Palace and park complex, Rozbitek
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Palace and park complex

Rozbitek

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The Neo-Gothic palace in Rozbitek, built for Georg Heinrich Otto von Reiche, is one of the most beautiful residences in Greater Poland, having no counterpart in the Grand Duchy of Posen. It is believed that the palace was designed by Friedrich August Stüler or an architect associated with him. The complex is exceptional both in terms of architecture and the surrounding landscape. The residence is surrounded by a park with a Gothic Revival tomb chapel of the von Reiche family. In 2004, the palace became the property of the world-famous composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, an Academy Award winner, who undertook to restore the building to its former grandeur. Currently, the building houses the Rozbitek Institute, organising meetings for film, music, and theatre artists.

History

The history of Rozbitek goes back to the Middle Ages. The village was mentioned in written records for the first time in the 1st half of the 14th century. At that time, Rozbitek was owned by the Byliny-Szreniawit knight family, from which the Rozbicki, Kwilecki, and Orzeszkowski families were descended. The first owner of Rozbitek who is known by name is Dobiesław of Kwilcz and Rozbitek. In the 16th century, the village belonged to the Ostroróg family, who sold the Międzychód lands (which included Rozbitek) to the Unrugs at the end of that same century. The Unrug family remained the owners of the village throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and at the beginning of the 19th century (part of the village still belonged to the Rozbickis, and in the years 1700-1756 — to the Bukowieckis). During that period, a brick manor house existed in the village; it was mentioned in written sources in 1700. Its remains could be seen nearby the present farm complex until the 1970s. In 1827, Rozbitek was sold to Johann Heinrich von Reiche from Blankenburg. Johan Heinrich’s son — Georg Heinrich Otto von Reiche — initiated the construction of a new, Gothic Revival residence. The palace, built in the years 1856-58, was designed to resemble a medieval castle. The associated Gothic Revival farm and utility buildings were also constructed at that time. After G.H.O. von Reiche died in 1860, the works were continued by his wife, Antonina Emilia Augusta von Gersdorf. It was her idea to establish the vast park complex. A Gothic Revival tomb chapel of the von Reiche family was erected in the park in the late 19th century.

The von Reiche family remained the owners of Rozbitek until 1945. Following World War II, the property was taken over by the State Treasury and handed over to a State Agricultural Farm (PGR). The palace was used as a residential building for workers, which resulted in its progressive decline. Renovation works were carried out in parts of the palace in the late 1980s. In 2004, the palace and the park became the property of the composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, a winner of an Academy Award, who commenced restoration works on the building, continuing to this day. Currently, the building houses the Rozbitek Institute, organising meetings for film, music, and theatre artists.

Description

The palace and park complex is situated to the south east of the village buildings, on the south side of a road from Poznań to Międzychów and Skwierzyna and on the east side of a local road to Miłostowo. It comprises the palace, located in the centre and facing the west, and the surrounding park. Nearby, to the north-west of the residence, there are two buildings: one containing a stable with a coach house and a coachman’s house and the other serving as a foal house. To the west of the palace and park complex, there are buildings of the so-called old farm complex (including a distillery); further to the west, on the other side of the road to Miłostowo, is the so-called new farm complex (including an administrator’s building, two sheep sheds, and a barn). The main entrance leading to the palace is located on the north side. The complex covers an area of 22.1 ha.

The palace has a floor plan in the shape of an elongated rectangle with a pseudo-avant-corps in the centre and two square towers at the corners in the front. In front of the pseudo-avant-corps, there is a rectangular porch. The palace has two storeys and a basement. It is topped with a tall gable roof. A number of attic windows, framed by architectural surrounds, are visible in the roof. The avant-corps is covered with a separate dual-pitched roof. The building is dominated by the tall, four-storeyed towers standing at the corners. They are topped with octagonal tented roofs with pinnacles at the corners. The eastern corners of the palace feature small overhanging turrets.

