Kórnik - Castle and Park Complex together with Parish Church - a Burial Ground of the Owners, Kórnik
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Kórnik - Castle and Park Complex together with Parish Church - a Burial Ground of the Owners

Kórnik

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Kórnik and its demesne (also including the town by 1458) were once owned by the eminent families of Greater Poland (Wielkopolska). The original castle belonging to the Górka family was founded in the latter half of the 14th century by Wyszota of Kórnik, brother of Mikołaj, Bishop of Poznań. The brick-built fortress with stone foundations was raised on an artificial mound encircled by a moat, and was of irregular quadrangular layout. In the second half of the 18th century Teofila Potulicka née Działyńska modernised the residence in French style. In 1819 the castle became the property of Tytus Działyński, who began his plans for its remodelling by commissioning a design from Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The German architect’s reshaping of the castle was inspired by the then modern romantic English Gothic style. Comprehensively remodelled in 1845-1860, the castle-palace stands on an island surrounded by a wide moat. In keeping with the wishes of its owner, it was adapted for use as a museum and library, whilst at the same time being given the appearance of a defended structure: crenellations and decorative towers were added to its walls. A bridge was also raised across the moat.

Kórnik is the only magnate’s residence in Greater Poland to survive entirely intact. The castle’s rooms (the striking Black and Mauritanian Rooms in particular) are filled with furniture, paintings (among them works by Artur Grottger, Jan Piotr Norblin, and Marcello Bacciarelli), artistic handicraft items, ethnographic collections and hunting trophies. The display cases contain national memorabilia, old silverware, porcelain, faience, and historic textiles. Valuable pieces of furniture include 17th- and 18th-century Gdańsk and Breton wardrobes, inlaid and marquetry decorated cabinets, bureaux and dressers. There are also numerous examples of the art of goldsmiths (chalices, beakers, tankards, silverware, cutlery, snuffboxes and religious items) and jewellers (buttons, belts, jewellery, signet rings, seal settings and watches). A valuable collection of arms and armour has also been amassed, its highlights including a complete suit of 17th-century Hussar’s armour, 16th-century Gothic armour, 17th-century Hussar’s lances, Polish sabres, 16th-century hunting crossbows, 18th-century maces and pistols, and 17th-century rifles. Part of the castle also houses the Kórnik Library - an acclaimed national cultural treasure. The library collection, started by the Działyńskis, numbers around 350,000 volumes, the most important being 30,000 items of early printed matter (15th-18th century) and the manuscript collection (the 15,000 texts were found to include the third part of Dziady by Adam Mickiewicz), which is one of the most valuable in Poland. The palace also commemorates Władysław Zamoyski, a great patriot and philanthropist. Having inherited Kórnik from the Działyńskis, he developed and modernised it. In 1889, he privately financed the purchase of part of the Tatra Mountains (including Morskie Oko) from the Hungarian government. In 1925 he donated his Tatra properties together with Kórnik Castle and its contents to the Polish nation, creating a foundation known as Zakłady Kórnickie.

Today, the castle belongs to the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). The building is surrounded by an 18th-century geometrical park and a landscape park, which incorporates an arboretum created in 1830 by Tytus Działyński, and taken over in 1953 by PAN. It is currently the largest dendrological park in Poland (49 hectares, 4000 species of tree and shrub). The 18th-century pavilion houses a dendrological museum with a surprising collection of pinecones. The palace complex also includes late Baroque outbuildings dating from the mid-18th century and 1791, as well as farm buildings from the latter half of the 18th century and first half of the 19th century. The town boasts a Gothic parish church (All Saints), founded in the first half of the 15th century by the Górka family. This brick-built edifice, encircled by a wall, later became the burial ground for the masters of Kórnik. Its extant features include the late Renaissance tombstones of the Górka family (16th century), and the family crypts of the Działyńskis and Zamoyskis.

General information

  • Type: residential comlpex
  • Chronology: 1. poł. XV - 1. poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: Historical Monument
  • Address: Kórnik
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district poznański, commune Kórnik - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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