Urban complex, Lipsk
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
photo

The town of Lipsk is one of the few regular, Renaissance urban complexes from the period of the so-called Volok Reform (second half of the 16th century) which has survived intact despite the passage of time.

History

The town was founded back in the year 1580, during the period of the Volok Reform, resulting in the application of a distinctive urban layout. The towns established during this period, while still based on the traditional, Gothic model, have also incorporated numerous new compositional features characteristic of the Renaissance style. Unlike a typical medieval town, the urban layout of Lipsk features very long lines of blocks, each comprising two lines of land lots; these blocks, separated by a regular street grid, formed the basis of the town’s layout. The market square is characterised by its relatively large size. The Renaissance character of the towns designed during the period of the Volok Reform also manifests itself in the manner in which the functional and spatial planning was conducted and in which the individual land lots were measured. A characteristic feature of the entire spatial planning process was that the towns would be designed in a manner which also took into account the accompanying gardens and agricultural land. Large and carefully planned garden districts would be positioned at the edge of the town proper, followed by the arable fields owned by the local burghers. This novelty in urban planning was a manifestation of the renewed focus on nature which stemmed from the humanist philosophy that was rapidly gaining in popularity at the time. Since no fortifications were included in the design of the towns, the individual lots could be larger, and the streets - wider. At the core of the spatial planning process lay the concept of the linear settlement, with gablefront houses positioned on both sides of the street. In addition to the house itself, each of the long parcels of land would also include utility buildings and gardens. The presence of these features is an indication of the common origins of both towns and villages created during the period of the Volok Reform. The urban layout of the town of Lipsk has survived virtually unchanged. Initially, the Catholic church (1582) and the accompanying parish buildings were located south-east of the market square, between what is now known as the Nowodworska and Szkolna streets, on the site currently occupied by the local school and the Freedom Mound erected during the interwar period. An Orthodox church (likewise erected in 1582) was initially located alongside what is now known as Stefana Batorego street, near the site of the existing swimming pool, close to the road leading from the town towards Dąbrowa Białostocka. A synagogue was located at the edge of the town, in the north-eastern part thereof, along the junction of Pusta street and the extension of what is now known as Grodzieńska street. These buildings - most of them made of wood - have all been destroyed in the mid-17th century. After 1875, both the Catholic church and the Uniate tserkva were closed down and subsequently demolished. In 1880, a new, brick Orthodox tserkva was constructed in the middle of the market square. After 1905, the existing Catholic church, designed in the Gothic Revival style, was erected at the corner of the Kościelna and Zamkowa streets. The tserkva was demolished during the interwar period. During World War II, the town has lost 70% of all its buildings. The 19th-century wooden synagogue was likewise razed to the ground.

Description

The town was designed on a rectangular plan, its longer side positioned alongside the east-west axis and facing the Biebrza river. The town is characterised by an unusually large market square (200 x 200 metres) as well as the presence of a dozen-odd streets intersecting at a right angle. Another distinctive feature of the town’s layout is the rigid division into square or rectangular blocks and quarters. The urban complex inscribed into the register of monuments is located within the boundaries of Batorego street to the west, Pusta and Ogrodowa streets to the north, Zamiejska street to the east and Saperów street to the south. North of the town lies the Catholic cemetery and the Jewish cemetery, positioned on the eastern and western side respectively. The sole dominant landmark in town is the Gothic Revival parish church on Kościelna street. The site of the former market square now serves as the municipal park.

The building is open to visitors.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 4-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Żupla A., Lipsk. Układ urbanistyczny, architectural monument record sheet, Suwałki 1983.
  • Z biegiem Biebrzy. Przewodnik historyczno - etnograficzny, A. Gaweł, G. Ryżewski (eds.), Białystok-Suchowola 2012, pp. 96-98.

General information

  • Type: spatial layout
  • Chronology: XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Lipsk
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district augustowski, commune Lipsk - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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