Manor house complex, Kraków
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Manor house complex

Kraków

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A particularly noteworthy component of the complex is a residential tower of 1603, a fine example of the late Renaissance fortified manor, built by Jan Branicki, probably according to the design by Santi Gucci. The complex is situated in a picturesque location on the edge of the Vistula’s old valley.

History

The settlement of Branice first appears in the written records in 1250. From its foundation until the end of the 18th century, the village was owned by the Gryfit family (only in the 15th century, it was in pledge with the Kraków's patrician family of Wierzynek). In 1360 it was granted the town rights under Środa Śląska Law. It was the family seat of the Branickis (also known as the Rusieckis after the nearby estate of Ruszcza). Among the preserved medieval relics, there is a wooden epitaph of Wierzbieta of Branice (d. 1425), with the Griffin and Leliwa coats of arms brought from the church in Ruszcza to the National Museum in Kraków. In the Middle Ages and in the early modern times, the Branickis occupied the offices of castellans and governors in Małopolska; they accumulated wealth and land and married into other noble families (e.g. the Tarłos). But it was only in the 2nd half of the 17th century when they were accepted into the aristocratic elite. The idea of ​​extending the residence is attributed to Jan Branicki of the Griffin coat of arms (d. 1611) who acted as the starost of Niepołomice in the years 1585-1611, the Master of the Royal Hunt in Kraków in the years 1586-1611, the castellan of Żarnowiec in the years 1603 and castellan of Biecz in the years 1603-1611. In 1588 Branice, during the interregnum, was seized and looted by Andrzej Stadnicki of Dubiecko, Branicki’s enemy and supporter of Archduke Maximilian. In the 17th century, the Branickis left the small tower and moved into a manor house (no longer existing). Out of the outbuildings, only a granary has survived, located opposite the entrance gate. At the turn of the 17th century, Branice and several neighboring villages became the property of the Badenis. They purchased them, after the childless death of Hetman Jan Klemens (III) Branicki, from the widow Izabela Elżbieta nee Poniatowska, the sister of King Stanisłaus Augustus. The symbolic breaking of the heraldic shield accompanying the funeral ceremony of the last of the House of Gryfit did not erase the Branickis’ from the historical scene as they were substituted by the Branickis of the Korczak coat of arms from the Lublin region. Branice was purchased by Marcin Badeni, the royal chamberlain. The property remained in the hands of the less renowned (at least in the 19th century) line of the family with, for example, Kazimierz Badeni, the governor of Galicia and the Prime Minister of Austria. In 1951 the village was incorporated into Kraków, and some of its land used as the location of a metallurgical plant. In 1959 the complex was transferred to the Archeological Museum in Kraków as a storage for the museum collections. The renovation continued for 10 years: the manor house was rebuilt and upgraded. It serves as a storage of historical exhibits. The granary building has been thoroughly renovated.

Description

The Branickis’ residence was improperly referred to as “the granary”. It was built on a hill sloping towards the Vistula lowland extending from the south. It was surrounded by a garden. Probably, other residential or farm buildings were located in the vicinity, but they have not survived even as remnants. The so-called granary was the main, representative seat of the Branickis not without the defensive features. Its foundations date back probably to the early 17th century when it served as a defensive and residential tower. Today's shape of the building probably comes from ca. 1603 after the hall was added to the stand-alone body. To modernize his family residence, Jan Branicki involved the Kraków workshop of Santi Gucci. The building was erected on a rectangular plan, almost square, with the longer sides of 11.45 m and the shorter sides of 9.80 m. It has tripartite basement, barrel vaulted, built of quarry stone. The floor level, built of bricks laid in a “Polish” style, is occupied by a hallway with stairs leading to the upper floor and a large room covered with a lunette vault. The sunk roof was enclosed with an attic with arcades and a crenellation cresting. The wealth of form and content and the high level of sculptural detail are also visible in the late Renaissance interior. The artistry of Santi Gucci’s masters is seen in the late Renaissance decor of the grand chamber on the first floor. Particularly worth noticing is the fireplace bearing the date of 1603. Its framing and top are decorated with bas-reliefs in the panels of the Pińczów stone. The jambs are herm pilasters resting on animal, clawed paws. They support the volutes of Ionic capitals, on which the entablature is set, decorated with a cornice and a heraldic cartouche. The cartouche is filled with five coats of arms: Jastrzębiec and Nowina at the top, Gozdawa and Pobóg in the bottom, and Sulima in the middle. Also richly ornamented is the fireplace extension reaching to the ceiling. Its center is occupied with a heraldic cartouche with the representations of the Kotwicz, Griffin and Zabawa coats of arms. Next to the fireplace, there is a masterfully carved portal. The whole doorway surround is made of the stone of Pińczów. The portal cornice is decorated with the acanthus leaves and a volute. Placed in the middle of the cornice, the heraldic cartouche bears the Griffin coat of arms belonging to the heirs of Branice. Around the shield, there is an inscription IDRBCZCN meaning: Ioannes de Ruszcza Branicki, Castellanus Zarnowiensis, Capitaneus Niepolomicensis (Jan of Ruszcza Branicki, Castellan of Żarnowiec and Starost of Niepołomice). Near the granary, there is a classicistic manor house from the 1st half of the 19th century. The brick, one-storey building was erected on a rectangular plan in a two-bay layout. The house has a colonnaded portico from the drive side, and an avant-corps from the garden. The house is covered with a high hip roof. Inside, there are three classicistic fireplaces. In front of the building, there is a driveway. Along its sides, outbuildings were situated perpendicular to the house. They were demolished in the 1960s.  The residential complex in Branice is surrounded by a garden (approx. 6 ha) with the visible remains of the layout of a scenic park.

The archaeological exhibition and the manor house are available: Monday-Friday 10:00am-2:00pm. In addition, on Saturdays and Sundays (from May to October): 2:00pm-6:00pm.  

Compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kraków, 12.08.2014.

Bibliography

  • Gadomski J., Gotyckie malarstwo tablicowe w Małopolsce 1420-1470. 1981.
  • Jakimowicz T., Dwór murowany w Polsce w wieku XVI, Warszawa-Poznań 1979.
  • Kajzer L. Kołodziejski S., Salm L, Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2001.
  • Lempart M., Zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty. Ruszcza i Branice, Kraków 2009.
  • Marcinek R., Dwory, zamki, pałace, Kraków 2002.
  • Słownik historyczno-geograficzny województwa krakowskiego w średniowieczu, Cz. I, zesz. 1, oprac. Zofia Leszczyńska-Skrętowa, Franciszek Sikora, Ossolineum, Wrocław 1980, zesz. 2.
  • Szablowski J., Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce : T. 1: Województwo Krakowskie, (1) Tekst, (2) Ilustracje, Warszawa 1953.
  • Świszczowski S., Lamus w Branicach, Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, Warszawa: Instytut Sztuki PAN oraz Stowarzyszenie Historyków Sztuki, R. XVII , 1955, nr 2.

General information

  • Type: manor house
  • Chronology: 1360 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Sasanek 6, Deszczowa 2a , Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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