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Castles of the Podkarpacie Region /1
By Pogranicze Media
Published: 10.02.2010

Baranów Sandomierski
   The most beautiful pearl of architecture, the lordly mansion, the castle in Baranów Sandomierski surrounded by 14 hectares park shines on the right bank of the Vistula River. The former seat of the Leszczyński family, an impressive example of Renaissance architecture is one of the best preserved castles in Europe
.
    The castle was raised by the end of the 16th century by a voivode of Brzesko, Andrzej Leszczyński, in the place of a mediaeval defensive knight’s manor. In the 15th century, the manor in Baranów belonged to the noble Baranowski family. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the family of Górka from the Greater Poland became the owners of the castle. In 1569, Stanisław Górka sold the goods of Baranów to Rafał Leszczyński. The castle belongs to the most precious and, at the same time, the most representative monuments of secular Renaissance architecture in Poland. It owes its fame above all to beautiful cloisters with arcades surrounding the rectangular inner courtyard (due to these cloisters it is called a Little Wawel), unique portals and an ample attic decorating a front elevation. It was built for a  Polish magnate, Jędrzej Leszczyński, probably by an Italian builder and sculptor Santi Gucci, who was a royal architect then. The next owners of Baranów beautified and rebuilt their seat, entrusting the work to famous artists and architects of that time -
Jean Baptiste Falcon (in one bastion stuccos ascribed to him preserved) and Tylman from Gameren, who in 1965 designed an ample, Baroque sculptor decoration of the interiors at the 1st floor and added to the Western wing a gallery of paintings supported on open arcades of the ground floor.
   The castle is a three-storied building built on a rectangle. Its corners are decorated with four rounds, cylindrical bastions topped with characteristic helmets. In the middle of the front elevation there is a tower with a main entrance gate, which leads through a stone portal to the charming, arcaded courtyard. Three residential tracks: to the North, East and West are closed by a screen-wall to the South embrace the inner courtyard surrounded by beautiful, two-story cloisters.
   Rafał X, whose son Stanislaw was the King of Poland
was the last owner of the castle from the Leszczyński family.
    The castle in Baranów belonged respectively to the families: Wiśniowiecki, Sanguszko, Lubomirski, Małachowski, Potocki and Krasicki.
   In 1867, the goods of Baranów were put up for auction and bought by Feliks Dolański. Next, Stanisław Dolański inherited the castle and decided to restore the building destroyed after the fire in 1898. Changes in the layout of the rooms were carried out under the supervision of an architect from Cracow, Tadeusz Stryjeński. At that time, a secessionist Chapel was among others prepared in the corner room of the ground floor. The Chapel was decorated with impressive stained-glass windows by Józef Mehoffer and with an altar with an exceptional painting by Jacek Malczewski, Immaculate Madonna. The castle remained in the Dolański family’s hands until the World War II.
    Stylishly furnished rooms decorated with paintings of the Italian school and with portraits of the magnates create a museum of the interiors. In basement rooms there is an archeology and geology exhibition (among others bones of a mammoth, decorations and a skeleton of a man from the Bronze Age, dishes from the period of roman influence) and an exhibition presenting a process of production and processing of sculpture. This unusual combination of the museum of castle interiors and the industrial technical exhibition remained after the
Sculpture Basin Museum
 - The Castle in Baranów Sandomierski which existed there in 1967-1997, in connection with a patronage of Sculpture Mines and Reprocessing Works SIARKOPOL in Tarnobrzeg.

Przecław
    Localization of Przecław falls probably on the times of Bolesław the Chaste. However, there is no source information when exactly the city was founded. A note from 1419 is the first one which confirms the existence of a document about Przecław as a town. According to the note: “Jakub Splekot and his son, Jan, the suburbanites of Przecław, were to appear before the lands tribunal in Pilzno.” The first wooden manor in Przecław was raised and surrounded by defensive dirt walls by Stanisław Ligęza. It is only known that the manor was in the hands of the Ligęza family until 1578. Next, as a dowry of Anna Ligęza, it went into the hands of the Koniecpolski family. In the place of the former manor, Andrzej Koniecpolski, Pobóg coat of arms, raised a brick, storied palace with a basement. Until today, the palace has been the main part of the castle in Przecław. The manor in Przecław was one-storied and it was topped with a roof covered with an attic.
