Palace in Kączyce Wielka, Poland
Traveling through the border areas of Tieszyn Silesia, it is worth stopping near Zebrzydowice , in Konczyce Wielkie. The village was inhabited in the 13th century, and since 1290 was under the rule of the Piast of Cieszyn duchy. The undisputed attraction and the historical pearl of the village is the palace and park complex from the 15th century, located on Zamkowa Street 22. It was erected on the slope over the Petrovka River and is located in its valley, surrounded by forests and hills.
At the time of its creation the complex was the noble residence of the Kornitsa family. At that time, Konczyce Wielkie was called Konczyce Ksionce, which was recorded in 1305, when the Wrocław bishopric obliged the village to pay tithes. Since 1526, Koncice belonged to the Habsburgs.
In 1597 it was owned by the Blędowskie of Blędowice. The next owner was the noble family Wilczek z Dobr Ziemica (part of Dobr) near Friedek (now Friedek-Mistek). The family currently resides in Kreuzenstein Castle in Lower Austria . The Wilczek family took possession of the palace and park through the marriage of Eva Bludowska and Mikolaj Wilczek in the early 17th century.
The palace and the owners
Wilczkow and von Thun-Hohenstein.
The palace was enlarged by Baron Jerzy Frederick Wilczek, Marshal of the Cieszyn duchy. Nearby, a wooden chapel of Divine Providence was built, followed by a brick one in 1776, thanks to the founders – the owners of Konczyce Wielkie, the Garasowski family from Garasowo.
When visiting the complex, you can enter the aforementioned chapel, if it is open. This is where the graves of the owners of the village – Garasovskys are located. There is also a pulpit with an unusual image of Leviathan – Jonah in the mouth of the legendary sea monster. It is worth paying attention to the world’s oldest plexiglass stained glass windows. They are the result of the interests of the father-in-law of one of Countess Gabriele von Thun-Hohenstein’s sons, Dr. Otto Rehm, a pioneer in organic glass research and the first German plexiglass manufacturer. In 1938, he donated stained glass windows to the chapel. Even if the church is open during a visit, the interior can only be admired from behind a lattice gate. In the early 19th century, the property was purchased from Wilczkow by Jan Józef Antoni, Count Larish von Mönnich, who came from a noble family from Tyrol, living in Silesia, Bohemia and Austria.
Wilczkow and von Thun-Hohenstein.
The “Good Lady” of Vienna.
In 1862, Jan Józef’s grandson, Count Eugeniusz, settled here. In 1865 he married Countess Maria, Countess Deim von Strzczyż, and at her initiative the castle was rebuilt into a palace in the style of a Tuscan villa in the Neo-Renaissance style. Unfortunately, very quickly, because in 1878 Maria died, and two years later Count Eugeniusz orphaned three daughters.
The last owner of the palace was Gabriele, an aristocrat born in Vienna in 1872, who inherited the palace and in 1893 married Emperor Joseph I’s aide-de-camp, Count Felix von Thun und Hohenstein. They settled in Koncice permanently, although they could have stayed in Schönbrunn. Once again the palace was modernized, this time in the style of French Baroque-Classicism. At the same time, a park and an artificial pond with an island in the English style of about 5 hectares were created.
Currently, you can relax on a bench near the pond or stop on a small bridge. An interesting fact is that Lady Gabriel, known for her extraordinary beauty, financed, among other things, one of the pavilions of the Silesian Hospital in Cieszyn. She was remembered by the inhabitants as the “Good Lady of Končice-Wielke”. The lady was also an active member of the Austrian Red Cross, initiated the creation of the Society for the Protection of Animals, took care of war invalids and co-founded the Cieszyn Ambulance Service. On May 2, 1922, she received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
The “Good Lady” of Vienna.
Times after the war and the current state of the palace
After World War II, in 1945, when the government and the system changed, the property was confiscated . Then the Red Army looted everything it could. Countess Gabriele von Thun und Hohenstein had to leave the partially destroyed palace and live modestly in Cieszyn. After the reconstruction in 1952, the people’s government was delighted to see the building open a state orphanage, which remained open until 2006. Gabriela von Thun died in 1957 and crowds of inhabitants said goodbye to her. Her grave and that of her husband are in the Catholic cemetery in Končice Wielka. In 2004, “Dobra pani iz Koncice” became the boarding house of the local grammar school.