The walls of the palace are made of brick and covered with plaster. The brick and stone wall base and some architectural details were left unplastered. The roofs are covered with roof tiles; the tower roofs are covered with slate. The basement rooms have surbased vaults. The residential rooms and the rooms intended for the eyes of guests have wooden ceilings with counter ceilings.

The wall base is faced with stone and brick and the upper parts of the façades are covered with plaster. The windows, mostly rectangular in shape, are framed by brick surrounds. The most prominent part of the front façade is the central section with the pseudo-avant-corps topped with a stepped gable. At the corners and at the top of the gable, there are slender turrets with small tented roofs. The main entrance is located in the porch, flanked by a pair of stepped buttresses at the corner and topped with a balcony. The entrance is framed by a brick portal headed by a four-centred arch. Above, over the door to the terrace, there is a cartouche incorporating the coat of arms of the von Reiche family. The side sections of the front façade and the tower walls are crowned with a crenellated frieze. The palace resembles a medieval castle; the fact that the building is situated on the shores of the park pond makes this impression even stronger. The east façade, i.e. the façade facing the garden, has a different, more “palace-like” character, although it is also adorned with Gothic Revival architectural details. This mainly stems from the fact that there are no towers on this side; instead, there are small overhanging turrets. The central part of this façade, flanked by stepped buttresses, is preceded by a vast terrace with large Tudor-arched windows and a door to the ball room. The side façades are topped with stepped gables. The south façade, facing the park, has only subtle decoration. The north façade, facing the main driveway to the residence, is more decorative. On the central axis, there is another entrance to the palace, leading to a hall with the main staircase. The Tudor-arched door and the windows which flank it are embellished with rich tracery surrounds.

The palace has a two- and three-bay layout with a prominent central axis in the form of a hall and a vast ball room spanning two storeys. The ground floor also contained residential rooms and elegant rooms intended for the eyes of guests; on the first floor, there were residential and guest rooms. The basement used to contain utility rooms and kitchen facilities. The impressive entrance hall deserves particular attention; it was designed to resemble a castle hall. The rich stucco decorations of the grand ball room combine classical and Renaissance motifs. The walls are divided by means of composite pilasters positioned on tall wainscoting and supporting semi-circular arches. The top is adorned with cymatium and astragal molding and palmettes. A repetitive meander motif runs around the ceiling. There used to be a dining room on the north side of the ball room. On the south side of the hall, there was a drawing room featuring rich stucco decorations.

The design of the park makes use of the natural topography, ponds, and a stream, and most likely also former gardens, providing a picturesque setting for the palace. The main driveway leading to the palace is lined with four rows of plane trees. In the south-eastern part of the park, on the top of a small hill, stands the Gothic-Revival tomb chapel of the von Reiche family, featuring a Gothic-Revival pointed-arched portal leading to the crypt. The area in front of the tomb was originally intended as a cemetery.

The building is not accessible to visitors. Private property. Information about the activities of the Rozbitek Institute is available on the website: www.rozbitek.org.pl

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 12-10-2015.

Bibliography

  • Goszczyńska J., Rezydencje powiatu międzychodzkiego : stan zachowania, problemy konserwatorskie, postulaty badawcze, Wielkopolski Biuletyn Konserwatorski, t. 1, 2002, s. 88-102.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 13: powiat międzychodzki, Warszawa 1968, s. 14.
  • Libicki M., Libicki P., Dwory i pałace wiejskie w Wielkopolsce, wyd. 3, Poznań 2003, s. 320.
  • Neogotyckie rezydencje w Wielkopolsce, koncepcja, wybór fotografii i teksty Maria Strzałko, Poznań 2008, s. 214-219.
  • Strzałko M., Materiały do dziejów rezydencji w Polsce, t. 1 : województwo poznańskie, Poznań 1991, s. 155-64.
  • Skuratowicz J., Dwory i pałace w Wielkim Księstwie Poznańskim, Międzychód 1992, s. 48.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1856-1858
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rozbitek
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district międzychodzki, commune Kwilcz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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