The Zamość Academy, currently serving as the Comprehensive High School of Jan Zamoyski, Zamość
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The Zamość Academy, currently serving as the Comprehensive High School of Jan Zamoyski

Zamość

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The Academy was erected during the halcyon days of the town of Zamość - during the first half of the 17th century. Originally, it served as the building of the Zamość Academy, founded back in 1594, which at the time was the third - after the ones in Cracow and Vilnius - higher educational institution in the country as well as the very first private school for the children of the nobility of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The building retains its exemplary, Early Baroque layout and continues to be viewed as an outstanding achievement of the 17th-century Polish architecture insofar as educational establishments are concerned.

History

The former Academy building was erected back in 1593, initially as a small structure that was later incorporated into the existing eastern wing. The Academy first opened its doors in 1594, at the initiative of Jan Zamoyski, with the active involvement of Szymon Szymonowic. The opening ceremony took place on March 5, 1595. The existing, quadrangular edifice with an inner courtyard was erected in years 1639-48, with Tomasz Zamoyski and his wife Katarzyna Zamoyska née Ostrogska providing the necessary funds. The building was designed by Andrea dell’ Aqua in the Early Baroque style, being modelled after Jesuit colleges. Initially the building contained lecture halls, accommodation for students and tutors as well as a library and a printing facility. In years 1752-1765, at the request of Jan Jakub Zamoyski, the building was substantially redesign in the Late Baroque and Rococo style, with the architects Jan Andrzej Bem and Jerzy de Kawe being responsible for the new design. It was also at that point that polychromed decorations by J. Siarczyński were executed; the decorative roof parapets were removed, and the building received a new mansard roof. The façades received a new, warm colour scheme, with red lesenes and decorative panels between and beneath the windows contrasting with the bright yellow background. In 1784, the Academy was abolished, with the Royal Lyceum taking its place. Following its relocation to Szczebrzeszyn in 1811, the former Academy building was converted into army barracks and was used by the army for as long as the nearby fortress was in existence. The designer responsible for the adaptation of the building was J. Mallet-Malletski, who ordered, among others, the removal of the decorative cornices, portals and window surrounds as well as the decorative frieze on the façade; in addition, the courtyard arcades were bricked up. It is in this form that the building has survived to the present day. From the second half of the 19th century until today, the building continues to serve as a school. After World War II, the edifice was renovated on numerous occasions - in 1958, 1978, 1984 and 1999-2000. In the 1940s, the portal facing Akademicka street was redesigned by A. Klimek.

Description

The former Academy building is located in the north-western part of the Old Town, at the spot where the Akademicka and Pereca streets meet, bordering with the Salt Market Square and the former Observant church towards the east. It is an Early Baroque edifice which came into being as a result of the extension of an earlier, Late Renaissance structure. It was designed on a quadrilateral floor plan approximating the shape of a square, with an inner courtyard and a small, square-plan annex towards the north. A massive buttress on the south-western corner is a highly distinctive feature. The building is made of brick, its walls covered with plaster both outside and inside. It was designed as a two-storey edifice with basements underneath parts of the eastern wing, covered with a low gable roof clad with sheet metal. The façades of the building are highly regular in design, following a two-storey layout separated by a profiled cornice and topped with a crowning cornice, with broad pilasters adorning the corners. The vertical axes of symmetry are accentuated by windows and entrances. The windows are all roughly identical in shape and feature profiled window sills. The wooden windows and doors are contemporary items. The distinctive feature of the western façade is the main entrance accentuated by a portal with an inscription at the lintel level which reads “ACADEMIA ZAMOSCIENSIS MDXCIV-MDCCLXXXIV”, as well as a pair of commemorative plaques embedded in the wall, dedicated to Sz. Szymonowic and M. Rataj. The façades overlooking the inner courtyard show traces of the former arcades which have subsequently been bricked up. The entrances into the building are positioned axially in each of its wings. Inside, the building shows a tendency towards symmetrical, axial design, its hallways arranged in an intersecting layout. The eastern and western wings of the building follow a two-bay layout, while for the southern and northern wings the architects have opted for a three-bay layout. The vaulted, intersecting hallways run alongside the longitudinal and transverse axes of the structure, with the rooms being arranged in an enfilade layout. The broad, steep flight of steps leading through barrel-vaulted staircases facilitate the access to the upper storeys. The original fixtures and fittings of the building’s interiors have not been preserved to the present day.

Limited access to the historic building. The interiors can be visited upon prior arrangement.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 20-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Czterysta lat Zamościa, J. Kowalczyk (ed.), Wrocław-Łódź 1983
  • Herbst S., Zamość, Warsaw 1954
  • Record sheet, The Zamość Academy (...). Zamość, compiled by G. Michalska, J. Niedźwiedź, 1998, Archive of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments in Lublin, Zamość branch; Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw.
  • Kędziora A., Dawna architektura i budownictwo Zamościa, Zamość 1990
  • Szyszka B., Akademia Zamojska 1594-1784, Zamość 1988
  • Zarębska T., Zamość - miasto idealne i jego realizacja, /in:/ Zamość miasto idealne, J. Kowalczyk (ed.), Lublin 1980

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1593
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Akademicka 1, Zamość
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district Zamość, commune Zamość
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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