The history of Polish architecture is just as turbulent and complicated as the political fate of our part of Europe. Due to the geographical location between the two powers, the Polish borders were moved several times. In this way today you can see the outstanding works of European architects in Polish cities. The repeatedly shifted borders, partitions, wars, communism, and finally European funds – this is all part of the image of Polish architecture: diverse, surprising, modern, but also often traditional.
According to historians, the Polish state began to form in the tenth century, when two neighboring tribes joined together. The Vistulans lived in the vicinity of Kraków, Polan’s – Poznań, and it is in these regions that the oldest monuments of Polish construction have survived. These are mainly temples, because the houses were built then from impermanent wood and clay, the churches and chapels were already made of stone.
The history of Krakow for many hundreds of years was associated with the authority, that is, the headquarters of Polish kings as the capital of the state. Here, the famous bell “Zygmunt” was built, St. Mary’s Basilica was built, in which Wit Stwosz placed his famous altar. The Sukiennice was burnt and rebuilt in Krakow in the middle of the 16th century. Krakow was the capital of Poland until the beginning of the 17th century, when King Sigismund III informally transferred her to Warsaw. Krakow is above all a city of churches. There are over 120 of them in the city itself, and most of them are historic buildings, hundreds of years old.
The first style that appears in Lublin architecture is Romanism. The only example of Romanesque architecture in Lublin, and at the same time the only example of a Romanesque building on this side of the Vistula is the donjon located in the Lublin Castle. The double window on the south side of the building is a great example of this style. In the architecture of Lublin, we find all architectural styles that are obligatory in Polish architecture: Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Historicism, Neostyle, Art Nouveau, Modernism.
Almost every architect can design a nice building, the real art is to design a city. An ideal city, so founded on a geometric, orderly and hierarchical plan, with separate spaces for all necessary functions (offices of authorities, commerce, education, housing, etc.) was the dream of planners of the Renaissance era. In 1580, Zamość was granted city rights, founded by Jan Zamoyski, the great chancellor and hetman, precisely according to the Renaissance idea of the ideal city. The heart of the settlement was made of a town square with a town hall surrounded by arcaded tenement houses.
Kazimierz Dolny is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Poland. Red tiles, white tenement houses, lots of beautiful monuments. The city founded by Casimir the Great captivates not only with magnificent architecture, but also histories circulating of this place cobbled streets. The most beautiful monuments in the city include the renaissance parish church, which proudly reigns over the market square, as well as the ruins of a medieval castle standing on a nearby hill. The uniqueness of the local architecture is evidenced by the fact that the Kazimierz buildings were raised up from local, easy to process limestone – it allowed for making intricate decorations.
Historical Sandomierz is sometimes called “Little Rome”, and this is because, like the Italian capital, it has located itself on 7 hills, and also under both cities there are mysterious underground corridors. Sandomierz, just like Kazimierz Dolny, is characterized by its unique atmosphere, the atmosphere of a foreseeable past, permeating charming alleys. Over 120 architectural monuments from various eras have survived, as well as the medieval urban layout of the city with the Renaissance town hall.
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