Townhouse, the so-called Oleśnicki House, Sandomierz
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Townhouse, the so-called Oleśnicki House

Sandomierz

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The building, widely believed to be the most spectacular of all townhouses in Sandomierz, is also one of the few surviving buildings within the market square frontage which have retained their original arcades, making it an important part of the town’s history.

History

One of the most well-known – and most beautiful – townhouses in Sandomierz, the building can trace its roots all the way back to the 16th century, when the plot of land on which it stands was owned by Andrzej Leszczyński, the voivode of Brześć Kujawski. According to the local traditions, it was here that the members of the Calvinist, Lutheran and Czech Brethren communities signed in 1570 the co-called Sandomierz Accord – a pact of mutual tolerance. The original building was most likely destroyed during the great fire which swept across the town in 1757. After those tragic events, the parcel of land was purchased by the Oleśnicki family, who erected a new edifice here in the years 1770-1780 or thereabouts. The overall shape of this building – whose structure may have incorporated parts of the earlier edifice – has largely survived to the present day. The design of the house is attributed to rev. Józef Karśnicki (Karsznicki), who would later go on to design the Benedictine church forming part of the Święty Krzyż (Holy Cross) monastery. In the second half of the 19th century, the eastern gable of the building has been destroyed and was later replaced by a triangular pediment. It was subsequently restored to its original appearance in the years 1955–1958, based on the design produced by the architect Józef Jamroz. In the course of the renovation works performed during that period, the façades and interiors of the townhouse were likewise restored. Today, the townhouse serves as the District Museum; from 1995 onwards, a part of its ground-floor level has served as a post office maintained by the Polish Post. The cellars underneath the building form part of an underground tourist trail ending inside the town hall building.

Description

The townhouse stands on the north-western corner of the market square and is the northernmost house in the western frontage thereof. Its distinctive arcade, projecting ahead of the façades of other buildings, is an eye-catching feature visible even from afar, so that all those strolling down Opatowska street can easily catch a glimpse thereof. The two-storey brick townhouse with a converted attic is notable mostly due to the presence of the front façade arcade as well as the elegant, Baroque gable above, adorned with pilasters occupying the spaces between the large, rectangular windows and the profiled entablature separating the individual storeys. At the top of the structure rises a solid roof parapet surmounted by stone urns. Similar urns also grace the plinths flanking the volutes adjoining both sides of the gable wall. The entire design is enlivened by the delicate contours of the decorative panels, forming a truly elegant and sophisticated whole. A pair of entrances topped with basket-handle arches with keystones and flanked by pilasters are concealed beneath the arcade occupying the lowermost section of the front façade. The very same design motif is also carried over to the arcade itself, adorning the arches spanning the spaces between the sturdy pillars. The space beneath the arcade features a vaulted ceiling of the double barrel type. The pillars supporting the entire structure are adorned with subtle rustication. Inside, the building features vaulted ceilings of the barrel type (with lunettes) inside the vestibule and in the large chamber in the back section of the building. The cellars beneath the structure, forming part of a tourist trail, also feature vaulted ceilings of a similar kind.

The historical monument is open to visitors.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 06-12-2015

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Sandomierz, Dom mieszkalny, tzw. Kamienica Oleśnickich (Sandomierz, townhouse – the so-called Oleśnicki House), prepared by J. Zub, 1993, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce, Sandomierz Branch Office.
  • Buliński M., Monografia miasta Sandomierza, Warsaw 1879.
  • Dzieje Sandomierzavol. 1-4. H. Samsonowicz (ed.), Warsaw 1993-1994.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. III, issue 11, Warsaw 1962.

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek 10, Sandomierz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Sandomierz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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