    In the first half of the 17th century, the Tarnowski family bought Przecław, and after twenty years they sold it to Władysław Rey, the voivode of Lublin
. The turn of the 17th century brought the enlargement and modernization of the manor. The fact that it was plundered by the Swedes in 1655, hastened the enlargement. The Rey family entrusted a task of working out a design to the court architect of the Lubomirski family, Tylman von Gameren. Unfortunately, the plans of Tylman von Gameren were not implemented. Further changes in the former architecture of the building occurred after a fire in 1808-1810 in the times of Kajetan Rey. An alcove was added to the staircase and a crest of the attic was removed. Next rebuilding took place in 1870-1880. Mieczysław Rey was the owner of the goods then, and he commissioned Józef Pokutyński to work out a plan of rebuilding. As a result of the construction works, a round bastion was added from the South, and an alcove and a loggia were added to the first storey. Also a tower was enlarged, and the interiors received new decorations. Thanks to this rebuilding, the Renaissance manor became a representative castle in an English Neo-Gothic style.
    The castle is situated on a hill in Przecław. Near, there is the Wisłoka River
and a stream called Słowik (Nightingale). After the rebuilding of the castle in the 80s, the former splendor was restored. However, the defensive walls which had formerly surrounded the castle were not rebuilt. The one-storied body is the oldest part of the building. During the following reconstructions, new fragments of the castle were built. On the Southern wall there are a terrace and a loggia overlooking a picturesque park. Next to it, there is a small bastion. The Northern wall of the castle is topped with a storied tower. The castle walls are topped with arcades (a cornice with decorative arches). Inside the castle, one may admire tastefully furnished rooms. In part of the rooms there is a hotel.

Łańcut
   The castle in Łańcut is one of the most beautiful, the best preserved and the most frequently visited castles in the Podkarpacie Region. The building was assigned to the group of international monuments.
    The Pilecki families were the first owners of the castle. The castle situated on Łysa Góra constituted the Northern end of Łańcut (the town) which was built probably in the second half of the 14th century in the place of a former settlement. The Pilecki family ruled in Łańcut for two centuries, and they also raised defensive buildings and founded a church and a monastery of Dominicans.
    In 1586, Łańcut went into the hands of the Stadnicki family; first it belonged to Stanisław Stadnicki, the starost of Sigulda called “the Devil of Łańcut”, and then to his two sons. This part of the castle’s history is full of continuous, destructive attacks of the Korniakt family and the Ossoliński family. A nickname of Stanisław Stadnicki - “the Devil of Łańcut”- had its source in his private wars, his looting excursions and his robbery attacks on neighboring courts and towns. Using hired troops of haiduks, the Devil of Łańcut did not spare his enemies cruelty, he tore people’s skin into bands, and he cut off hands or buried people alive. Unfortunately, peasant, i.e. not his opponents but their subjects, suffered the most. Stadnicki’s run of luck ended when Łukasz Opaliński, the starost of Leżajsk, started a war with Stadnicki as a response to his rowdy behavior. As a result of this war, the castle, the town and the neighboring villages were burnt.
    After the Stadnicki family, the Lubomirski family entered the history of Łańcut. The first owner with this surname, Stanisław Lubomirski, the voivode of
Ruthenia and Cracow, took over the castle in 1626 because of the unpaid debts of the Stadnicki family. As a property of the Lubomirski family, Łańcut was transformed into a fortress - a residence. Stanisław Lubomirski, who wanted to have a safe, military important seat, rebuilt and strengthened the building, he raised retrenchment and surrounded it by a powerful fortification. The whole was strengthened by shafts, and the fortification was supported by a deep, dry moat surrounded by one more earth shaft. It is supposed that Stanisław Lubomirski hired a famous at that time Italian architect, Maciej Trapola, who was to rebuild the castle. The castle and the fortification were based on foundations of an Old Dutch school. It represented a type of foundations called in Italian "palazzo in fortezza", which means that the building served both residential and defensive purposes. For the protection of the castle Lubomirski kept a 300 hundred people crew armed with shotguns. The castle was at that time one of the main and at the same time one of the most modern defensive buildings in the Basin of Wisłok River, next to Jarosław and Rzeszów. Stanisław Lubomirski’s activity was a very important period in the castle’s history, to a certain degree it decided about its future history.
