Palace, park, and farm complex, currently: “Racot” Horse Stud Farm and Training and Recreation Centre, residential houses, Racot
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Palace, park, and farm complex, currently: “Racot” Horse Stud Farm and Training and Recreation Centre, residential houses

Racot

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The palace, park, and farm complex in Racot, built in the late 18th century and the 2nd half of the 19th century, is evidence to the high level of architecture related to husbandry and agriculture of the previous centuries. It is a unique complex combining the residential and farming and production functions.

History

The village was mentioned in written records for the first time in 1366. In the 15th century, it belonged to the Borek family from Gryżyna. It was then owned by the Gułtowski, Kostka, and Tarło families. In the years 1676-1719, it belonged to the Bronisz family. From 1719, the owner of the complex was Piotr Bronisz’s daughter, Dorota, by her first marriage Janowa Radomicka, by her second marriage Stanisławowa Jabłonowska, a wife of a wojewoda [governor] of Rawa. In 1778, ownership of the Racot estate passed to her son, Antoni Barnaba Jabłonowski, Castellan of Kraków. Originally, there were a small manor house and a brick hunting castle in Racot. When the village was owned by Antoni Barnaba Jabłonowski, it was visited by Tadeusz Kościuszko and Prince Józef Poniatowski. Jabłonowski built a church in the village. In c. 1785, he completed the construction of a new palace. The classical building was probably designed by Dominik Merlini or, as other sources claim, by Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer. In 1798, Jabłonowski sold the Racot estate to Wilhelm Orański, who became King of the Netherlands in the next century. Subsequently, in the years 1887-1888, it became the property of the von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach family as part of the dowry of Wilhelmina Maria Luiza. The palace was enlarged in the early 20th century: a two-storeyed wing was added on the north side. In 1919, Racot was taken over the State Treasury; in 1921, the palace became a summer residence of presidents of the Republic of Poland. In 1928, a State Horse Stud Farm was established in the complex. It was one of the three first horse breeding farms in Poland.

Description

The palace, park, and farm complex in Racot was formed in several stages. In the north-eastern part of the complex are the palace and the landscape park, which stretches towards the north-west. To the south of the palace and park complex, there is a farm complex. The oldest, residential part comes from the 18th century and follows the Baroque concept of locating a residence between a courtyard and a garden, on an axis of symmetry determined by buildings surrounding the cour d’honneur. Its central point is the classical palace from 1780, built by Antoni Jabłonowski; it is situated on the axis of the cour d’honneur. The construction of the building took about 5 years. It is a one-storeyed residence having a rectangular floor plan. The front façade, facing the east, features a portico with four columns in the giant order. On the opposite side, there is a semi-hexagonal avant-corps. The palace has a two-bay layout. On the ground floor, there was an elegant part intended for the eyes of guests, with a hall and a large drawing room on the central axis. The first floor served as a residential part. The palace has retained its original decor. Preserved elements of the interior include stucco decorations, wall and ceiling paintings, floors, and beautiful masonry stoves. On the central axis, there is a vestibule and further — a drawing room. On the first floor, there is a presidential apartment with a luxurious bathroom, a study, and a waiting room for guests. On the same floor, there is another drawing room (over the main ground floor room) and other elegant rooms (currently e.g. a billiards room).

The courtyard is surrounded by two residential outbuildings, located symmetrically on its both sides, a stable-carriage house flanking the driveway to the courtyard on the north side, and a granary on the south side; they were constructed before 1773. The whole complex is surrounded by a wall with an entrance gate on the east side. The stable-carriage house is adjoined on the north side by a four-flat residential outbuilding constructed in 1800. Outside the wall, at the south-west corner, there is an administrator’s house communicating with the outbuilding by means of an arcaded walkway. It was built in 1830. The other farm buildings are situated to the south of the residential part. They are grouped into three complexes, located around separate farmyards. The dominant building flanking the east farmyard is the grand two- and three-storeyed building which used to contain a distillery and grain processing facilities. Its walls, made of brick and covered with plaster, feature brick architectural decorations; they rest on a cobblestone wall base. The two-storeyed part is covered with a half-hip roof and the avant-corps part is covered with a gable roof. To the north, on both sides of a pond, there are two cowsheds from the 1880s. They are one-storeyed brick buildings covered with gable roofs; their decoration is based on the contrast between white walls and red brick elements (lesenes, decorative corner supports, and arches heading the windows openings and the entrance opening). In the north-west corner of the farmyard, there is a building which currently contains a leather production and processing plant, erected in 1882 using the same array of architectural forms. The same architect designed the complex surrounding the central farmyard, comprising two stables on the north and south sides, a former blacksmith’s shop, and a paddock in the centre. The stable on the north side is the least modified one; its longer façades, divided by means of brick lesenes and featuring a decorative brick cornice and window surrounds, make it similar to the buildings of the east farmyard. The buildings of the third, west farmyard have a different form. On its east and west sides, there are stable buildings, originally sheep sheds: one-storeyed buildings having brick plastered walls and covered with gable roofs. Their longer façades are divided by means of arches enclosing window and door openings. The small building on the south side, constructed after 1892, is decorated in the same style. On the north side of the farmyard, there is a Neoclassical stable building from the 1st quarter of the 20th century. The complex is enclosed with the original wall with entrance gates. To the south of the main entrance gate, there is a one-storeyed residential building intended for the administrator of the estate, built in 1911. It is made of brick and covered with a mansard roof. It features an open roofed walkway at the north-east corner. It still has the original decorative door and window woodwork. Beyond the complex boundaries, opposite the farm complex, there are residential buildings which used to be occupied by farm workers. The oldest one comes from the late 18th century. One-storeyed, it is made of brick and covered with a gable roof. It also has the original door and window woodwork, including window shutters. It has a two-bay layout, with a hall cutting through the entire building in the centre. The buildings dating from the 1st quarter of the 20th century are rustic in character and reminiscent of old-German architecture of the 19th/20th century. One-storeyed, made of brick, with wattle-and-daub gables, they are covered with gable or half-hip roofs. They still have the original door and window woodwork, including window shutters. The impressive English landscape park occupies the northern part of the complex.

Accessible: www.racot.pl

compiled by Beata Marzęta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 30-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Klasycyzm w Wielkopolsce. Dwory i pałace, Poznań 2008 s. 212-223
  • Dawne Budownictwo Folwarczne - Majątki Wielkopolskie - Tom V - Powiat Kościański, Szreniawa 1998, s. 189-199
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. V: Województwo poznańskie, z. 10: Powiat kościański, oprac. T. Ruszczyńska, A. Sławska, Warszawa 1980, s. 87-92.
  • Libicki M., Libicki P., Dwory i pałace wiejskie w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2003, s.304-305.
  • Wiśniewska T., Racot. Perła Wielkopolski, Kościan 2010
  • Zgodziński B., Województwo leszczyńskie, Poznań 1989, str. 305-310

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1785 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Dworcowa 5, Racot
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district kościański, commune Kościan
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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