Saturday, December 25, 2010


Polish cities and towns reflect the whole spectrum of European styles. Romanesque architecture is represented by St. Andrew's Church in Kraków, and characteristic for Poland Brick Gothic by St. Mary's Church in Gdańsk. Richly decorated attics and arcade loggias are the common elements of the Polish Renaissance architecture, like in City Hall in Poznań. For some time the late renaissance, so called mannerism, most notably in Bishop’s Palace in Kielce, coexisted with the early baroque like in Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Kraków.
History has not been good to Poland's architectural monuments. However, a number of ancient structures have survived: castles, churches, and stately buildings, often unique in the regional or European context. Some of them have been painstakingly restored, like Wawel Castle, or completely reconstructed after being destroyed in the Second World War, including the Old Town and Royal Castle in Warsaw, as well as the Old Towns of Gdańsk and Wrocław. The architecture of Gdańsk is mostly of the Hanseatic variety, a Gothic style common amongst the former trading cities along the Baltic sea and in the northern part of Central Eastern Europe. The architectural style of Wrocław is mainly representative of German architecture, since it was for centuries located within the German states. The centre of Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula is a good example of a well-preserved medieval town. Poland's ancient capital, Kraków, ranks among the best-preserved Gothic and Renaissance urban complexes in Europe. Meanwhile, the legacy of the Kresy Marchlands of Poland's eastern regions, where Wilno and Lwów (now Vilnius and Lviv) were recognised as two major centres for the arts, played a special role in the development of Polish architecture, with Roman-Catholic church architecture deserving special note. In Vilnius (Lithuania) there are about 40 baroque and Renaissance churches. In Lviv (Ukraine) there are also a number of Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque religious buildings which have borrowed from and been influenced by orthodox and Armenian church architecture.
The second half of the 17th century is marked by baroque architecture. Side towers, visible in Branicki Palace in Białystok are typical for Polish baroque. The classical Silesian baroque is represented by the University in Wrocław. Profuse decorations of Branicki Palace in Warsaw are characteristic of rococo style. The center of Polish classicism was Warsaw under the rule of the last Polish king Stanisław August Poniatowski. The Palace on the Water is the most notable example of Polish neoclassical architecture. Lublin Castle represents the Gothic Revival style in architecture, while the Izrael Poznański Palace in Łódź is an example of eclecticism.

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