Since 2007, the building has been owned by three businessmen from Mazovia , who purchased it for $1,600,000, but it was put back on the market for a starting price of $1,990,000. The palace is currently occupied by someone from the von Thun and Hohenstein family. It is mostly closed to the public , but sometimes you can go inside and see remnants of the kitchen of the period when the orphanage functioned. On the first floor of the last owners is an exhibition. It can be seen during the so-called “museum night”. Until the 1980s, there was a black marble fireplace from the first half of the 19th century in the ballroom. The object is deteriorating, but its beauty is not difficult to see . Therefore, it is worth coming to Koncice and see as much as possible.
Next to the palace is a monument to Nepomuk and a farm from 1760, now an agritourism site with a restaurant. It is also good to go to neighboring Koncice Malé and see the three-story 15th century castle by the pond, which, in addition to lunch in the restaurant, also offers overnight accommodations.
Times after the war and the current state of the palace
In tourist season: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday. – 10:00-16:00, Fr. – 10:00-18:00, out of tourist season: 9:30-16:00, Tuesday off. The park is open all year round from 9:00.
The most important landmark in Warsaw is the Wilanów Palace, which is located on the southeastern outskirts of the city, about 10 kilometers from its center. It was this location that allowed this most recognizable monument of Polish architecture to survive the war. The Baroque style was used for the construction of the royal country residence, which was built in the late 17th century and was regularly rebuilt, with a garden adjacent to it as well. In 1805 Stanislaw Kostka Potocki added the palace to his own museum, which at the time was one of the first art museums in Poland.
Tourists are attracted by the majestic equestrian statue of the king, which in the past welcomed visitors at the main entrance, but now it has been moved into one of the rooms. The ceiling in one of the galleries is decorated with allegorical paintings that tell the love story of King Jan III Sobieski and his wife Marysenka, who helped greatly to elevate her husband, who never dreamed of being king. The future ruler and the French maid of honor met at a ball, but Marysenka was engaged. Two months later she married, but the marriage was unsuccessful: her husband drank and was a reveler, and some time after the wedding he died of syphilis. His death gave the green light to the lovers, they married and were together for the next 30 years.
The Palace is a member of the Association of European Royal Residences on a par with Versailles in France and is recognized as the most famous and popular tourist attraction in Poland.
Wilanów Palace official website
The site of the palace is quite informative and replete with photos of the interiors and the area surrounding the castle. Here you can read about upcoming projects and the latest news, learn about the history of the museum and plan your visit based on the opening hours of the palace and ticket prices.
Tickets can be purchased on-site or online.
Prices and hours of operation
The museum is currently working on several major construction projects, reconstructing and revitalizing existing facilities. The purpose of the work is to restore and maintain the entire residence in a decent state, as well as to improve the exhibition conditions in the palace. Because of these projects, parts of the interiors may be completely or partially inaccessible to the public, and since November 6, 2017, one of the floors has been closed to the public.
During the tourist season, the palace can be visited from 10:00 to 16:00 daily, except Thursday, until 18:00 on Friday, closing a little earlier – at 15:00/17:00. Outside the tourist season, the park is open daily, except Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The area adjacent to the residence is open to the public all year round from 9:30, during high winds the park is temporarily closed for the safety of tourists.
When purchasing tickets, remember that reservations for the current week can be made no later than Tuesday evening of the previous week. Tickets for individual tours are purchased at the museum box office or online. The standard ticket to the palace apartments and gallery on path no. 2 costs 35 PLN, the reduced ticket for students, people over 65 and the disabled is 28 PLN, and a visit to the park costs 7 PLN. Individual tickets to concerts and seminars at the Palace grounds are available online or at the box office, and the average price is 10 PLN. A maximum of 9 individual tickets may be bought for a group of 10 people or more.
This magnificent country residence of King Jan Sobieski was built for him by Augustin Lozzi in the last third of the 17th century.
The palace is located on the territory of a huge park complex with the area of 45 hectares. The land and the dilapidated estate, which were located away from the bustling city, Sobieski bought from Stanislaw Krzyski for 43 thousand zlotys, which was a clear overpayment at the time. Nevertheless, only here the king saw his future residence.
