Town hall, Zamość
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The town hall and its outbuildings constitutes an exceptionally valuable example of public architecture created in stages during the period between the 16th and the 18th century. Designed by Jan Jaroszewicz and Jan Wolff, it is a Mannerist edifice which towers above the surrounding landscape, having been created on the basis of an earlier structure conceived by B. Morando, the man who designed the town of Zamość itself.

History

The original town hall was erected back in 1591, based on a design by Bernardo Morando; in 1605, the buttresses designed by M. Belter were added to the structure. In 1622, the building was redesigned, while in the years 1636-1651 it was substantially extended on the basis of a design produced by J. Jaroszewicz and J. Wolff; the works performed during that time included the upward extension of the main body of the building to its current level, the extension of the arcades and the upward extension of the tower. In 1709 the building was gutted by fire; before 1757, a guardhouse designed by J. de Kawe and A. Bem was added, while in years 1767-1770 the building received its front staircase, designed most likely by J. de Kawe and J. Maucher (although the involvement of the former is uncertain). In 1770, a clock was installed on the tower, while in years 1823-25 the entire building was redesigned by J. Malletski. Finally, in 1937 the front façade was reconstructed on the basis of the design by T. Zaremba and J. Juszczyk. In years 1963-68 the town hall underwent a comprehensive restoration under the supervision of T. Makarski. It was also during that period that the guardhouse was torn down. Major renovation works were carried out in years 1980-82, 1999 and 2006-2008. Until 1833, the building was occupied by the town council and tribunal; later on, it served as a guardhouse, prison and commercial space. In the years 1866-1940, it became the town council building once more, while the German occupation period saw it transformed into the town’s Kommandatur. After 1944, the town hall served as the municipal council building and also provided facilities for a café, Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society offices and a youth community centre. Today, the building accommodates the offices of the mayor, a photo gallery and a Tourist Information Office.

The northern outbuildings stretching alongside the Salt Market Square took place in years 1823-25, based on the design by J. Malletski; the side wings, erected after 1848, are also believed to have been designed by Malletski. Partial alteration and renovation works of these buildings took place in years 1871, 1936 and 1939, with a connecting section being added in 1941. In 1964-66, partial alteration and restoration works were carried out in the outbuildings, with the final series of works taking place in years 2006-2008. Initially used as workshops and a prison facility, from 1871 they became a town hotel, while between the late 19th century and 1964 they served as commercial space, including a number of shops, a teahouse and a restaurant. Today, all the space is occupied by the town council.

