Town hall - Zabytek.pl
Gniew, pl. Grunwaldzki 1
woj. pomorskie, pow. tczewski, gm. Gniew-miasto
Despite having been substantially modified and modernised over the course of centuries, including, in particular, during the 19th century, it remains an important part of the unique medieval urban complex in Gniew (the urban layout of the Old Town and the castle complex).
The construction of the town hall most likely began towards the end of the 13th century, shortly after the town was established in 1297. The initial design of the building is unknown; the town hall might have consisted of two independent structures positioned in parallel to one another. However, from the second half of the 14th century onwards, the town hall most likely already had the form of a quadrangular building with an inner courtyard and a square tower in its south-western corner, as evidenced by the Gothic cellars which have survived underneath the northern, western and southern parts of the building, as well as the outer walls of the basement beneath the tower, since this section of the basement features a square floor plan, while the walls are thicker than other basement walls. At the end of the 16th century, the town hall underwent further alteration works which were most likely linked to the adaptation of the former market hall located on the ground floor level to serve as a Protestant church (in 1596, the parish church, which had been taken over by the Evangelical commune, was returned to the Catholics). During the 18th century, the town hall sprouted a series of annexes which have significantly decreased its aesthetic value and deprived it of its grandeur. During the 19th century, the appearance of the building underwent a radical change, as the eastern wing was torn down and superseded by a new church in 1823. After 1830, the tower followed suit, while in 1836 the town hall also lost its southern wing, with only the cellars and parts of the courtyard facade remaining - these were subsequently used for the purposes of the construction of new residential buildings. In 1852, a master mason known as Obuch prepared a radical redesign of the remaining two wings of the town hall. The changes made included the extension of the front facade through the addition of an arcade as well as the redesign thereof in faux Gothic style. In 1957, the Evangelical church was demolished, as was the residential building in the north-western corner, leaving only the cellars. In 1978, conservation works were performed on the arcade, exposing the Gothic brick walls of the front facade as well as a number of narrow, bricked-up passages which probably served the needs of craftsmen’s stalls that existed here at some point in time.
The town hall is positioned in the centre of the market square, its front facade with arcade facing the north. From the west, south and (partially) from the east the town hall borders on 19th- and 20th-century residential buildings.
The building features original Gothic cellars; fragments of its outer walls (up to the height of 5.5-6.0 metres) as well as parts of the cellar vaults also originate from that period. The building also retains its faux Gothic form.
The town hall consists of two wings (the northern wing and the western wing), forming an L-shaped floor plan. The building features basements as well as partially adapted lofts. An access gate leading into the inner courtyard survives in the western wing.
The northern wing is a two-storey structure covered with a gable roof. The front facade follows a symmetrical design; an arcade (formed by a row of four archways) is positioned on the ground floor level, topped with a groin vault supported by arches. The first-floor facade follows a seven-axis design with windows topped with semi-circular arches. A balcony supported by cast iron brackets and featuring an openwork metal balustrade is positioned on the centre axis of the facade. A knee wall pierced with round blind windows and a clock on the centre axis of the building is positioned above the row of first-floor windows. A decorative crowning cornice with a frieze formed by projecting bricks provides the finishing touch; the corners of the facade are adorned with pinnacle-like turrets. The eastern (gable-end) facade features a symmetrical, two-axis design above the ground floor level; the gable features three narrow windows positioned on the axis, framed by a pair of decorative pinnacle-like turrets.
The western wing features a three-storey design; it is obscured by later developments from both the west and the south. The western facade consists of two sections; the northern section follows a two-axis design with numerous bricked-up openings and a shed roof, while the southern section is a six-axis design with windows topped with segmental arches as well as a gate on the ground floor level. This section of the building features a gable roof. The southern (gable-end) facade is partially obscured by other structures; it is topped with a brick steeple.
The entire structure is made of brick, some of which originates from the Gothic period; the building stands on stone foundations, the bricks of the walls left exposed. The basement walls were constructed using field stones.
Limited access to the historic building. The town hall can be visited during the opening hours of the municipal office.
Complied by: Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 03.09.2013.
Kowalski K.M., Zabytki miasta Gniewu jako świadectwo kultury materialnej, artystycznej i intelektualnej jego mieszkańców od XIII do XIX w., [w:] Śliwiński B. (red.), Dzieje miasta Gniewu do 1939 r., Pelplin 1998, s. 289-291.
Strzelecka I., Gniew, Ossolineum, Wrocław 1982.
Category: town hall
Protection: Register of monuments
Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_22_BK.46528