Palace of the Kraków Bishops, currently the National Museum, Kielce
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Zdjęcie panoramiczne tej lokalizacji jest niedostępne.

Palace of the Kraków Bishops, currently the National Museum



Main body — the only almost complete Polish early Baroque residence dating from the Vasa dynasty, enriched with architecturally consistent wings centuries later. The palace has also retained the original building substance in terms of the roof bonding, façade and interior décor including, but not limited to, Baroque stonework detail, sgraffito decoration, painted decorations on beam ceilings and walls, ceiling stuccowork, plafonds made by Tomasz Dolabella on frame ceilings, portals and fireplaces. The outbuilding has retained the original architectural form and the basic room layouts. In terms of history, the residence is related to the successive bishops of Kraków (primarily with the founder, Bishop Jakub Zadzik), the changing political power, and the development of Polish museology. Its scientific value, which is not fully understood, is raised by quite exact descriptions from 1645, 1668, 1746 and 1788, and abundant iconography.


The main body of the palace with towers was erected on the initiative of Bishop of Kraków Jakub Zadzik in 1637-1641. It was designed probably by Tomasz Poncino, Jan Trevano or Constantino Tencalla. The builder of the palace was Jan Herbek from Szydłowiec; the work was supervised by District Governor Stanisław Czechowski. Before 1668, the wood shingles on the roof were replaced with roof tiles and a new kitchen was erected in the courtyard. In the first half of the 18th century, the palace was extended by adding two outbuildings, which may have been designed by Kasper Bażanka; they were erected on the sides of the front courtyard using components of the older buildings located there (masonry fence and kitchen). The south outbuilding erected under Bishop Konstanty Szaniawski in 1724-1727 connected the palace to the collegiate church; the central part extended by an avant-corps facing the backyard of the north outbuilding built under Cardinal Jan Lipski housed an older kitchen with a cased well. After the secularization of bishops’ property in 1789, over the whole 19th century and almost 20th century the palace housed various offices; in the mid-19th century the south wing was extended by adding a stable to the west. Between 1862 and 1866, the tower cupolas were replaced with flat roofs; the cupolas were reconstructed as early as in the interwar period (according to a design by Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz). In 1937, the vaulted rooms of the southern part of the palace ground floor were adapted for use as a mausoleum of Józef Piłsudski, whose staff stationed at the palace in 1914. Since 1971, the structure has been the seat of the National Museum in Kielce.


The entire palace is built of stone and brick, on a rocky plateau. The multi-storey main body of the palace was situated axially, slightly below the former collegiate church, between the rectangular courtyard and the Italian garden. It was built on the edge of the escarpment sloping down towards the west. The floor plan was enriched by adding four towers, the front of which were connected to the façade by means of screen connectors, whereas the two rear towers were added to the avant-corps widening the garden façade. The symmetrically arranged body of the roof is dominated by two parallel hip roofs. The three-storeyed towers are crowned with openwork cupolas. The nine-axial side-gabled front and rear façades have a symmetrical tripartite layout with central three-arcaded recessed loggias, which correspond to the rhythm of the large rectangular windows on the upper storey. The plastered façades feature a uniform décor including thin cornices, plasterwork corner rustication, sandstone opening surrounds with broken triangular pediments. The front loggia clad with Chęciny marble is surmounted by cartouches bearing coats of arms of the Kraków Chapter, Vasa family, and Bishop Zadzik. The Korab coat of arms of the bishop also adorns the pediments of most window frames. The garden façade of the palace is higher than the front façade by the exposed basement storey and fitted with single-flight stairs to the loggia. The interior on both storeys in the central part consists of two bays. The first floor intended for the eyes of guests housed residential rooms of bishops, upper hallway, table room, guest rooms for senators, prelates and chapel. They were accessed from the loggia via half-landing stairs in the side southern staircase. The front towers of the palace were extended by adding outbuildings placed mirror-opposite to each other (each of them has the shape of an inverted “L”) and on both sides of the backyard. Their long multi-storey sections featuring a one-and-a-half-bay interior layout were covered with gable roofs. Lower corridors have a uniform form of a vaulted cloister open to the courtyard with semicircular arcades supported by pillars.

The structure is open to visitors during the opening hours of the museum; the main body of the palace and the north wing house exhibitions (

compield by Anna Adamczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 14-02-2015.


  • Adamczyk J. L., Wzgórze Zamkowe w Kielcach, Kielce 1991 (Ibid: extensive older bibliography and source list).
  • Adamczyk J. L., Portrety zabytków Kielc, Kielce 2004, pp. 7-8, 18.
  • Karpowicz M., Tomasz Poncino (ca. 1590-1659). Architekt Pałacu Kieleckiego, Kielce 2002.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. II: Województwo kieleckie, J. Z. Łoziński and B. Wolff (eds.), issue 4: Powiat kielecki, prepared by T. Przypkowski, Warszawa 1957, pp. 33-37.
  • Kuczyński Janusz, Oborny Alojzy, Pałac w Kielcach. Przewodnik, Kraków 1981.
  • Lewicki Jakub, Najnowsze odkrycia związane z kielecką siedzibą biskupów krakowskich: Siedziby biskupów krakowskich na terenie dawnego województwa sandomierskiego. Materiały z sesji naukowej - Kielce 20 września 1997, Kielce 1997.
  • Lewicki Jakub, Pałac Biskupów Krakowskich w Kielcach. Przemiany zespołu w latach 1795-1864; “Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego w Kielcach”, vol. 26, Kielce 2011.
  • Sobala M., Dwór Klecki, rezydencja biskupów krakowskich w Kielcach w świetle nieznanego Inwentarza z 1635 roku, “Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego w Kielcach”, vol. 25, Kielce 2010.
  • Pieniążek-Samek M., Nieznane źródło od badań nad pałacem biskupów krakowskich w Kielcach, Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego, vol. 21, Kielce 2003
  • honor domu jego i pamięć. Kilka uwag o dekoracji pałacu biskupów krakowskich w Kielcach, “Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego”, vol. 25, Kielce 2010.
  • Pieniążek-Samek M., Dziedzictwo kultury, [in:] J. Główka (ed.), Kielce przez stulecia, Kielce 2014, pp. 129-134.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1637-1641 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zamkowa 1, Kielce
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district Kielce, commune Kielce
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area