    The castle remained in the hands of the Lubomirski family for 200 years. Stanisław Lubomirski, whose wife was Izabela Czartoryska, was the last owner of the castle belonging to the Lubomirski family. From that moment, after the properties of the Lubomirski family and of the Czartoryski family were connected, a period of the castle’s splendor began. A change of the political situation also influenced it. The Turkish and the Swedish attacks ceased. The castle lost its defensive meaning but it was changing into a palace residence, one of the richest properties of that time in
Europe. Due to many prominent architects, painters, sculptors and other people connected with art that were brought from abroad, the fortress in Łańcut was becoming a beautiful residence belonging to one of the biggest lordly families in Poland. Such prominent architects as: Szymon Bogumił Zug, Johann Christian Kammsetzer, Christian Piotr Aigner, and painters: Vincenzo Brenna, brothers Smuglewicz and others worked for the duchess. “Room under the View”, “Brenna’s Apartment”, “Chinese Apartment”, “Turkish Apartment”, all with an authentic interior decorations, come from that time. Beautiful palace rooms represented Rococo and two varieties of Classicism. Thanks to the duchess, around the castle there is a landscape park with a neoclassical orangey and a gloriette. The duchess did not spare money for a purchase of works of art brought from all over the Europe. Also a library and a palace theatre were added. Apart from the moat, a Neo-Gothic Romantic Castle
, which was supposed to be a place of a quiet rest for the duchess after loud parties and meetings with guests, was raised.
   After the Lubomirski family, the goods in Łańcut went into the hands of Alfred Potocki, who created a family estate there. Since then, the goods in Łańcut were inherited by the oldest son of each owner. Alfred Potocki, similarly to his grandmother Izabela Lubomirska, also beautified and enriched the residence.
    In the half of the 19th century, a successor of the first heir, Alfred II Potocki, stayed mainly in
Vienna and Lvov
, where he served many public functions, and this caused that Łańcut started to collapse. The next heir, Roman, married to Elżbieta Radziwiłłówna, brought the castle back its former splendor. On the initiative of Elżbieta Radziwiłłówna the castle was thoroughly rebuilt and adapted to requirements of the present days, but preserving the precious interiors from the times of duchess Lubomirska were also taken into consideration. The residence gained then an elevation in a French Neo-Baroque style - preserved till today - and the castle’s interiors were modernized. A water-supply system, a sewage system, a central heating were installed, an electrification was conducted, and telephones were installed.
    A stable and a carriage house were built. A part of the carriage house was devoted to vehicles already withdrawn from use but, above all, a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and harnesses used at that time could have been found there. The vehicles of the best European companies, also from
Vienna, Paris and London, were also there. A carriage in which Frederic Chopin traveled is a very interesting element of the collection. Today, the carriages in Łańcut constitute the only collection of this type in Poland, and one of few representing the last era of horse-drawn carriages in Europe. An area of the park was enlarged twice and the park was transformed in an English style. The whole area was fenced and it was added three decorative gates. The last owner, Alfred Potocki, lived in the residence with his mother almost till the end of the 20th century. The war did not destroy the castle, but the most precious part of it, i.e. the collection of works of art, was irrevocably lost for Poland. While escaping the coming Eastern frontline, Alfred Potocki took to Liechtenstein
11 carriages with the most precious treasures gathered in the castle. In the interwar period, he made the castle available for diplomatic meetings. In November 1944, the Polish authorities decided to open in the castle an official museum for the visitors. In the 50s, important renovation and conservation works started. Also a type of the museum, whose the most prominent function was to show monumental palace interiors above all from the 17th and the 19th centuries, was defined. A non-monumental part of the castle was adapted for touristy purposes.
    Nowadays, the collection in the Castle-Museum in Łańcut is being complemented by works of art borrowed or bought from other places. Visitors may tour the castle with a guide. A preserved artistic authenticity of the palace interiors causes that the museum is exceptional and unique. A castle library with 22 thousand volumes which remained after the Potocki family and around 20 thousand ones bought by the museum deserve a special notice. The collection includes unique old prints, manuscripts, and cartographical items, encyclopedias of history, of geography and of other sciences.