All construction work on the palace was supervised by Lozzi, a royal advisor, who was an amateur architect and was the author of a highly original architectural design. To help in the construction of the royal palace to the place attracted the best craftsmen from all over Poland, painting the walls and ceilings engaged in the outstanding masters of the time from France and Italy, monumental paintings on the subject of Psyche belong to Michelangelo Palloni.
The king wanted to fill the Wilanów Palace with original works of art, for this purpose special agents of Sobieski were sent around the world, some items were donated to the residence by ambassadors of various countries. As a result, the place began to resemble the resplendent royal residences of Paris.
After the King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth died, the palace together with its surroundings passed to his descendants, and then became the property of other wealthy landowners who belonged to the aristocratic family. Since 1720 Elisabeth Sinyavskaya became the mistress of the manor, and after receiving the castle, she enlarged the rooms.
Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, who became the owner of the castle in 1799, strongly contributed to the history of the castle. He regularly filled the archive of the palace with art collections, and in 1805 one of the first museums in the country was opened in the residence. The Potockis also rebuilt the St. Anna court church and built a family vault near the palace. Using the experience of the previous owners, Stanislaw Potocki paid a lot of attention to improving the garden.
The First World War brought the first devastation to the castle: German occupiers plundered and destroyed the Polish national treasure, and the palace began to play the role of headquarters and a military hospital. The Germans thickly smeared margarine on 18th century stools, used rococo tapestries for bedspreads, and poured soup over gilded tables. By the beginning of World War II, the castle had retained only one-fifth of its interior decoration. The museum was looted: the Nazis stole the institution’s collections, but when the war was over, the stolen goods were returned to Poland. After some time, restaurateurs managed to bring this historical treasure back to life, it has almost returned to its original appearance. The first visitors to the palace had to wait until 1962 – only then were the palace rooms accessible to all.
Now the palace continues to be used as a museum. The place is included in the State List of Museums of Poland, the palace functions as it did two centuries ago, being a real historical treasure of the country.
Interior and grounds of the castle
The castle grounds include a orangery, a mausoleum built in the Neo-Gothic style, and the Church of St. Anne, which was built in 1772 by Stanislaw Potocki. In addition to the palace and the art gallery, a separate and no less important attraction is the park, which occupies an area of 45 hectares. For its creation, a graceful regular style of landscape art was used.
Next to the entrance to the palace there is a beautiful fountain, the gallery is entwined with vine vines with red leaves, the palace rose garden is filled with flowers and statues. The baroque garden has two levels, it is decorated with pyramidal shrubs and a large number of plants. The antique statues of the garden grab the attention of visitors, some of them have become symbols of the districts of Poland, while others have been brought from the Birkenau Museum. The flowerbeds are neatly trimmed and form many real patterned mazes on the ground.
In the immediate vicinity of the palace there are also shady alleys leading to the water, a separate attraction of this place is the Vilanuva pond, next to which you can sit in peace and quiet. Its banks are fortified with logs, so beloved by the ducks, in addition there are a lot of fish. The surface of the lake is covered with pink water lilies, which have become a symbol of love of the king. Tired of walking tourists can sit down on one of the white benches around the perimeter.
Then the traveler has a view of the greenhouse, next to which is a small pond with a fountain. Here you can admire the handmade porcelain, pottery and other decorations. In the middle of the park, hidden in the shade of trees is a Chinese gazebo built for Count Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, and a little further along the road you can see the Roman bridge and a number of private houses.
The palace halls are now open for visitors, filled with art objects and personal belongings of the royal family. The interior has been preserved almost in its original form: guests are greeted by original furniture, plenty of frescoes, a number of portraits and sculptures that appeared here under Jan III Sobiesk. The tour begins on the second floor, with a gallery of Polish portraits from the 16th-19th centuries. The collection includes several portraits of castle owners, and there is also an image of the king’s favorite wife, MarysieÅ”ka.
How to get to the Wilanów Palace in Poland
Originally the landmark was located on the edge of the city, but now Warsaw has grown considerably and it is not difficult to get to the palace. From the Old Town the place is about 10 km away. The nearest subway station is Wilanowska.
To get to the place on your own you can go via Sobieskiego, the length of the way is just over 11 km, the trip will take 25 minutes.
The most convenient and fastest way to get to the structure continues to be the bus, in which case tourists need to get on the routes № 139, № 163, № 164, № 251, № 264, № 339, № 519, № N31, the stop is the terminus and is called Wilanow.
Of the popular applications to call a cab in Warsaw is Uber.