Description

The entire complex, consisting of the town hall and its outbuildings, is located in the northern section of the Great Market Square, slightly offset to the north-western corner thereof. The town hall faces the south and is adjoined by outbuildings towards the north, the entire ensemble forming an inner courtyard. The defining feature of the town hall is the monumental, fan-like front staircase projecting ahead of the axis of the northern frontage and into the market square along with a part of the main body and the tower above. The entire edifice is made of brick, its walls covered with plaster. The stairs and their balustrades are made of stone. The ground floor section of the buildings was designed on a tripartite floor plan, consisting of the main body and the staircase, connected to the rest of the building at the second-floor level by means of a terrace supported by the arcade below; at one point, the terrace actually served as the upper part of the guardhouse positioned on the ground floor level, before the said guardhouse was torn down in the 20th century. The main body of the town hall, designed on a rectangular floor plan, is defined visually by the massive load-bearing pillars and buttresses supporting the square tower that rises above the entire structure. The building itself is a three-storey structure with a basement, featuring an arcaded walkway on the ground floor level and a Polish Renaissance attic concealing the low, four-sloped metal roof beyond. The tower is 52 metres in height; a six-storey structure, it was designed on a quadrangular floor plan, its upper section above the roof parapet being octagonal in shape, divided by a narrow gallery between the uppermost storeys. The entire structure is crowned with a slender, profiled spire with a lantern, clad with sheet metal and topped by a sphere with weathervane bearing an inscribed date; the design of the spire is carried over to the cupolas which grace the corners of the main body of the building, albeit on a reduced scale. The fan-like staircase leading into the main entrance consist of two symmetrical arms designed on a quarter-circle plan in the lower sections, supported by a series of five arches, the middle of which, rising taller than the other four, having been further embellished in 1937 through the addition of a sculpted stone heraldic cartouche of Tomasz Zamoyski, dating back to ca. 1620 and originally found at the 7th bastion. Both flights of steps and the terrace are adorned by openwork stone balustrades. The front façade is of a 7-axis design. The entrance to the now-defunct guardhouse is located in the ground floor section of the front wall, on the axis of the middle arch of the representational staircase. The main entrance into the building is positioned between the corner buttresses of the tower, at the second-floor level. It is framed by a Baroque stone portal with a cartouche, surmounted by the town’s coat of arms carved in stone, depicting St Thomas the Apostle holding a shield with three spears - the Jelita (Tres Hastae) coat of arms of the Zamoyski noble family. On the left, there is a plaque shaped as an escutcheon, commemorating the inscription of the Zamość Old Town complex on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The partitions of the façade are accentuated by deeply profiled cornices. The upper storey windows are rectangular in shape, framed by broad surrounds and featuring cornices and panels adorned with foliate motifs. Niches topped with semi-domes and pilasters crowned with Corinthian capitals are positioned between the window openings. The tall roof parapet features a distinctive plinth adorned with pilasters and semi-domical niches as well as blind windows framed with profiled surrounds, a lavishly profiled cornice and the upper coping consisting of triangular, corniced pediments and urns. The side façades follow a four-axial layout; their ground floor sections featuring arcaded walkways made up of four succeeding arches. The rear façade follows an eight-axial layout and is devoid of any architectural detailing or partitions. The interiors of the ground floor level of the building has seen numerous changes since its construction, resulting in an asymmetrical layout with a vestibule positioned on the axis of the building. The first and second floor follow a tripartite layout, with a representational vestibule in the centre which contains a two-flight staircase connecting the individual levels. The ground floor section of the building features composite vaults, partially suspended and mostly following the groin or barrel vault design. The staircase and the vestibule feature a groin vault, with flat ceilings being used for the first and second floor of the building. The original interior décor, including the plasterwork ceiling decorations, has only been preserved to a limited extent.

The outbuildings (the former prison), adjoining the main body of the town hall to the south, face the north and the Salt Market Square respectively. Together, the buildings form an ensemble designed on a rectangular plan, consisting of three rectangular wings and a small western connecting section forming an almost-square courtyard with a gateway positioned on the axis. The wings are brick buildings, with both the eastern and the western wings being two-storey structures with basements, covered by low, three-sided roofs; the connecting section, on the other hand, is a three-storey building covered by a gable roof. The northern front façade follows a symmetrical, seven-axis design with Classicist partitions and detailing. Its distinguishing feature is the main entrance with a decorative portal crowned with a tympanum incorporating the emblems of justice - the scales, the hand and the eye - in bas-relief.

Limited access to the historic building.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 08-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Czterysta lat Zamościa, J. Kowalczyk (ed.), Wrocław-Łódź 1983
  • Herbst S., Zamość, Warsaw 1954
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, compiled by J.Z. Łoziński, J.A. Miłobędzki, B. Wolff, typescript - Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw 1953
  • Record sheets, The town hall, compiled by J. Serafinowicz, B. Seniuk, 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
  • Kędziora A., Encyklopedia miasta Zamościa, Chełm 2000.
  • Zarębska T., Zamość - miasto idealne i jego realizacja, /in:/ Zamość miasto idealne, J. Kowalczyk (ed.), Lublin 1980

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: 1591
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek Wielki 1, Zamość
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district Zamość, commune Zamość
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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