   The landscape park which surrounds the castle is also very important. Due to its charm and due to a rich collection of plants, it attracts crowds of tourists, especially from spring to autumn. The park has an area of around 31 hectares and is divided into three parts of different kind and with different view: the inner park, the outer park and the small Southern park in the closest neighborhood of the abovementioned carriage house. The Italian garden, the
Perennial Garden, the Rose Garden, the Winter Garden or the Orangey remain in the visitors’ memory for a long time. In the park there are: a big, horse riding school, an orchid house, a tennis-court. One should also remember to visit the Romantic Castle, the stable, and the carriage house, in which there are around 80 thousand horse drawn carriages.

Lesko
   At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, Lesko with the broad goods was bestowed to the Kmita family from Wiśnicz, Szreniawa coat of arms, by King Vladislaus Jagiełło.  Lesko is one of many villages belonging to the so called “fief of Sobieńsk,” i.e. the Eastern property of the Kmita family. At the end of 1469 or at the beginning of 1470, it was granted the city rights. A wooden castle was raised then in the place of a destroyed settlement. Stanisław Kmita was probably the owner and the founder of the town. In the first years of the 16th century, he moved his seat from the Sobień castle destroyed by the Hungarians to Lesko. Even earlier, in 1490, Casimir Jagiellon gave the town a privilege which allowed it to host two fairs per annum and to organize weekly markets. In 1488, the town had 300 inhabitants.
   The settlement was moved from its former place by the San River (next to it there is a village, Posada Leska) to the high hill called Baszta (422 m) steeply sloping to the valley. New town-planning arrangement was concentrated around a square market-place with a wooden town hall. Our Lady of the Visitation Church
raised around 1530 was the first brick building in the town. Few years later, the Kmita family raised a brick residential tower.
   After the death of Stanisław Kmita in 1538, Lesko became the property of his older brother Peter, and it almost became a capital of the Eastern property of the Kmita family. Peter Kmita built in Lesko a castle and an Orthodox church (it does not exist anymore). In the times of Peter Kmita, the town was given a number of privileges granted by King Sigismund Augustus. In 1546, the king ratified the statute of guiding of Lesko (Pol. statut cechów leskich). In this period, also a special court for robbers (called
beskidnicy or tołhaje
) was created and a parish school was organized.
    With the death of Peter Kmita, a period of dynamic development of the town ended. For some period of time, Lesko went into the hands of Stanisław Stadnicki - the uncle of the famous “Devil of Łańcut”.
   By the end of the 16th century, the town was added earth fortifications. In the second half of the 17th century, the Stadnicki family built a castle with bastions and with bastilles, into which they also included the old tower of the Kmita family. During the reigns of the Stadnicki family, the town experienced a period of prosperity. Numerous fairs took place there, people traded wine. Foreign trading contacts were maintained with Russia, Silesia and Moldova
.
   At the beginning of the 18th century, good times ended. During the Great Northern war in 1704, a Swedish corps of general Stenbock robbed and burnt the town and the castle. A year later, during a plague, a few hundred of inhabitants died. The castle was rebuilt in 1712. Within next years, the town belonged respectively to: the Ossoliński family, the Mniszko family and the Krasicki family. It was a private property until 1914. After the partitions, Lesko started to belong to
Austria
, and for a short period of time it was a base of a quarter, i.e. an administrative district. Since 1855, the town was a seat of the district. First small industrial plants started to appear then.
    In 1872, when as a result of a protest of count Edmund Krasicki a railway line which was built then passed the town in the distance of around 3 km, Lesko lost an opportunity of getting closer to the world. A fire in 1886, which during one night destroyed around 300 wooden buildings, was a prominent event in the history of the town. After the fire, Lesko was rebuilt in brick. In 1896, a sumptuous town hall was raised, and at the beginning of the 20th century, an oil refinery and factories of canned food and grease were built.

Krasiczyn
   A castle and a park in Krasiczyn are one of the most beautiful treasures of Renaissance-Mannerist architecture in Poland; it also belongs to the most beautiful castles in Europe.
    Situated on a Przemyśl - Sanok route, near a crossing through the San River. The castle in Krasiczyn belongs to the most beautiful memorials of the Polish Renaissance. In 1580, Stanisław Krasicki, a descendant of Mazovian nobility, Rogala coat of arms, who came there in the 15th century, started to build the castle. The construction was finished in 1631 by his younger son, Marcin. Marcin Krasicki, recognized then as one of the most prominent mecenases of art in
Poland
, transformed a defensive castle raised by his father into a magnificent, lordly residence. Because of his surname, Stanisław Krasicki called the castle Krasiczyn. The name was adopted also by a town which was being built near the castle.
