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The Nympheum garden pavilion (otherwise known as the grotto) - Zabytek.pl

The Nympheum garden pavilion (otherwise known as the grotto)

park pavilion Gorzanów


woj. dolnośląskie, pow. kłodzki, gm. Bystrzyca Kłodzka - obszar wiejski

The pavilion (grotto) in Gorzanów is a structure of outstanding artistic value - a unique example of an Early Baroque garden pavilion erected around the mid- 17th century.

The stylistic features of the pavilion correspond to those of other works created by the architects from Northern Italy who remained active in Gorzanów at the time, including as the church, the palace and the chapel of St Barbara. The pavilion also remains one of the most important structures forming part of what is the only Early Baroque complex of its kind which survives in the Kłodzko Region today.


During the Baroque redesign of the palace in Gorzanów, extensive gardens were established east of the palace itself in the years 1660-1680. In the area closer to the palace, a series of terraces were built, accompanied by a large, formal garden with fountains, triumphal arches, obelisks, a grotto, two garden pavilions, an aviary and a shooting range. In the south-western part of the complex, a bosquet was established, featuring an Early Baroque pavilion (grotto) positioned in the middle of the surrounding area. The pavilion was most likely erected in the years 1653-1657, when the alteration works at the palace itself were being conducted. Although a later inscription placed on the dome tholobate indicates different dates (1637-1638 and 1640) as well as the name of the founder - count Johann Friedrich von Herberstein - the entire complex in fact still belonged to the baronial family of von Anneberg at the time stated in the inscription, which means that it is not entirely correct. The pavilion (grotto) is an example of a cross between a typical Italian Nympheum and a German Lusthaus - a garden pavilion designed for leisure purposes; it was erected by the builders employed by the enterprise helmed by Carlo Lurago, based in Prague, for count Johann Friedrich von Herberstein (1626-1701). The building was designed on a plan similar to that of the pavilion by the springs (1570, 1619) in the Schönbrunn gardens near Vienna, its interiors featuring lavish plasterwork decorations. In addition, certain formal solutions applied in the years 1635-1640 or thereabouts in the course of construction of the Náchod Castle in Bohemia have also been used by the pavilion’s designers. The use of figural sculpture and painted decorations has made the pavilion’s interior even more opulent. After 1836, the terrace which had encircled the middle section of the building was removed, with the lower storey now covered with a single, polygonal skirt roof. Later on, during the alteration works conducted in 1884, the lantern positioned atop the cupola was also redesigned, receiving its current form.


The Early Baroque garden pavilion in Gorzanów is a central-plan building with a circular outline, featuring a middle chamber surrounded by small rooms designed to create a feeling of intimacy. The middle chamber originally came equipped with a pool, with small basins also being placed alongside the walls in the outer rooms. One of the outer rooms contained a staircase leading up to the terrace above. The pavilion features a rather monumental outline, its walls pierced with openings topped with semicircular arches and partitioned with pilasters supporting the entablature above; a blind balustrade of the former terrace rises directly above the entablature. The remaining sections of the façade are enlivened by large blind windows surmounted by blind oculi - an arrangement similar to that of the chapel of St Barbara in Gorzanów. A roof lantern with a bulbous cupola rises above the polygonal skirt roof that replaces the original rooftop terrace. The main, central chamber features a cupola ceiling, with groin vaults and cloister vaults with a flat centre section being used for the outer rooms. The pavilion interior, designed to resemble a natural grotto, features a striking profusion of decorations not dissimilar to those which grace the sala terrena at the Gorzanów palace. Architectural plasterwork decorations set the tone for the entire design, their arrangement being fundamentally atectonic in nature, with portals, niche surrounds, cornices, herms and roll-mouldings made of laurel leaves, the latter emphasising the groins of the vaulted ceiling above. The remaining parts of the walls, vaulted ceilings and the central cupola are populated by cartouches and plafonds in decorative frames, grotesque motifs, figural motifs in the form of Nereids, Tritons, seahorses, satyrs and putti, heraldic decorations with figural supporters as well as garlands of flowers and fruit suspended from ornamental draperies. The entire design is supplemented by slag cladding designed to imitate raw volcanic tuff, figural sculptures and painted decorations adorning the plafonds.

Private property — the structure can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Iwona Rybka-Ceglecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 01-07-2015.


  • Album der Graffschaft Glatz oder Abbildungen der Städte, Kirchen, Klöster, Schlösser und Burgen derselben von mehr als 150 Jahren, herausgegeben von Fr. Aug. Pompejus, Glatz (1862), collection of the National Museum in Wrocław.
  • Brzezicki S., Nielsen Ch., Grajewski G., Popp D. (ed.), Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006
  • Kalinowski K., Architektura barokowa na Śląsku w drugiej połowie XVII wieku, Wrocław - Warsaw - Cracow - Gdańsk 1974.
  • Kurze geschichtliche Nachrichten zum Album der Grafschaft Glatz, Glatz (1862).
  • Patzak B., Die Badegrotte des Grafenortes Schlosses, Guda Obend 1932.

Category: park pavilion

Architecture: Baroque

Building material:  brick

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_02_BL.100013, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_02_BL.18429