Idyllic, charming, noble and awe-inspiring. Undoubtedly beautiful and depicting the rich history of Poland. When in Małopolska, it is worth visiting the local manors, palaces and castles. It is a great opportunity to admire their architecture and at the same time peer into the past of our country.
“Stood a gentleman’s mansion, of wood, but with a stone foundation/ the white walls shone from afar/ the whiter since they were relieved against the dark green / of the poplars that sheltered it against the winds of autumn.” This fragment of Soplicowo’s description, engraved in the hearts of many Poles, perfectly describes a typical Polish manor house, i.e. a dwelling house of the nobility. Located in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the oldest monuments of this type come from the Renaissance period, with some of them also having a rich palace form. Many of them are located in Małopolska. The list of impressive historic buildings does not end with mansions and palaces – visitors who would like to admire castles have a lot more to choose from than just Wawel.
Manor House in Laskowa. Memory of Soplicowo
Echoes of the Polish manor house from “Pan Tadeusz” can be found in the village of Laskowa, located on the Wooden Architecture Trail. Although the local manor house from 1677, with whitewashed walls and a characteristic, pitched roof, looks idyllic and peaceful from the outside, inside it hides real masterpieces. In the past, this building was in the hands of the Congregation of Mission, whose late Baroque polychromes have survived to this day. The paintings on the ceiling of the room that served as a chapel at that time depict Christ Blessing and come from the second half of the 17th century. The current owner of the manor house from the Michałowski family, Jasieńczyk coat of arms, who tries to restore the building to its former glory, passionately speaks about them and the history of Małopolska’s noble families.
The Feillóws’ manor house in Zręczyce – a living museum
You can experience a similar atmosphere of a family manor in Zręczyce (approx. 30 km from Kraków). It is a wooden house without plaster, which proudly presents its original white shutters that stand out against dark walls. The porch, which leads to the entrance, is supported by sandstone columns in the Doric order (interestingly, they were so heavy that during construction they had to be dragged to the manor by oxen). Today, the building is in the hands of the descendants of its former owners. Thanks to their efforts, it is possible to admire a private museum where, among others, memorabilia of Stefania Feill, a painter from Małopolska, are exhibited. In order to engulf yourself in the atmosphere of a manor house better, you can stay in Zręczyce overnight with breakfast. You can choose rooms in the classic country or retro style.
Sieraków Manor House in the slow life style
You can feel the atmosphere of the Polish gentry residence at Sieraków Manor. Located about 25 km from Kraków on one of the gently rolling hills of Pogórze Wielickie, it is surrounded by a beech park. It was built in the 17th century, originally as a one-story building with a two-story break and a front porch. Like other constructions of this type, it grew, along with the increasing wealth of its owners, and was enriched with successive buildings and floors, until it finally reached the present form of an impressive manor and park complex. Nowadays, Sieraków Manor is a well-preserved monument where you can relax by visiting e.g. the restaurant (it is recommended by Slow Food Polska and was mentioned in the Gault&Millau culinary guide). It is also a great place for wine lovers – in the manor’s cellar you can find one of the largest collections of these wines in Małopolska (over 404 types!).
Castle in Pieskowa Skała. Where nature coexists with culture
One of the most beautiful castle buildings in Małopolska is the Pieskowa Skała Castle, located on the Trail of the Eagle’s Nests. This is what Ewa Mikołajska, head of the Pieskowa Skała Castle Department, says about the Castle – “The extraordinary history of Pieskowa Skała is evidenced by the very fact that it has survived not as a picturesque ruin, but as an almost complete building. Pieskowa Skała owes the following centuries of its existence to several families from Małopolska, who owned it, treated as a head office, or simply home. The castle represented the times, financial condition and ambitions of its owners.” Hence, the various functions that the facility served – first as a stronghold and residence, then an orphanage, and even a storehouse for crops.
Today, the castle also serves as a museum. When enjoying the main exhibition, visitors can set off on a “journey through the different architecture styles of the castle changing over the centuries,” – adds Ewa, while admiring the works of Polish and European masters (Eugène Delacroix, Tiepolo, Jacek Malczewski, Piotr Michałowski), presented in the surroundings of high-class furniture (a baroque, Elbląg-style wardrobe decorated with green-dyed bone) and fabrics (e.g. tapestries with the history of Alexander III of Macedon from the Potocki Palace in Krystynopol). “Our castle is a building harmoniously integrated over the centuries into the extraordinary landscape of the Prądnik Valley with the famous Hercules’ Club” – continues Ewa Mikołajska. “It is a place where nature and culture coexist, creating a one-of-a-kind attraction.” You can also visit the castle virtually and although this way will not fully reflect its atmosphere, it can be a perfect complement to an already made trip or an incentive to visit Pieskowa Skała. Scan the QR code and go on a tour around the Castle in Pieskowa Skała.