    Despite numerous fires and wars, the castle preserved in an almost unchanged shape which was given to it at the beginning of the 17th century. Built on a quadrangle, it has walls built according to the cardinal directions. In the corners there are four cylindrical bastions:
the God’s (South-West), the Pope’s (North-West), the Royal (North-East) and the Noble (South-East). A rectangular, broad courtyard was from the North and East surrounded by residential wings and from the South and West - by curtain walls topped with a beautiful, pinked attic. In the middle of the Western wing, there is a fore gate with a gate and a square clock tower. It was there, that a road from the formerly existing town to the castle led, first through a draw-bridge, and then through a stone one.
   A chapel in the God’s Bastion compared to the Sigismund’s Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral is one of the most precious architectonic elements of the castle. Carved portals, loggias, arcades and unique wall decorations, the so called sgraffitoes (it is estimated that their entire area has around 7000 m2) deserve a special attention.
   Construction works were carried out under the supervision of Italian architects, and decorative works were done by artists from Przemyśl. Next to the castle, there is an outhouse and a former guardhouse. The fact that many rulers of Poland - Sigismund III Vasa, Vladislaus IV, John Casimir and Augustus the Strong - visited the castle in Krasiczyn proves about the castle’s magnificence and about its meaning.
    After the childless death of members of the Krasicki family, the castle and the goods in Krasiczyn were inherited respectively by: the Modrzewski family, the Wojakowski family, the Tarło family, the Potocki family, the Piniński family. In 1835, Prince Leon Sapieha bought the castle and the goods from the last owners. The Sapieha family, who owned Krasiczyn until 1944, to a great extent contributed to its development. They renovated the castle, founded a sawmill, a brewery, a factory of agricultural machinery. They were active in the field of development of economic and social life of the region.
   In 1996, as a part of the process of liquidation of Passenger Car Factory (Pol. FSO), the castle and park complex in Krasiczyn was taken over by Industrial Development Agency in
Warsaw. Renovation and construction works carried out then led to the creation of a modern tourist, hotel and gastronomic infrastructure in the Castle and Park Complex in Krasiczyn. The fact that Krasiczyn was (in 2000) included to the list of European Castle Hotels & Restaurants - the elitist Association of European Castle Hotels & Restaurants, which are located in monumental buildings speaks about the rank of this place and about a high quality of services in Krasiczyn.
   There is only 10 km from Krasiczyn to Przemyśl, and a broad panoramic view at Bieszczady mountain pasture invites to go on walking, cycling or horse excursions around the region. Also enthusiasts of less active forms of rest will be satisfied with the calm prevailing here.
    The park surrounding the castle in Krasiczyn is an exceptionally beautiful place, astonishing with the abundance of forms and number of gathered species of plants.
   The beginnings of the park reach the 16th and 17th century and are connected with the construction of the castle by the Krasicki family. At that time, from the East, there were gardens called “a bestiary”. The park owes a contemporary arrangement of the compositions of plants and their appropriate selection to the Sapieha family, who bought the castle in 1835. They introduced a custom of planting an oak tree when a son was born and a linden when a girl was born. These magnificent, dignified, over 150-year-old trees are today the main attraction of the park and an amazing trace of the former owners. The Sapieha family were also concerned with the exceptionality of the park; they planted there exotic trees and shrubs brought from their travels around America
.
    Next to the castle, in the central point of the park, there is a pond surrounded by a promenade and by a romantic, natural glade. From the promenade and from the glade, there is a view at the gardens and at the Krasiczyn castle; particularly at its bastions and at the curtain wall with the beautiful, Renaissance attic. It is the most frequently visited walking route in the park. Majestic swans are the true decoration of the pond. The park with almost 200 species of plants constitutes a natural shelter for other birds. There are around 40 species of breeding birds. Among them, there are popular chaffinches, robins, Eurasian Collared Doves, Blackcaps, Great Tits, European Greenfinches, and less popular Common Wood Pigeons, Blue Tits, Accentors, Common Kestrels, Long-eared Owls and others.
   The broad, romantic park and the Renaissance castle, perfectly put into a composition of the Pogórze Przemyskie constitute an amazing and full of charm place for rest. Enthusiasts of beauty will find there wonderful outdoor sceneries for paintings and photographs, and tourists - peace and quie.
worked out by Zakapior
translated by Joanna Hardukiewicz
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