City hall, Rzeszów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The city hall is an imposing public utility building for the city and is a dominant feature of the built-up area around the market square. The façades characterised by a historicist architectural décor and application of components adapted from various style forms creates a composition characteristic of the late 19th century.

History

The first wooden town hall in Rzeszów with basements existed in the 14th century, as evidenced by the Incorporation Charter of 1427; further history of the building is unknown. A new town hall was built at the request of Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza before 1591. It was a small masonry building with a porch, vestibule and tower, surrounded by numerous stalls. The town hall was destroyed during the invasion of George I Rákóczi in 1657. The town hall was reconstructed in the second half of the 17th century as a two-storey building with a hip roof topped with a four-sided wooden tower, originally with an open lantern and an attic in the eastern façade. Around 1730, the building underwent renovation and extension under the direction of Karol Henryk Wiedemann and documented as a structure of a varied body with a clock tower. Another major renovation was made in 1867-1884, but the progressive development of the town forced further major alterations combined with further extension in 1897-1900, which gave the town hall an architectural form in the Gothic Revival and Renaissance Revival style. Authorship of the design of the new seat of the authorities of Rzeszów is attributed to Franciszek Skowron, who held the post of the head construction counsellor of the Governorship in Lviv. The interior design was developed by Kazimierz Hołubowicz. Stuccos and concrete components were made by Piotr Harasimowicz from Lviv and sculptor Praliński, and stone components by stonemason Franciszek Janik. The heraldic eagle placed over the eastern façade of the building was made by Jan Daschek from Lviv. Painted decorations in the great meeting hall was authored by painter Szczurowski from Lviv, and stained glass windows by Henryk Schapir. Blacksmith work was performed by Michał Woźniak from Rzeszów. The clock was manufactured by the Komorowski’s company based in Lviv. Decorative parquets were manufactured by the factory of the Potocki family in Kamionka, and vitrified clay floor tiles were imported from Prague. The roof of the town hall was covered with ceramic tiles arranged in decorative diamond pattern. During World War 2, the town hall was devastated, in particular the sculptural and painted decorations were destroyed. The exterior appearance of the town hall with small changes has survived to this day, while the interiors underwent unfavourable changes during subsequent renovations, which involved removing a number of interesting components. Between 1993 and 1996, the interiors underwent complete renovation, reconstruction and modernisation.

Description

The city hall is located in the south-western part of the market square, with its western gable wall adjoining Słowackiego Street.

The building characterised by lavish historicist architectural décor and application of components adapted from various style forms creates a picturesque whole.

It is a free-standing building on a rectangular floor plan, with a two-bay layout and an avant-corps in the southern wall. The body is compact and consists of three overground storeys and basements. It is covered with a multi-hipped roof; the turrets are topped with octagonal cupolas with spires.

The building is made of brick and stone (basements), with the cloister pillars facing the east built of sandstone blocks; it is plastered, three-storey, and has basements underneath some of its sections.

The façades featuring historicist architectural design are varied and pierced by rectangular, round or pointed-arch windows of different size; they are decorated with a cornice over the ground floor and a crowning cornice, partly with a corbelled frieze. The façades are characterised by gables with pointed-arch panels and pinnacles, balconies resting on profiled stone corbels, with openwork balustrades. The northern, front façade is pierced by the main entrance between two balconies, in a pseudo-avant-corps, topped by a gable. The southern façade features an avant-corps with three tall Gothic Revival windows, surmounted by octagonal turrets on both sides. The east façade is embellished with an open three-arcade cloister with arcades resting on stone pillars, balcony and gable. The western façades are pierced by rectangular windows and a gable.

The staircase is located axially. Basements are topped with barrel vaults; the lower basement facing the west extends beyond the outline of the building under the pavement of Słowackiego Street in the form of a narrow brick tunnel. Entrance vestibule is covered with a groin vault. The oldest rooms in the eastern part of the ground floor are roofed with sail vaults. The room above the great meeting hall is covered with wooden beamed ceilings supported by decorative corbels. Other rooms and corridors feature barrel vaults, groin vaults and flat wooden ceilings.

The monument is open to visitors. Viewing of the monument is only possible by prior arrangement during the working hours of the office.

compiled by Mieczysław Kuś, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 10-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet, Ratusz, ul. Kościuszki 1, prepared by Wajdowicz M., Rzeszów 1993, Archives of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments, Rzeszów Regional Office.
  • Encyklopedia Rzeszowa, 2nd Edition: Ratusz, prepared by Tondos B., Rzeszów 2011, p. 633.
  • Laskowski A., Architektura galicyjska w okresie autonomii. Uwagi na marginesie książki o architekturze Rzeszowa, [in:] MODUS Prace z historii sztuki II, Cracow 2001, pp. 123-180.
  • Malczewski J. Rozwój przestrzenny. Rozbudowa miasta. Budownictwo publiczne, [in:] Dzieje Rzeszowa, vol. III W czasach autonomii galicyjskiej, Rzeszów 1998, pp. 246-247.
  • Tondos B. Rozwój przestrzenny. Architektura miejska. Początek rozbudowy miasta, [in:] Dzieje Rzeszowa, vol. III W czasach autonomii galicyjskiej, Rzeszów 1998, pp. 296-298.
  • Tondos B. Architektura Rzeszowa w okresie autonomii galicyjskiej, Rzeszów 1997.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: 1591 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościuszki 1, Rzeszów
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district Rzeszów, commune Rzeszów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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