Town hall, Sandomierz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The town hall in Sandomierz is an example of the a municipal government seat typical of towns under Magdeburg Law of the Małopolska and Silesia regions. The tower character of the oldest Gothic town hall in Sandomierz is similar to other project existing in smaller cities, mushrooming in medieval Poland. Similarly characteristic is the application of the attic, the most characteristic element of the transformation of the building in the 16th century.

History

Traditionally, the construction of the town hall - as a wooden building - is dated to the end of the 13th century when the town received Magdeburg Law in 1286. After the Lithuanian invasion in 1349, a new town layout was designed and the town hall was rebuilt as a stone structure. Most likely, it was a building on a square plan, which now forms the southern part of the existing edifice. The late Middle Ages period is marked by the prosperity and the increasing importance of the bourgeoisie. The town hall was extended in the 15th century and in 1511 altered in the spirit of the Renaissance, as seen in its rich attic. After the fire in 1623 the tower collapsed but was rebuilt in the following years. The town hall was affected again during the Polish-Swedish wars, again in the aftermath of a great fire caused by an explosion in the Sandomierz castle. The heavily destroyed town was able to reconstruct its town hall only during the reign of King Jan III Sobieski. In another fire in 1757, the roofs and upper floor chambers were destroyed as well as the adjacent stalls. The building was restored fairly quickly, however, in 1759 King Augustus III banned the construction of merchant stalls and butchery shops in the vicinity of the town hall. Over the next decades, the condition of the town hall rapidly deteriorated. At some point, it was so poor that, as part of the urban regulation plan, there was a proposal to demolish it. Fortunately, the town authorities managed to save the building. Yet, the comprehensive reconstruction did not take place until 1873 and 1905 saw thorough renovation of the façades, uncovering the brick of the walls from under the heavily damaged plaster. In the 1970s during the city rehabilitation and after comprehensive studies, the restoration and adaptation works were carried out. The ground floor was transformed as exhibition space and the upper was adapted as a convention space for the municipal authorities.

Description

The town hall is located in the heart of the market square, on a gentle slope leaning towards the south-east corner of the area. The building is dominated by the tower, quadrangular up to the the attic, further octagonal and topped with a cupola. The second floor of the tower is available through a wooden sheltered staircase touching the hall’s wall. Under the stairs, there is the entrance to the basement. The façades are topped by an attic of a triple-layer system. The bottom and highest one is divided by blind arcades; the upper one is decorated with voluted corbels alternated with circular vents, and the most ornamental highest parts of the attic are composed of alternating higher and lower pedestals linked by volutes. In the corners of the lower layer, there are four heads, supposedly symbolizing the four estates: the cloak, knighthood, bourgeoisie and peasantry, and a prominent cornice bears the half-figures of animals, probably lions. The basement chambers, the oldest of which is the south one, now accommodate a club and a café. The ground floor of the hall in the middle can be accessed through the vestibule located in the tower. It is used for as exhibition space. The upper floor mirrors the layout of the ground floor with the hall occupying the entire width of the central part of the area.

The site is accessible from outside. The basement and ground floor open at specific times.

Compiled by Jerzy Zub, 16.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Sobieszczański F. M., Ratusz w Sandomierzu, (w:) Tygodnik Ilustrowany, 1860, II, nr 42.
  • Buliński M., Monografija miasta Sandomierza, Warszawa 1879.
  • Słonimski Z., Ratusz w Sandomierzu (w:) Architekt, X, 1909.
  • Kalinowski W., Lalik T., Przypkowski T., Rutkowski H., Trawkowski S., Sandomierz, Warszawa 1956.
  • Kiryk F., Rynek sandomierski w XVI - XVII w., jego formy i funkcje (w:) Kwartalnik Historii Kultury Materialnej, t, XLI/2, Warszawa 1993.
  • Dzieje Sandomierza, Samsonowicz H., t. I - IV, Warszawa 1993 - 94.
  • Komorowski W., Średniowieczne ratusze w Małopolsce i na ziemiach ruskich Korony (w:) Civitas & villa. Miasto i wieś w średniowiecznej Europie, Wrocław-Praha 2002, s. 241-48.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: 3. ćw. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek 1, Sandomierz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Sandomierz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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