapsed and the interiors were gutted by fire. In years 1950-1953 the building was restored and adjusted to the needs of the Association of Polish Architects. In years 1999-2000, comprehensive conservation works were carried out (treatment of wall damp, reinforcement of the structure, replacement of missing sections of exterior wall cladding, conservation of stone detailing). In 2004, the ground floor and basement were adapted to serve as a restaurant (the Cellar of St George).

Description

The building is positioned in the south-eastern corner of the Coal Market, adjacent to the Golden Gate - the main entrance to the medieval city of Gdańsk. The Late Gothic building has a number of faux-military features typical of the architecture of Flanders. The distinctive spatial layout of the court is reminiscent of the patrician tower houses of Rheinland. The building was erected on a square plan inside the so-called zwinger (an area between two defensive walls). It is a compact, two-storey structure with a basement. The building is covered with a tented roof crowned with an octagonal turret with a lantern and cupola, topped with the statue of St George. The walls are made of brick (Gothic bond); the roof is clad with roof tiles, while the domes are covered with copper sheets. The basements features barrel vaults, with wooden ceilings used for both the ground floor and the first floor. The facade is partitioned vertically using profiled pillars which reach all the way to the upper frieze, dividing the walls into four or two deep niches respectively, each niche topped with a pair of arches with a corbel in the centre. All facades are crowned with battlements and feature overhanging corner turrets with embrasures. The ground floor windows come in a variety of shapes, with the western and northern windows featuring semi-circular arches with profiled bar tracery. The first floor features large rectangular windows, each of them topped with a stone cornice. The eastern facade features an overhanging, cylindrical staircase section. The eastern part of the southern facade is obscured by the Golden Gate building. The ground floor interior layout was modified and no longer resembles the original design; the first floor features a single, grand hall, its walls adorned with arcaded niches topped with dual arches. The original statue of St George has survived and is now displayed at the National Museum in Gdańsk.

Limited access to the historic building. The building can be viewed from the outside; the ground floor and basement are also accessible as a restaurant is now located there.

Compiled by Krystyna Babnis, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 14.07.2014.

Bibliography

  • Friedrich J., Gdańskie zabytki architektury do końca XVIII w., Gdańsk 1997, s. 194-196.
  • Massalski R., Dwór Bractwa św. Jerzego, [w:] Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce. Miasto Gdańsk, cz. 1: Główne Miasto, Warszawa 2006, s. 61-63.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Targ Węglowy 27, Gdańsk
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Gdańsk, commune Gdańsk
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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