Municipal Archives, Kraków
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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A relatively small corner building which hides inside one of the most valuable archival complexes in Central Europe. It is looked after by the National Archives in Cracow, the successor of acclaimed institutions of various names but one function.

History

The building of archives is the former hospital for the poor of St Roch. It was built in the years 1759-1761, founded by archpresbyter of the St Mary’s Church Jacek Łopacki, as a homeless shelter, a pious creation of the parish of St Mary. The hospital was designed by Francesco Placidi. During the Bar Confederation (1768) the building was taken over by Russians and used as a military hospital; in 1790, Cracow authorities also organised a hospital there. In the period of autonomy, after a full-scale renovation and adaptation, it was used by the Municipal Savings Bank of Cracow. After the Bank was moved to a new building, the building of archives was handed over - in stages - to the municipal archives (Archives of Old Acts of the City of Cracow). As part of the first stage, as of 1887, some rooms at the ground floor level were handed over, as of 1891 - the whole ground floor, and as of 1906 - the whole building. In 1896, the Archival Magistrate Committee approved an interior conversion plan prepared by municipal architect Stefan Żołdani for the purposes of Archives and a Municipal Museum. In 1904-1910, the tenement house was renovated. In the basement, there was a storehouse of archival collection, on the ground floor: room of the Historical Museum of the City of Cracow, two rooms with manuscripts, room with collections of Ambroży Grabowski, room of the Archives of the Legions and the Supreme National Committee, and room of the Senate of the Republic of Cracow. In the building, there was also a seat of the Society of the Friends of History and Historic Monuments of Cracow. In 1952, the municipal archives were incorporated in the structure of the National Archives existing since 1936, a successor of the old Land Archives (since 1918), established in 1878 as the Archives of Municipal and Land Acts in Cracow. Today, the building houses part of the storehouses, a reading room, and offices.

Description

The corner tenement house at the intersection of Sienna Street and św. Krzyża Street is a two-storey building with a modest, weakly articulated wall decoration, covered with a mansard roof with decorative dormers. The figure of St Roch, standing at the corner of the building, reminds about the original purpose of the house. The interior can be accessed by an entrance framed by a straight stone portal. Inside, an internal yard with a well, coming probably from the times of construction of the tenement, has survived, and a Modernist sculpture-fountain, cut in red sandstone in 1929. It depicts Krak fighting the dragon and was made by Franciszek Kalfas (1898-1968), member of the “Zwornik” Association of Artists.

Only part of the building is accessible (study room, hall, administration), in the working hours of the Archives.

compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 20-03-2015.

Bibliography

  • M. Rożek, Przewodnik po zabytkach i kulturze Krakowa, Kraków 1993
  • Fabiański M., Purchla J., Historia architektury Krakowa w zarysie, Kraków 2001
  • Encyklopedia Krakowa, Warszawa - Kraków 2000.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 2 po. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Sienna 16, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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