Town hall, Żary
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The first brick town hall in Żary was built in the first half of the 14th century. In subsequent years, it was converted a couple of times. It is a free-standing building located in the central part of Rynkowy Square. From the Renaissance décor, the entrance portal decorated with a mosaic in 1929, has survived. The building, diverse in shape and with a quadrangular tower on the south-western side, features diversified architectural detail. The presented building is an important element in the spatial layout of Żary.

History

Rynek Street (German: Ring) marks the area of the oldest preserved buildings of the old town. Demarcation and spatial layout of Żary should be associated with the times of the rule of Henry the Bearded who in 1211-1225 administered this part of Lusatia. At that time, a regularly shaped market square was delineated, around which 10 street were created, running outwards at the right angle. Around the square, plots for residential buildings were demarcated. The establishment of town rights, based on the so-called Magdeburg law, took place in 1260 owing to the efforts of Albrecht Dziewin, the then owner of Żary. The town, which had been initially circumscribed with a palisade, at the turn of the 14th and the the 15th century was fortified with a stone wall. Within the city walls, a parish church, a market square, as well as a Franciscan monastery, established in 1274 were enclosed. The legible, medieval spatial layout of the town has survived until today. In the 1st half of the 14th century, the seat of town authorities was built in the middle of the market square - the town hall. It was redesigned and modernised on numerous occasions. Its current shape is a result of construction works carried out after the fires which took place, among others, in 1523, 1684, and 1690. The medieval town hall was erected on a rectangular floor plan. In the end of the 15th century, a two-storey building of cloth halls was added to the town hall, adjoining it from the south and forming the shape of a “T” letter together with it. In the 15th century, at the north-western corner of the town hall, a tower was built which was demolished later. From the north, it was adjoined by houses of poor merchants, redesigned in 1567. Façades of the houses were provided with arcades. The fire 1617 inflicted serious damage to the building. The western wing with a tower, which has survived until today, was reconstructed then. The entrance in the western façade was adorned with a decorative portal. Another fire, in 1690, consumed the southern part of the town hall. This section was thoroughly converted at a later time. In 1700, the wooden town hall tower was replaced with a brick one. In the 19th century, the town hall was significantly transformed. In the years 1830-1845, arcades were bricked up and houses of poor merchants were incorporated in the basic layout of the town hall. Further modifications were carried out in 1860, and in 1920-1926 the town hall’s interior was altered. As a result of the works, the town hall lost its stylish character inspired by Renaissance. Hostilities of the World War II resulted in partial damages to the building. After the war, the local government took over ownership of the tenement house. Renovation works were commenced in 1961-1966. In the post-war period, the building was subjected to minor renovations. Only in 1997, it underwent a full-scale renovation of the façade. The last renovation was carried out in 2010 and concerned the building’s interior. Also, the roof cladding was replaced. No major alterations have been made to the building. At present, the town hall houses administrative offices. The structure is one of the most representative buildings in the city.

Description

It is a free-standing building, located in Rynek Street. The town hall is situated in the very centre of Żary, in the central part of the square. Rynek Street is a part of the strict monument protection zone. The building was erected on a large plot and faces west with its front façade. Its floor plan forms a number of rectangles adjoining one another. The building is comprised of two-storey wings (western and southern section) and four-storey wings (northern and southern section). In the south-western part of the complex, there is a quadrangular tower. The building is made of brick; its walls are plastered on both sides. There are basements under some its parts. Individual sections are covered with a separate gable roof. The roof is clad in metal tiles. The quadrangular town hall tower is topped with a cupola-like tented roof. In the front (western) façade, the Renaissance entrance portal with decorative mosaic from 1929 has survived. The façades of the town hall feature diversified architectural detail. They are adorned, among other things, by rusticated lesenes, cornices, and surrounds. The corners of the northern and eastern part are reinforced with buttresses. Individual storeys are pierced with rectangular window openings. Inside, on the ground floor, Renaissance and Baroque groin and barrel vaults with lunettes have survived. The body of the building has been preserved in its original state without major changes.

The town hall is a monument owned by local government. Due to the fact that it houses offices of local administration, the building is not widely available to the public.

compiled by Krzysztof Słowiński, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Zielona Góra, 17-09-2015.

Bibliography

  • Studia na początkami i rozplanowaniem miast nad środkową Odrą i dolną Wartą, pod red. Zdzisława Kaczmarczyka i Andrzeja Wędzkiego, Zielona Góra 1970;
  • Stanisław Kowalski, Miasta Środkowego Nadodrza, Zielona Góra 1994;
  • Krzysztof Garbacz, Szlakiem zabytkowych miast, Zielona Góra 2005;
  • Tomasz Jaworski, Żary w dziejach pogranicza śląsko- łużyckiego, Żary 1993;
  • Teresa Kotaszewicz, Studium historyczno- urbanistyczne wraz z wytycznymi konserwatorskimi, Warszawa 1990;
  • Jerzy Majchrzak, Terra Sarove. Ziemia Żarska- Czas i Ludzie, Żary 1995;
  • Mieczysław Wojecki, Przewodnik Krajoznawczy, Żary 2003;
  • Krzysztof Garbacz, Przewodnik po zabytkach województwa lubuskiego, tom II, Zielona Góra 2012;
  • Stanisław Kowalski, Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2007.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: XVI-XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek 1, Żary
  • Location: Voivodeship lubuskie, district żarski, commune Żary (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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